How to refocus the holidays for kids


December 7, 2016

The holidays for kids can prompt a focus on materialism. Here are some ways to help turn that around.


We absolutely love Christmas. It is one of my family’s favorite times of the year, for so many reasons, including getting to spend time with family and friends. Something I know many parents struggle with, however, is the materialism that seems to take root in our kids’ hearts once the season begins — or long before, given how early Christmas ads start these days!

It’s almost impossible to avoid the advertisements that encourage us to think of ourselves and to buy what we’ve always wanted, rather than think of others and their needs. Here are three tactics we use to focus our children in the right direction this season:

1. Cut back on commercials.

We avoid the constant barrage of advertisements by cutting way back on commercial TV. Rather than getting inundated with ads, we watch programming that we control, like Netflix, our DVR, our personal DVDs and checking out new DVDs from the library. It’s much easier to enjoy watching shows together when I’m not telling my kids “no” during commercial breaks.

2. Stay out of the mall.

The hype of a mall is hard to resist and ads are everywhere. If we do go to the mall, I make sure to set proper expectations of what we will be doing and why. This seems to help with the constant requests for stuff.

3. Explore service opportunities.

Nashville offers many ways for families to serve the community together, and service opportunities are the kinds of things that your kids will remember. Here are a few ways to serve together:

  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  • Go on a shopping trip together that is strictly for buying food to help stock a food pantry.
  • Take a day to make and deliver gift baskets for a women’s shelter. Include pain relievers, shampoo and body washes.
  • Visit a nearby assisted living or nursing home, and sing a few carols with the residents.
  • Donate wish list items to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Salvation Army or another charitable organization.

When we refocus our kids on the real meaning of Christmas and show them real ways to think about others first, we’re setting an example for them. As a parent, it helps me refocus, too!

This post was written by Kelly Hancock, who blogs about parenting and faith as well as sharing all the best deals on her money-saving blog, Faithful Provisions.


What are some of your favorite ways to teach your children the real meaning of the season? Share your ideas in the comments below.