What Christmas teaches our children
Forgetting that the decorations may have been up in some shops since September, for many children Christmas begins with a letter, a carefully crafted list of goodies they’d like for Christmas, with an added line about how they’ve been good all year! Without even thinking about it, the list will be written in their best possible handwriting, the envelope carefully addressed to Santa, care of the North Pole.
In fact, it’s amazing what your kids can learn over Christmas.
For many people, Christmas is a time for getting together with family and friends, and more often than not your children will be mixing with people who are much older than them, picking up on snippets and stories from Christmas past, and learning about the traditions of the festive season and a bit of family history.
Listening, joining in, asking questions, and just sitting and talking to ‘grown ups’ can be a big move for children. And amidst all the hullabaloo of a busy Christmas, they’ll gain a much greater appreciation of the older generation, too.
Another great ‘life skill’ that kids can pick up over Christmas is the joy of giving. Although it may still lag someway behind the joy of receiving (!), they’ll be on a learning curve towards realising that a bit of thought - rather than a lot of money - is much more likely to bring a smile to Grandma’s face.
Christmas is also a great time to let your children find out about helping others too, whether it’s taking part in a charity appeal at school or a trip to the old folks’ home for carols with the Cubs or Brownies.
It’s easy to forget how much our youngsters absorb when we don’t even think they’re learning. Flicking on the TV, they could soon be immersed in a Dickensian classic like A Christmas Carol, or if they’re helping out in the kitchen, their maths skills could be called upon to measure out the gravy, or work out how many roast potatoes are needed to feed ten for dinner.
And just as Christmas begins with letters, it often ends with them too. When the decorations have been packed away, and the last of mince pies finally eaten, it’s time for those thank you letters to go out to those who've given.
Maybe at this point, you’ll finally have the chance to reflect on all the little – yet important – things that Christmas teaches our children.