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"We often don’t feel the wonder and beauty because we're too busy trying to live up to the ideal in our head....The cost of perfection is that it stresses us out to the point where we no longer enjoy the moment we're living in." - Pastor Jon

Most of us aspire to give our kids a fairy-tale holiday. After all, there's nothing quite like seeing our child's face shining with joy.

But there's a deeper fantasy driving most of us this time of year. Maybe a picture-perfect holiday will help make up for those times when we aren't so perfect as parents. On some level, we're sometimes even driven by the hope that giving our child a perfect holiday will somehow repair everything that wasn't perfect in our own childhoods. Like most unconscious needs, this one fuels a fierce frenzy of activity and drama that's destined to fail.   READ POST

Friday, December 19, 2014 | Permalink

"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

“Kids may be screaming for the latest gadget, but what they want more than anything is time with the family. Make that your biggest gift this year.” – MidnightBliss

"You will always be your child's favorite toy."  -- Vicki Lansky

All of us want to make our children's faces shine by gifting them with something special, especially at the holidays. Isn't that what makes dreams come true?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, those material presents are a bit like drugs--the lift is temporary, followed by a deeper inner craving. If this cycle is repeated over and over--even quickly, as it sometimes is on Christmas morning--it can become tinged with desperation.   READ POST

Friday, December 12, 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

"On Christmas morning, before we could open our Christmas presents, we would go to this stranger's home and bring them presents. I remember helping clean the house up and putting up a tree. My father believed that you have a responsibility to look after everyone else." -   George Clooney

Many children experience the holidays as a time to create lists of all the material goods they covet, and toy companies spend fortunes on TV ads designed to induce cravings for more, more, more in our children. It’s our job as parents to protect our kids from this assault, and to teach them the deeper meaning of the holidays. No, not by lecturing. By giving our children the experience of how good it feels to be generous.  READ POST

Friday, December 05, 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