Preparing Your Family for a Gracious Holiday Season

By on October 13, 2018
Holiday Season

As the leaves begin to deepen their hue, the cooler winds bring in the holiday season. During a time of cheer and good company, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of endless celebrations. The holiday season brings with it a deeper meaning beyond parties and delicious food, one that is easy to neglect as the season becomes more hectic. Take time in the upcoming weeks leading to the holidays to remind your family of the season’s true meaning.

Challenge your children to live with grace

To be a ‘graceful’ individual is to live with the intent of lifting others up. This is a practice that should be done at any chance you can get and one that does not seek praise in return. Have a conversation with your family about the characteristics of a graceful person, and frame them as traits to aspire to have. By transforming this type of person into a role model, it serves as motivation for your children to actively find moments to show grace.

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Set a goal each morning that challenges your family to live with grace. There are so many ways to be more gracious in our daily lives, such as always saying thank you, even for the smallest things, or going out of your way to make sure another person feels appreciated. Get a chalk or corkboard (or just post it to the fridge!) to display the daily challenge of grace. During family dinner, take a moment to share the ways you all met this challenge. This is a great way to prepare your children to have a more thankful attitude going into the holiday season.

Focus on spending time not spending money

It’s important to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the value of time spent with those we care about. Reconnecting with friends and family in small, intimate ways rather than within loud, festive settings can be an effective way of getting closer.

Carve out time to visit a relative or family friend. Perhaps bring over a small treat as a way of letting them know you appreciate them! It can be difficult for little ones to sit still for too long, so limit the visit to an hour. You’d be surprised at how much bonding can be done in a small time frame.

If you’re hoping to visit longer, try hosting a small dinner or family gathering. Planning a movie night is a great way of having a low-key event that will keep even the most active children engaged. There are tons of wholesome Christian movies that will appeal to the entire audience in your living room turned private theater! Create a ‘concession stand” with finger foods and movie snacks to keep your friends and family satisfied throughout the entire night!

Be loud and proud of all you are thankful for

In addition to having grace, it is especially important to be in tune with all of the many blessings we have in our lives. With the increasing commercialization of the holidays, it can become easy for children to become more focused on the material side of the season rather than what makes it so special.

Create a bowl of thankfulness. Each morning has your children start their day by writing down something they are thankful for and put it in the bowl. Challenge them to be mindful of other things that bring them joy as they make it through their day. Ask them to focus on non-material items and instead be aware of the people around them and the moments they share. At the end of each day, have them add these to the bowl as well.

Let the bowl fill up with thankfulness throughout the weeks leading to the holidays. Either on the holiday or in the weeks of its season, sit down as a family and read through all of the people and moments they are grateful for.

Prepare your children for moments where gratitude matters

There may be moments throughout the holiday season where your child may have difficulty navigating gratitude. Take time prior to the festivities to help them understand how they should behave in certain situations.

Should they receive a gift they don’t feel particularly excited for, help them understand why the gesture deserves as much gratitude as one they are happy to receive. Teach them that, no matter the gift, the focus is on being thankful that someone thought of them and wanted to show them appreciation through a gift. Putting this into perspective will encourage them to behave gracefully when this situation occurs.

Set realistic expectations for their behavior during any upcoming family or friend festivities. Inform them of a loose schedule beforehand, including the expectation that they will graciously sit at the dinner table with others rather than continue to play or make a point of speaking with certain relatives. Help them understand that these are all behaviors that show gratitude and appreciation for the individuals in our lives who care for us.


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Preparing Your Family for a Gracious Holiday Season