This time of year is filled with a lot-presents, family get-togethers, rich and delicious food, and a large serving of commercialism. The winter months bring about a surge in buyers, from Black Friday specials to Christmas deals that seem too good to pass up, it’s no wonder so many kids get a case of the gimmies- expert marketers are targeting them as the prime audience for their products! No parent wants their kids to be materialistic, though. Here are some ways to combat holiday greediness:
Set Limits On Behaviors (Not Wishes)
If Christmas is your favorite holiday and your children still believe in Santa Claus, it’s easy for them to get caught up in fantasies of an endless stack of presents. After all, he’s magic and can do anything, right? Not necessarily. It’s okay to tell your kids that even Santa has limits, and that although they can wish for anything they’d like, they need to understand that they may not get it all. I like to explain that Santa has to get presents for every child in the world. When kids are still young, their brains just aren’t yet wired to discerns needs and wants versus family resources, and so we as adults can help them be realistic in their holiday expectations.
Teach the Value of Giving
It sure is fun for kids to receive gifts, but the holiday season is an opportunity for them to learn just how much joy and fulfillment can be found in giving gifts as well. Show by example just how good it feels to give a gift, particularly to someone who may be sad or lonely, and let them have experiences where they feel that joy themselves. You can combat holiday greediness in kids by instilling these lessons early on and helping them understand that this time of year isn’t all about them; it’s about their grandma, friend, neighbor, or teacher, too.
Make It About Gratitude
Another strategy to fight greed and materialism is to encourage our kids to have genuine gratitude, not just for the physical gifts that they receive, but also for the blessings that they enjoy year round. Saying “thank you” may seem small, but it’s a big deal! Even if your child receives a gift that they necessarily love (like another pair of socks from grandpa), help them understand that someone took the time to think of them and get them something. Writing “thank you” notes can be a great start, and cultivating an overall attitude of gratitude can definitely help combat greediness.
Remember the Meaning of the Season
Though we may differ in our specific holiday traditions (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.), they all involve something much deeper than physical gifts. Speak openly of why we celebrate, and help your children remember what it’s really all about. And just like Dr. Seuss’s the Grinch said when he hears the sound of grateful singing, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”