Thankfulness over the holidays. Often we may get stuck on this simple act because the world has made it so extravagant and expensive. Other times we just may not know how to begin. So, how do you show it? Better yet, why would you not even try?
In a world that seems contrary to our values at times, it is important to hold fast to our beliefs and instill them into our children. The holidays give us an opportunity to demonstrate by example not only for our children but also to other family members.
Over the years, we have incorporated some simple ideas to teach our children that the holidays are not just about us but rather, being thankful for what God has done in our lives. I hope as you read some of our traditions, they will be as meaningful to you as they are to us.
Ways to start a new tradition as a family:
- After saying the blessing have each person state “ONE” thing they are grateful for. Begin with the eldest member and trickle down to the youngest. This is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Set aside a portion of the meal for the homeless or an elderly in your neighborhood who has no family. After dinner, gather as a family and prep the food for distribution. This teaches tithing and taking care of the less fortunate.
- If you are blessed to have an abundant yard, create a meal and break bread with neighbors who are alone or less fortunate. You will be amazed how God multiplies the food.
- During Christmas have the younger children dress up and act out the nativity scene. They draw names and whoever pulls out JESUS gets to carry the baby to the manger. This is one of the traditions in our home.
- Another Christmas tradition is singing happy birthday to Jesus. Each year pick a different family to do the honor of baking the cake and before opening gifts, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This is a great tradition because the kids learn who is really celebrated at Christmas. This is another tradition in our home.
- Give to the orphanages. Children usually receive an abundance of toys and out of those toys, have them select one or two to gift to another child. This teaches them to have a servants heart.
Maybe your single and want your own tradition. Here are some simple ideas.
- Donate your time and volunteer at a shelter. You never know what opportunity you may have to pray with someone.
- Open your home to friends that have no family for the holidays. Be the best host and let them know how thankful you are for them. This demonstrates unconditional love.
- Don’t ask for anything but just pray. This is a great opportunity to have alone time during the holidays and “THANK GOD” for all that he has done. Have an attitude of gratitude.
In Galatians 6:8-9 it says that what we reap, we sow. If you have been without or limited, start sowing what you have. You will begin to see how God opens the doors for your barns to be full. If you have been alone for the past holidays, begin to open your home. You will soon see the abundance of people passing through the doors.
Traditions don’t have to be expensive or over the top. They are simple and heartfelt leaving a lasting memory. You will be surprised to see the little ones ask you for them over and again. I pray that your traditions become a cornerstone in your house, welcoming more love and opportunities to show thankfulness and that the thankfulness lingers in the air and falls on whoever enters. Blessings.