Special Holiday Ideas

Updated on November 15, 2009
M.H. asks from Newington, CT
14 answers

Hello Mamas,
I have seen this in the past & thought I would ask since the season is upon us. What special things do you do for the holidays. We celebrate christmas, but I do not want to raise a " I WANT I WANT I WANT" kid. We started yesterday by going through all his books & toy & made 2 big bags full of stuff to give to children that don't have anything. His aunts & granmas will buy him stuff so I don't want to buy to much. I would love all ideas on how to make the holiday about giving & family not gimme mimme gimme. So far( he is only 2 1/2) he is really good about it & loves the idea of giving to other children. Thank you ladies & have a great Holiday season.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Hartford on

Make things for other people for gifts. Just keep stressing that Christmas is for giving not for receiving. I have three and they get boatloads of stuff... and none of them have the gimmies. We don't get stuff on a regular basis because it's "too expensive" and so when they do get something it's a really special treat. And they get that.

More Answers



answers from Boston on

My son is only 2, but something that I have always wanted to do and plan to do is, before he opens any presents, we are going to start Christmas the way it should be started...by giving to others. I want him to accompany me to a soup kitchen or a woman's shelter or anyplace. We will spend the morning serving others. I want him to appreciate all that he has and I want him to know how hard I work to provide for him. I see so many underappreciated moms and I don't want my son or any future siblings he may have, to undervalue how wonderful the mother's of the world are.
I'm hoping that by starting the day this way, it will help to curb the "gimme gimme" factor.
Peace & Blessings



answers from Boston on

Make it about tradition. We create Advent Rings and the kids can tear off one by one. Also, Christmas PJ's, they wear the night before. The other thing to remember is we create these children so never give him high expectations. You could make a Santa list with him and cut and paste a few items .. not all because other children need toys too .. also, pick a charity .. Angel Tree is a good one and chose a child in need and have your son help you buy and donate .. that would help.



answers from New London on

So far you have good ideas. But I like to stress that it is giving of yourself (not objects or money). So with my 2 boys (4 yrs and 24 years and married) I have them make a few presents each year. We don't use kits - we start from scratch. The child comes up with the idea (I offer suggestions when they are very young)and then tell me how to help them implement the project My 24yr old has strong memories of the Christmas times when he made an especially great gift (as in the recipient was truly touched). He loves seeing the various decorations he's made over the years on display at relatives. Sure he gets a little embarrassed with the early projects. But I think it really helps since he's married to a material girl. My 4 year old is starting to make Thanksgiving cards so people "know I say thanks for them" - I hoped to start present projects and am humbled that he came up with this idea on his own.
Raising 2 only children is difficult - they do not have to consider peers on a regular basis. They are used to being the center of attention. So helping them to focus on others is important. I don't like to stress "poor little unfortunate" children - having grown up with that label, I can tell you it is NOT fun, especially if you live in a small town or tight community. I like to stress that he is making other people happy, sharing his happiness and good life. And I think it helped my older son appreciate the gifts he received much more. It really helped that I come from a family that values homemade gifts (even adults make the gifts for each other). WE open presents one at a time nd everyone looks at what the other person has given/received. If we had an avalanche of gifts, we'd never have time for the walk to the beach before pie and cookies! So we try to keep it simple.
When my youngest gets a little older and receives allowance, he will have 3 jars to divide the money, one for spending, one for saving and one for giving and making a difference in the world.


answers from Boston on

I think it's great that you are resisting the commercialism of the season and starting when your child is young. I have 2 stepdaughters, one of whom works hard to get the kids to donate their used toys and so on, and she really wants to have the kids take them to a place where they can learn about the kids who are receiving them. She knows, for confidentiality reasons, that her children cannot meet the recipients, but at least she goes to places where the staff explains about the kids who are needy. She also does this year round, which is really important.

My other stepdaughter is another story - her children rip through their gifts and come up to me for their next gift. The older one is completely bored by family celebrations - he just opens his stuff and heads for the TV. The other one finished so quickly while the other kids (her cousins) were still opening theirs, and she nagged me about why there was nothing else for her. I was very careful to have exactly the same number of gifts for each child, but she was really challenging me and acting ripped off.

My husband and I have a son together, and we were careful to not spoil him all year round. We never did huge birthday parties with 20 kids all giving him gifts - that helped a lot when holidays came around. We also give regularly to food drives and similar things so that giving and being compassionate were always a part of his life. Sometimes we bought something else at the supermarket and dropped it in the food pantry bin at the market, sometimes we contributed to the Scout or letter-carrier drives, sometimes (especially at "off" times like the summer) we made special purchases and went to the food pantry ourselves. We also collected old blankets and towels to give to animal shelters - compassion extends to all living creatures.

Our family celebrates Chanukah, and we usually did one large gift on the last night and then smaller ones the other nights. One night was always a party with friends, during which we lit several menorahs and ate traditional foods, so the celebration was "gift-less" except for goody bags for the guests. Another night was music and family games. Throughout the whole 8 days, we concentrated on the miracle of the original Chanukah and the celebration of religious freedom and diversity, not the gift-giving that is a newer "tradition". A lot of people do similar thing with Christmas.

We also have donated to special promotions done by a local radio station that provides Christmas gifts to kids who have nothing. Our son learned that donating is donating, and it doesn't matter which holiday or religion you donate to, as long as the charity is reputable. Every week before our Sabbath dinner, we put a small amount of money in a "give-away" box - our son always was expected to put a portion of his allowance in there. When he helped us return soda bottles for the 5 cent refund, he donated some of that. A couple of times a year, we emptied out that box, counted and rolls the coins (a good matching and math exercise too!), and determined a way to donate it, either through the cash itself or by buying something to donate.

He also grew up seeing me spend Christmas day in local hospitals as part of a project that gets Jews to perform non-medical jobs so that staff can be home for Christmas. We worked in the kitchen, prepared box lunches for late arrivals, served meals to patients, and so on. My husband stayed home with our son when he was young, but they always did something nice for me like making me breakfast or having a late lunch ready when I got home. So they were part of it.

When our son had his bar mitzvah at 13, he did 13 hours of community service. He chose to collect used sporting goods for needy kids. He contacted a couple of organizations and asked them for a wish list. He then went to local stores with a letter from the rabbi, and many of them gave him money from their community outreach dollars. He used the money to purchase items in their store, and donated them. At his bar mitzvah service, we assembled some of the donated items into arrangements which we used instead of flowers in front of the pulpit, and the rest were used as centerpieces at the luncheon. Instead of guests sitting at table #1 or #5, they were assigned to the "baseball" table or the "soccer table". When it was all over, we took all the donated items to the agency, and he got to meet the people who service those kids. One thing that was nice is that much of this stuff went to group homes for neglected middle school and high school kids, a group that doesn't get much when people donate toys more appropriate for small children.

So, I commend you for starting early with your son. As he grows, you will find new ways to engage him in thinking of others. If you make it part of his life from an early age, you will reap the benefits for many years to come.



answers from Boston on

GOod for you! My daughter is 5 and we just went through stuffed animals to donate to the local fire stations that use them for children invovled in fires or emergencies to help comfort them. She was so excited to do it with me and made the choices herself as to what she was getting rid of.



answers from Boston on

Hi M.

We are planning on taking our 5 year old to deliver meals for the elderly on Christmas and Thanksgiving. We also go through her toys and set some aside for others.




answers from Boston on

2 things: 1) Adding values into it, and 2) stopping the avalanche of stuff...

Re: stuff - We've found that making lists of things kids need (bedding, pajamas, socks, etc) and sharing that with gift-givers like grandparents makes the stuff they would get anyway even more special (wow- you're wearing the pretty pajamas that grandma gave you for Xmas), and having it wrapped like a gift helps them notice they received it and not take it for granted. We usually pick 1 big thing that we want them to have (a bike, an easel) and make that their only gift from us. They are usually so consumed with the stockings (pencils, toothbrushes, little rubber balls) that they don't even try for more presents for awhile until they're through being excited about the stockings.

Re: values - I think that's an all-year thing, but the most important thing is having them learn how to make or give to others. We do trick or treat for Unicef, and try to send at least drawings to all of our far away relatives so they know we're thinking of them. We also "tell the story" of ornaments and family history on Xmas morning to make that part of the tradition.

It's great you're starting early. Good luck!




answers from Boca Raton on

I will be posting some great holiday traditions on my website soon - I'm still gathering info - check out the site frequently it's forever changing and growing - www.holidayearound.com



answers from New London on

Honestly, my children have become over crowded with toys. I have weened them out 2-3X already this year alone! Last year I told people she's getting this kitchen please by recycled or organic type toys to go with it. It didn't matter. Everyone bought whatever they wanted. My son, he's so crazy half the gifts he gets I have no idea.
What I just recently did was sent and email out to (especially the problem people) and declared we do NOT want to recieve more than 1 or 2 gifts tops from everyone each. I sent a few I knew are in tight situations that I didn't want to do gifts but to have the kids come over and make cookie platters together to GIVE the other family members as gifts. So they are the ones seeing the giving and participating in it. Saying that them doing this together and being able to play together was gift enough.
We also pack up toys and bring the our local Johnny Cake center because the gift charities no longer take used toys. Or we pack them up and have a yard sale once the weather gets nice. The really seem to like that as well.
Honestly the kids enjoy the family around and having company just as much as the gifts. If my son didn't get a gift but had his cousin to play with-he's perfect.
Another idea is a yankee swap. We say no more than $20 a gift. Give out #'s to everyone and then in order or draw the #'s from a hat they person gets to go pick a gift & opens it. Then everyone after this opens thier gifts and if they want something more that has already been opened they gets to switch with that person. (kids might not like that part as much as adults find it humerous) After everyone has gotten to open a gift & exchange as they open it the 1st person then gets to choose from everyone else sense they didn't get to swap yet.
Hope my ideas and practices helped a bit.
Merry Christmas!



answers from Boston on

Hello M.!

Our four-year-old son is unfortunately starting to show signs of the "gimmee" attitude, so this year we're going to do things a little differently.

Even when I was a child, the tradition was to race down the stairs and dive into the presents...similar to the classic "A Christmas Story". But, with eight cousins under the age of seven, it can make for a huge free-for-all with none of the parents able to enjoy the day, so this year we're changing things up a little.

Instead of just diving into presents, my thought is that we'll have a nice breakfast first, then exchange gifts, and make a point of letting him dole them out to each of us and keep a more calm pace. Then when we visit with the cousins later, he'll have to give them their presents before he can open his.

Hope this idea is helpful!




answers from Portland on

Good job Mom! My daughter foregoes Christmas gifts altogether but she is 9 now. she requests family members to donate that money to local charities. When my 2 were younger, we would make 'gift baskets' of food and homebaked treats and take them to other people who were less fortunate. I would make sure that my kids knocked on the doors and haneded the baskets over. They would get big hugs and it made them feel good to be doing soemthing positive. Try checking with your local fire department as well. They usually start doing their canned food drive and are always in need of volunteers. Your child is young but he could still help stack canned goods in boxes for like an hour or so.



answers from Boston on

The tradition we are starting with my 14 month old this year is planning a bunch of family day trips leading up to Christmas as both my husband a I work full time. We plan on going to The Enchanted Village at Jordan's furniture, La Sallette, Edaville Railroad etc. Just Daddy, Mommy and baby to take in all the lights and festivities.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches