Letters to Santa

It's that time of year, children are writing (or have already written) their letters to Santa.  As we all know, this time of year is meant to be about more than just presents, but this can be a challenging lesson for children to learn.  Even with my daughter's young age, I have sometimes struggled with how to balance her "wants" with her "needs" when it comes to Christmas gift buying.  

Don't worry, I'm not going to go on a huge rant on the commercialization of Christmas.  But, my daughter is still young, and I try to stay away from an overwhelming amount of toys.  When she does a list for Santa, we tell her she can pick 3 things to ask for, and one of them is usually an "experience", usually a family trip.

I've also started bringing my daughter to volunteer events to help emphasize the importance of giving back.  I organize a blood donor clinic a few times a year in memory of my dad, who passed away in 2013.  Although the concept of "blood donation" is difficult for a 5 year old to understand, my daughter gets the basic premise that people are there to help people who are sick or hurt.  She helps me organize the snack counter, and she often chats with donors as they come get a snack after their donation.  She enjoys it, and is exposed to a valuable learning experience.

How do you make the focus of Christmas about more than "just gifts" in your family?


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