Posting At the Well Today on How to Teach Your Children to Be Thankful at Christmas

Does Christmas seem to bring out the “gimmies” in your children? Have coveting and selfishness turned your little angels into green-eyed grinches? Are you disgusted with the attitudes you see, and wondering how you can encourage thankfulness, thoughtfulness, unselfishness and generosity in them?

These ten suggestions helped in our home when raising our now-grown grinches “angels.”

1) Train your children to say, “Thank you.” (If they add “Ma’am” or “Sir”–even better!)

2) Train them to write thank you notes for gifts and kindness. Be an example, sending them as soon as possible. (The etiquette books say within 24 hours–writing the note within a day or two, while the gift or event is fresh in your mind, is helpful.)

3) As a family, be generous. Give homemade gifts, gifts of your time, the gift of your thoughts, the gift of prayer. When someone’s on your mind, mention it; when you receive a prayer request, gather your family to pray with you right away; have your children help make and wrap gifts, and take your children along when you visit or serve someone.

(Read the rest of the article over At the Well.”)

I’m posting on Child-Training under the heading Raise Them Up over there today, with the title, “10 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be Thankful this Christmas.”  Due to writing my series on Tuesdays, Calm Heart, Organized Christmas, I’ve mulled over many of our accepted practices and traditions that we do without thinking at this time of year.  I’ve discovered attitudes in myself that I have been surprised at!  As our children have grown, it may be that we’ve slipped, and, in some ways, that we did a better job when our children were younger, of creating an appropriate atmosphere for celebrating Christ’s birth.  Perhaps because I was more aware of small eyes and ears watching and listening to me.  Christmas can be a difficult holiday for children.  Christmas can bring out the beast, instead of the best in them!

Do your children get the gimmies this time of year?  Billions are spent yearly to make you and I and our children “need” what they’re selling!  How can we avoid the trap of thinking only of what we want and are going to get. How do we teach our children to have giving hearts?

We tested many of the ideas that I share in this article in our own family with our own children when they were growing up, so we know that they work.  Others you’ll have to try, and let me know.

People are not by nature unselfish and giving.  We have a sin nature.  I need reminders to be thankful as much as the next guy–we all do, whether we’re 7 or 97.  So, these ideas are good for prompting whole families, including parents, to think of others, to find joy in giving, to be more grateful, and to focus on the real reason we’re celebrating:  Jesus coming to earth to save us from our sins.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

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