Determine Your Family's Personal Meaning
First off, you must determine what the holidays mean to your family. The exact meaning will vary from family to family. However, underlying meanings of the holidays can be similar. Many people believe that family is a big part of the true meaning of the holidays. Some also believe giving to others holds a deep meaning during the holidays. Special time spent with those you are closest to can be another meaning behind the holidays. And for others, the holidays can hold a religious meaning.
Seize The Moment
There are always opportune moments to seize for holiday conversations with your child. While gift shopping with your child, you can mention that while some people may be buying gifts, it is not as important to receive as it is to give. Explain about how great it feels to give to others. One way to reinforce that idea is to have your child do something special for someone else. It could be walking the dog of an immobile neighbor or carrying in someone's groceries from the car. It may even be as simple as creating a drawing or craft that is uniquely special to the one it is given to.
Another moment to explain the meaning of the holidays could come during grocery shopping to feed visiting relatives. Explain how important family is and what role they may play in holiday festivities, as well as how important it is for families to gather together and celebrate. Spending time together, for some families, only occurs during holidays. For those families it can be extra special.
Putting the Meaning Into Action
There are other ways to get the point across to your child. Try a few history lessons on holidays from History.com. While discussing various holidays celebrated in December, try discussing with the child common elements, including giving, spending time with family and thinking of others. You may also wish to have the child color some family-themed coloring pages from Edupics.com.
Perhaps you are on Travelzoo.com researching the best prices for your family member to visit you. A nice gesture that could provide a great example for your child would be for you to pay some or all of your family member's traveling expenses to come visit you. Donating to those who are in need can also be a wonderful example of teaching the true meaning of the holidays to children.
GuideStar.org has an easily accessible list of non-profit organizations that you may want to consider choosing from. If your family holds a spiritual or religious meaning behind the holidays, be sure to take time out to explain this to your child as well.
In essence, the methods used to explain the true meaning behind the holidays can vary. The methods you choose to implement don't matter as much as spending time together and sharing the meaning.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network