I asked my 7-year-old what holidays meant to him, and he responded that in October he gets to eat a lot of candy, in November he gets a turkey for Thanksgiving, and in December he gets presents. Listening to his answer was as adorable as it was typical from a 7-year-old. When I followed up with what he remembered during those special holidays, he recounted fun moments we shared as a family the most.
Here are some simple ideas to create lasting memories for your children during the holidays.
Let them help you decorate for the holidays as children love to decorate. Set a decorating date and have fun! The imperfections of their efforts are what makes it most memorable anyway.
Create seasonal treasures together. Every year, my kids and I have so much fun picking up fallen pine cones we see during our park visits and beautiful fallen leaves that stand out from the rest. Some businesses that sell Christmas trees often give away free tree trimmings. You and your child can make wreaths out of them, use them to decorate around the house, or even make ornaments out of some of them. Seeing them displayed throughout your home will create such a special memory for your children.
Family traditions during the holidays in general tend to be on a larger scale, but what I’m referring to is creating a family tradition within your immediate family members. Whether you’re a family of four, eight, or however many, start a tradition that only you and your children can share together.
Show children the gift of giving. Talk to them about toy drives. Explain to them why some communities feed other communities and why the opportunity to give is the best gift they can ever have. Check www.wcmagazines.com and other community resources for events that are age-appropriate for your child to attend. When I was younger, my parents’ church used to pass out Christmas gifts to less fortunate children my age, and to this day, I can still remember the smiles on each one of their faces. They were so happy to receive a box of gift-wrapped candy canes. The gift itself was simple, but the memory is forever.
Lastly, take pictures! The holidays are a time for us to freeze a little memory into a 4 x 6 or digital print. Children love to see a little history about their past, especially if it involves a picture of a terrified toddler photographed with a bearded man dressed in red who they eventually learn to love and request gifts from.
Kim Manalansan is a freelance writer and mother of two