Whether it’s the chilly night air, the holiday music playing over the radio, or the big shopping discounts, it can’t be denied that the Christmas spirit is alive and thriving. This year has been all about stepping into a new era. We’ve come to terms with the aftermath of lockdowns. And it has not been easy! Many adjustments had to be made. But we capped the year well, and that’s something worth remembering and celebrating. Whilst the future is still a long list of uncertainties, challenges never fazed us and they only made us stronger. But Christmas is more than just a season of gift-giving. It’s more than just the decorations or the food. This year’s Christmas is a hopeful one.
Oftentimes, families look at Christmas as this “grand event of the year.” And this is okay, but at face value, it becomes somewhat materialistic. Whether we dare to admit it or not, the true essence of Christmas gets lost in translation. So when kids come up to us and ask questions like, “Why do we celebrate Christmas” or “Is Santa Claus real,” do we really know how to give them a meaningful answer? Now, of course, the celebration of the holidays is also aligned with your culture but even then, the same point stands: are we truly in the spirit of Christmas?
Well, you can be in the spirit of the holidays and here are a couple of ways to make that experience meaningful.
Keep it simple
We briefly mentioned above how Christmas becomes a materialistic holiday at face value. Generally, you’ll have expectations that you will receive a gift, right? And you really don’t want your kids to develop this habit of clinging onto luxuries. Here comes a dilemma: gift-giving is a valued family tradition. But you don’t have to take that away at all!
Just keep it simple.
Letter-writing is a great way to start practicing this. It’s a simple gesture, but it encompasses the very essence of Christmas and what it means to celebrate it. Moreover, it’s a good vocabulary exercise for your kids! There are also loads of DIY gift ideas that can challenge your creativity, you can literally make gifts with the things that you already have at home. This applies to decorating your house as well! You don’t really have to go all out to buy yourself a Christmas tree, which not only you will use one time but it’s also potentially harmful to our environment. Why not make your own tree with recycled materials? It’s a fun activity to bond over with your kids and family.
Why not do some volunteer work during the season? There are a lot of opportunities to be involved in your local community. And you have to remember that: your privilege is not something every person has. Some people don’t even have families to celebrate holidays with. It’s not such a bad idea to share your blessings to those who need it. And it doesn’t have to be material things as well, you can simply volunteer your free time. You can learn so much about yourself, your child, and the community you belong to. It’s a nice way of teaching compassion as well, which undoubtedly is one of the most important qualities your child could ever learn.
Look back and reflect
Sometimes, so much can happen in a year that we tend to forget to be grateful for the peaks and valleys. By embracing both the good things and the bad things, we’re allowing ourselves to move forward with growth. Looking back and reflecting puts us in a good position to assess where we currently are. Only through this we can step forward into a new year with a clean slate. And this is important, self-awareness enables us to open our doors to new opportunities and learnings. Acknowledging that bad things could happen is the first step to nurturing ourselves.
And this is by no means dismissing the good things either! It simply means that we’re in the right mindset to allow room for growth. We will always be a work in progress. Rather than a glass half-empty, we should see ourselves as a glass half-full. As we work towards achieving our goals next year, it’s nice to kind of zoom out and see the whole picture. Next year is about taking back our narratives and pushing ourselves beyond what we can imagine.
Set goals for next year
Christmas is also about the birth of new beginnings. It’s the middle ground between the afterthought of the past year and the foreword of a new year. It’s because of this that we’re able to reconcile with the goals we’ve already achieved and those that we’re still trying to reach. After a much-needed reflection, follow it up with goal-setting.
You can ask yourself a couple of questions.
What did we achieve this year?
How can we go beyond what we’ve already accomplished?
What are the next steps for our family?
Asking simple questions like these will help determine your goals.
Have your kids ever made a wish on Christmas day, hoping it’ll come true the following year? To some extent, goal-setting works in the same manner. Set goals for you and your kids. You can start with simple, small goals and then gradually work your way up from there. And there is no limit either. The more goals you set, the more you will be motivated to work towards them!
Last year, we saw ourselves at the foot of problems brought by COVID. This year has been mostly a blur, with us trying to rebuild our lives and adjusting to a new age. In the grand scheme of things, it’s nice to kind of be able to step back and simply enjoy the moment to appreciate the things we would otherwise have taken for granted. More importantly, we’re teaching our kids the significance of humility.
This Christmas season teaches us to be more appreciative and to have self-awareness. We can comfortably strip ourselves off of the luxuries in life, and instead choose to sit in the corner with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Enjoy this time with your family! Christmas isn’t about how big your tree is. It’s not about how bright the lights are. It’s not about a sumptuous Christmas eve dinner.
The spirit of Christmas is wherever we can find its true meaning. We just have to look within ourselves.
On behalf of the UK Virtual School team, we wish you a Merry Christmas!