Like most people, I love the Christmas season. I really enjoy giving gifts, but it is important to remember that it isn’t all about the gifts. It is almost too easy to get caught up on the monetary side of this wonderful season and forget about the real value of love and togetherness. I want my kids to learn not to expect tons of presents underneath the tree, and to place more value on giving than receiving. This year I plan on teaching the importance of presence over presents.
Presence Over Presents
Now, I am not saying that I won’t get my kids any gifts. I love giving gifts, I just can’t help it. Seeing them light up on Christmas morning because of the gifts under the tree is a large part of the magic for me as a mom. What I am saying though, is that there is a line that we as parents must tow in order to maintain a balance of presence over presents for our kids. It is our job to teach them that while receiving is great, giving is even better, and that while we may want many things, sometimes time is more important. I take my job of raising good human beings very seriously, and while I am by no means a perfect parent, I do my best to raise my children with love and respect. That being said, there are a few ways that I have found that really help me teach the importance of presence over presents.
Teaching Giving Back
Giving back is something I believe we should all be doing all year round. It does seem that it becomes more prevalent during the Holidays though, so this is when I really focus on it with my kids. There are so many ways you can teach the importance of giving back, no matter the age of your kids. One thing that I do is donate good but unneeded items to a local charity. This is something that I get my daughter involved with. Together, we will go through her toys and clothes and pick out items to donate. I always explain to her why we do this as well. She knows these will go to other kids who need the toys and clothes more than she does. The more often we do this, the more I can see her really grasping the concept of donation and why we do it. She even has started to enjoy doing it.
Another things we do, is something that we do as a family multiple times a year. My husband, who is former Army National Guard, cooks for the Fisher House a few times a year. The Fisher House is a wonderful organization that reminds me of a Ronald McDonald House but specifically for military families. My daughter always goes with my husband to drop off the food when we cook.
There are so many ways to give back all year round. Giving back within your local community and involving your children can really help teach them that it is their presence that truly matters in this world.
Give The Gift of Experience
Gifts are all good and fun. What little girl doesn’t want a bunch of My Little Pony toys under the tree? While toys are good and fun, experiences are the best gifts. One thing we love to do is give the gift of travel. Instead of birthday gifts, we will get season passes to Legoland Florida. We will do trips to Disney World instead of a load of Christmas gifts. Experiences can be wonderful gifts because they allow you and your whole family to really bond. These don’t even have to be elaborate or expensive. Trips to the bowling alley or a local amusement park or museum. Experiences are one of my favorite things to gift.
Expensive Gifts Aren’t Always Worth It
Lastly, I think it is important for us as parents to realize that expensive gifts aren’t always worth what we have to sacrifice to get them. Working overtime in order to afford expensive gifts? To me, that isn’t worth it. I would much rather spend that time with my kids and pass on getting them on the “big gift”. We only have so much time on this planet so we need to make the most of it. Our kids are only little for such a short amount of time as well. I know personally, I don’t remember the gifts I got as a kid. I remember the time I spent with my family. The love that I felt and the experiences we were able to have together.
So this Holiday season, and all seasons after, we need to remember the importance of presence over presents. Let’s teach our kids to be loving and caring humans. It is time to really give back and teach the next generation the importance of giving. Let’s spend time with our kids, give them experiences that they will never forget.
Jessi is a working mom to two living in Central Florida. She has a Master’s Degree in Legal Studies but decided to make her career in social media marketing and content writing. When she isn’t cooking up something new in the kitchen, she is traveling with her family and looking for new adventures!