It is only November and already children are hounding parents for presents. The way our culture focuses on getting versus giving, many children don’t know the true meaning of the holidays.
How can we change this? By being intentional, one family at a time.
Let’s begin with advertisers. Advertisers see your children as consumers who will persuade you to buy their products. So they target kids to do just what many do—hound parents for specific toys. One thing parents can do is minimize the amount of exposure kids have to advertisements—change the television channel, click off ads on the Internet and record television shows and use videos in order to avoid ads altogether.
The second strategy is to regularly talk to your kids about the real meaning of the holidays. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and giving to others because of the gift we were given from God. Support those talks with real life activities that involve giving to others, e.g., preparing and taking food baskets to the poor, serving in a soup kitchen or mission, buying and wrapping gifts for the needy, singing at a nursing home, making cookies for neighbors, etc.
Third, read the Christmas story, do the Advent candles, attend special church plays and musicals. Draw children’s attention to the reason we celebrate. Develop traditions and rituals like going caroling. Direct your children’s attention away from the commercialization of the seasons and back to what is important. The pull towards materialism is strong but parents can change the focus.