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How to Be Kind to Each Other (Not Only) at Christmas

Written by Ladislava Whitcroft, Educational Specialist at Lipa

Parents are shouting at each other for tangling the Christmas lights, kids are fiercely fighting for the TV remote, and then suddenly Christmas Day arrives and everyone’s expected to be kind to each other – and woe betide those who are not!

As a child I didn’t understand why, after days of stress and hurt feelings, we suddenly had to be kind to each other on Christmas. After all, Christmas isn’t entirely a peaceful holiday – the turkey on the dinner table probably isn’t too pleased about its role in the festivities (unless it’s imagining how we might slowly choke on its bones). I don’t think that all the fir trees are very happy about being cut down either, especially with the way we dress them in glittering baubles and tinsel – must be humiliating for them. And the thing about people being kind to each other at Christmas? One of my most vivid memories was when I almost got my eye poked out by a mother in front of a Nativity scene, who was trying to help her daughter pet the donkey – who, by the way, didn’t look particularly happy either.



Even so, I like the Christmas message of being kind to each other. It shouldn’t last only during the holiday, but it should extend out into everyday life. At least at Christmas we can practice this way of life and hopefully teach it to our kids.

How to spread the message of kindness during Christmas:

 

1. Make an advent calendar of good deeds

An advent calendar is an inseparable part of Christmas time. But this year’s calendar doesn’t only have to be about treats – it can also be about good deeds. First, create or buy various decorative bags or boxes. On a small piece of paper, write a good deed for each day that you’ll later accomplish with your kids. Don’t forget to add some treats in the bags as well. Good deeds are great, but hey, treats are treats. Every day you can hide “treasure” somewhere in the house and then try to find it playing the game you’re getting warmer. (Or maybe, on this wintry occasion, you’re getting colder!)

To create all the good deeds you want to do with your kids, talk about what exactly a good deed is. Kids can find inspiration from fairy tales, or you can ask them if they remember when someone did a good deed for them. Good deeds don’t have to be anything big; for example, you can give someone a compliment, or clean someone else’s mess. You can also get more creative and write down something like “drawing a Christmas card for our neighbours”. If you don’t want to hide the boxes around the house, you can also create a Christmas box of good deeds. From this box, you can pull out a good deed and a treat (or a small gift) every day. Don’t forget to decorate the box with as much Christmas bling as you like!


2. Decorate a Christmas tree in your garden or in the forest

Many children long for a Christmas tree and a plastic one is not quite the real deal. How about going into the forest and decorating a tree in its natural habitat? You can make it a snow day adventure. Or if you have a fir tree in your garden, you can decorate that as well. Make decorations that will not only look nice but taste sweet to the resident animals. For example, cut an orange in half and scrape out the flesh with a spoon – then fill the little orange peel bowls with various seeds. Pull a string through both ends of the peel, hang the decorations on a tree and invite your little feathered friends for a feast.

You can also use a coconut shell by filling it with treats and putting it underneath the tree as a gift for your furry animal friends. Decorate the tree with garlands of berries, dry and fresh fruits, pinecones covered in bird seed, etc. and turn the tree in your garden into a popular animal restaurant! You can enjoy a good frolic with your kids while decorating the tree, and as a bonus you’ll be getting a healthy dose of fresh air.

 

3. Take part in a charitable project

There are usually a lot of charity projects happening around the holiday season. Talk with your kids about why it’s important to help others and give back, and make sure they understand what a charity is. Some projects have you donate toys to children in children’s homes, whereas other projects may help the elderly in nursing homes. You can buy a Christmas gift for them as well – even old folks enjoy getting gifts!

 

4. Christmas traditions and animals

When discuss various Christmas traditions in your household, don’t forget to mention that on Christmas Day people used to think about their pets and animals, too. For example, chickens used to get grain and peas, goats used to get various leftovers, and mice feasted on breadcrumbs from the dinner table. How about creating a nice birdfeeder? You can make it out of almost anything – for example from recycled materials like plastic bottles or milk boxes. You can find a lot of inspiration online – just type “DIY birdfeeders” into a search engine and then simply choose the one you like best.

Recommended articles:

What Do Kids Really Need for Christmas?

Why We Shouldn’t Compare Our Kids