Monday November 4, 2019
Ever since we first saw the Charlie Brown Christmas special, we realized that the holiday season had been taken over by crass commercialism. In 2017, consumers spent over $720 billion on gifts during this time of year. On average, that’s over $1000 per person in this country! We talk about fixing the problem, but most of us are hesitant to try. That’s why this year we are encouraging families to switch from gift giving to making memories this holiday season.
Sit back and think about your favorite Christmas memories. We’re willing to bet that they have very little to do with presents other than maybe one or two big ones like your first bike. (And those are probably pretty foggy.) Instead, you probably remember the traditions that your family shared. Traditions have an important impact on us, because of the repetition as well as the sense of group/community cooperation.
Here are traditions you can start with your family to make memories this year:
- Sing carols in your neighborhood. You don’t have to be a good singer, just enjoy yourself!
- Have a holiday movie night. There are plenty of great movies out there for all generations. Introduce your kids to classics like It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, or A Christmas Story. Or, you can go with newer favorites like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, Polar Express, or The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Go on a tacky light tour. A lot of local groups sponsor these, or you can create one yourself. Load up with hot chocolate, hop in the mini-van and then drive around different neighborhoods looking for the most over-the-top lighting displays.
- Do something for someone else. The holidays are a great time to teach your children to care for those around them by promoting charitable donations both of time and goods. Before they get anything new for Christmas, tell them they have to donate some of their old toys to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Also, when you go shopping, be sure to purchase something to donate to Toys for Tots. Finally, this is the perfect time to spend with your family working at a local soup kitchen or food bank. It doesn’t have to be on Christmas morning. Most of these locations will take any help they can get throughout the holidays.
This holiday season, it is time to work on changing the focus of the time from gift giving to making memories. These are the things that your family will love and remember for years to come.