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"Love is what's in the room with you if you stop opening presents and listen." -- Bobby, age 7

If you have a deep faith and keep the rituals of your religious tradition, then you’ve probably given a lot of thought to your child’s spiritual development and have your holiday religious plans all mapped out.

If, on the other hand, you wonder how to put what you believe into words and aren’t sure what spiritual beliefs you want to pass on to your kids, this post is for you.  READ POST

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | Permalink

"Television advertisements for toys and games often exploit children's underlying needs and desires.  Many commercials show a child playing with a game or toy with her parents.  The message is clear to young children: Ask for this product and your mother and father will pay attention to you. It is an offer they cannot resist." -- Lawrence Kutner

Worried that your child seems to get a bit greedy at the holidays? Consider that maybe something deeper is being triggered -- a longing for that happy, perfect, life when he'll feel completely enveloped by your love.  We adults have the same fantasy, of course.  It's part of the wonder of the holidays -- that promise of transformative love.

The human mind has a tendency to crave more, more, more.  Kids (like many adults) haven't yet learned how to manage those yearnings and direct them toward what will really fulfill them, which is connection, creativity, gratitude and meaning.   READ POST

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 | Permalink

"My memories of Christmas as a child are of stress. My mother wanted everything to be perfect and got so worked up trying to do it all that it made the rest of the family crazy. I remember my dad comforting me when I was about 8 years old, I was crying and said “I hate Christmas” and he said “I do, too, honey. We just have to get through it.”

So for my kids I try to be relaxed and fun. We make ornaments for friends and family in December and give them out as we see people — gets us into the giving without thought of receiving. We take time to see the lights around town, to decorate and appreciate our tree. We talk about the other festivals of lights and remember that feasting and gifts are to make the darkest, coldest time of year merry. We celebrate the return of the sun. We relax and play and laugh and appreciate each other.” - Amy
  READ POST

Wednesday, December 03, 2014 | Permalink

"Thanksgiving involves an act of the will. It's not a question of pretending that everything is bright and beautiful when you know it's not. To give thanks is to stand up in the face of the storm and declare that life is worth living." -Charles Henderson

If you live in the US, you're already gearing up for Thanksgiving Thursday. (If it isn't Thanksgiving where you live, I hope this post will start you thinking about your December holiday.)

Are you wondering how to go beyond mere gluttony to add some meaning and gratitude?  I'm the first to trumpet the benefit to our kids -- and ourselves -- of rituals, and of learning the habit of gratitude.  And you'll find plenty of ideas on the Aha! Parenting website to add meaning to your family's Thanksgiving.  READ POST

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 | Permalink