The most wonderful time of the year is here (in my opinion anyways)! From buying a fancy dress for my daughter (who chose the dress that leaves a trail of sparkles everywhere we go), to baking cookies and watching my 2-year-old gobble them up, to taking my daughter to see the Nutcracker with my dear friends and their little girls (yay – holiday traditions!), the holidays are that special time of year.
This month, my husband and I are taking a step back to look at this season with a fresh perspective.
We are from two different faiths.
While I do not preach my personal beliefs on others, my husband and I have made a commitment to take formal religion out of our household (at least for the time being) and replace it with whole-hearted beliefs and values that we want to instill in our children. This is just what works for us right now.
We are focusing on giving.
While I traditionally think of “giving” as “giving a tangible item,” it can also mean giving time (volunteering), giving a helping hand to a neighbor in need, or lending an ear. The point is to be selfless and give what you can to others. I asked my daughter what she would want to do to give, and her four-year-old response is to make sure that all kids get presents. Granted she has watched me wrap presents, but we decided to “adopt” two children this year and get gifts from their wish list.
We are focusing on being kind.
I urge you to talk to the mom who has been struggling at play groups. Make amends with moms you’ve lost touch with. Tell your kids and significant other how wonderful they are. My kids are now hugging all of their friends in daycare when we leave each day. This makes pick-up a 15-minute process, but it’s so worth it to see them be nicer than necessary.
We are focusing on respect.
We all have different opinions and values in the world, and social media makes that more prevalent than ever. But, it’s these opinions and values that make us who we are. I am teaching my children that although we are not all the same, we have the same feelings, which cause us to feel pain, sadness, happiness, joy, and anger… yes, I have watched Inside Out one too many times.
While we do not plan to attend any formal services this season as a family, we do plan to continue to teach our kids values and morals for which we’ve already started laying the groundwork. Rest assured we don’t only do this in December. I am teaching my family to practice these traits all year long!
So, if you choose to honor the holiday season based on religion (which really is the basis of Christmas after all), that is wonderful. And if you choose to skip religion and keep it about time with family and friends, drinking lots of champagne, and putting lights and garland on just about everything (yes, I am guilty of this!), good for you. No matter what your religious beliefs are and how you celebrate this season, please be open-minded to others, give back if you can, be kind, and be respectful. I plan to talk to my kids all year long about these, because really, the world can be tough sometimes, especially on families, moms, and kiddos.