Family Traditions: Meaningful Gifts

Christmas is a time for giving — not just presents,

by Sherry Butt (Calgary Sun), December 5th 1998

The most meaningful gift you can give your children during the holidays is time, says Dr. Shannon St. Pierre, clinical family therapist and mother of five.

Better yet, if time is spent engaged in family rituals, it goes a long way in building family cohesiveness.

“Creating rituals is very important in keeping families together,” says St. Pierre.

Whether the ritual is as big as a family trip or just setting aside time to do holiday activities, the important thing is that it is something the family does together every year, she says.

The definition of a family has changed dramatically over the years, so in many cases it’s necessary to create new rituals.

Parents should remember that rituals, whther old or new, should revolve around the children’s interests. If the child likes music, set aside a time for the family to sing Christmas carols together.

Some rituals you might want to consider doing with your family can be baking Christmas goodies, decorating the tree and home, putting together a puzzle, going skating or watching a holiday movie such as A Christmas Carol.

Christmas is a time of giving, so you can expose your children to various charitable rituals during the holidays such as donating a toy to those less fortunate or taking food to the food bank, says St. Pierre.

Today’s family are very busy, so finding the time to spend with your c children can be challenging.

“I avoid the rush and get this ready ahead of time,” says St. Pierre. By pre-planning, you free up the time to spend with the kids when it matters most.

Gift-giving is one of the holiday’s oldest rituals. Instead of buynig trendy toys for your children, spend the money on learning toys which will likely be played with all year long.