‘Tis the holiday season! If you live in a country that likes to get festive, you’ve probably experienced decorations, yummy sweet treats, and talks of presents sneak into your day-to-day life. This is an exciting time, especially for children who get to spend a few weeks off from school, sleep in, play with shiny new toys, and munch on stocking stuffers. 

Unfortunately, the holiday season has turned into an opportunity for brands to sell as much as possible in a short period. This leaves many families strapped for cash and children expecting to wake up to piles of gifts that they’re excited to play with that morning, but will quickly forget about. Teaching children about the joys of a nonmaterial holiday season is a great way to shop consciously, value what they do receive, and enjoy the holidays for nonmaterial reasons. 

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What the Holidays Are Really About 

The holidays are about family, downtime, and perhaps even religion depending on your beliefs. This may be hard to explain to a child at first who has grown up watching countless toy commercials and being asked what they want for Christmas every year. It’s far easier to focus on toys and treats than values and moderation. 

Break down why the holiday you’re celebrating is important. What’s the history? What’s exciting about it? Read them some books and watch a movie or two to get them in the festive spirit without promising or asking about gifts and objects. 

Gratitude Over Gifts 

Grateful children are happier children. They get better grades, experience more positive emotions, and are less likely to experience feelings of depression and jealousy. It’s difficult to feel genuinely grateful about what they receive over the holidays when tearing open 20 different gifts. Sometimes, the most important presents are the less-expensive ones with sentimental value, not the shiny gifts that quickly fade into the background. 

Ask your kids what they want for the holidays, but specify that they can only choose three things. This will help them manage their expectations and let them appreciate the actual toys they receive, not just the number that they get to open up. 

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Upcycled & Non-Material Gift Ideas 

Giving your child the gift of an experience is a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the holiday season. You could take them bowling, roller skating, and give them a generous amount of tickets for arcade games. These gifts are exciting and kid-friendly, but don’t leave behind a trail of lost barbie shoes or unopened craft kits. 

Upcycling things they already own is also a creative way to help them appreciate their belongings but still have something new and exciting to enjoy. Turn a bunch of their old socks into a teddy bear or repaint their bedroom furniture for an upgraded and colorful look! You could also take small plastic toys they’ve forgotten about and put them in molds with glycerin to make fun soaps. Have fun thinking about what might get your child excited that doesn’t require a brand new purchase

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The Beauty of a Nonmaterial Holiday Season

In a world of countless advertisements and endless trend cycles, opting to not focus on materialism during the holiday season is a revolutionary act. It may take your child a while to appreciate the importance of learning to enjoy and live with less, but it’s a lesson that will stick for life. As a bonus, shifting away from material goods makes your job as a parent during the holiday season less stressful. Challenge yourself to buy as little as possible this holiday season… you might be surprised at the weight lifted off your shoulders by shortening your shopping lists.

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