By Sally Goldberg
Q. Even though I try to teach the meaning of each special
occasion as it comes, each year the commercialism of each holiday
seems to win over. Do you have any suggestions for making this
holiday season more meaningful for children?
A. Yes, there is a way to keep holiday sensitivity at the
forefront of your child's thinking.
October, November, and December are the holiday months. Each week
during the holiday season life gets busier and busier as family
dinners, gift-giving, and parties multiply in number. Excitement
mounts day by day as one holiday leads into the next. As you
enjoy each holiday event this season, here is a way to help make
the time you spend together with your child into a rich and
meaningful character building experience.
Starting with H for Halloween, HONESTY comes to mind. Dress-up is
the theme. It is the official opportunity to pretend to be
someone else. What better time than that to talk about honesty,
the quality of being yourself and telling the truth. Because it
is natural to act the part of a costume, explore with your child
traits that go along with the choice of character. There may be
admirable characteristics to emulate, but there also may be some
that are not admirable and maybe even too distasteful to warrant
keeping the costume choice. Remind your child how important it is
to be honest and truthful.
November brings us Thanksgiving and a T for TRUSTWORTHINESS. As
you celebrate Thanksgiving and a month of giving thanks, you can
talk to your child often about their tasks and responsibilities.
Remind your children of how thankful you are for their daily
contributions to family life. Take the opportunity to explain
what it means to be counted on and to inspire trust.
December brings 2 C's for Christmas and Chanukah. They can be
for CARE and CONCERN. Because there is a natural focus for these
holidays on gift giving, it provides an excellent time to enrich
your child's thinking with thoughts of presents that are
helpful and supportive to others. Both commercial items and
non-material gestures can be based on the deeper attributes of
caring and concern.
December has a K for us in the holiday of Kwanza, the
African-American cultural festival for giving thanks for the
first fruits of the harvest. That makes it just the right time to
teach about KINDNESS. It provides the perfect reminder about not
taking anything or anyone for granted. Just as much kind
attention goes into producing a harvest, so many kind words and
actions go into the making of great friendships.
With the advent of this holiday season, I hope you will now have
an easy way to make each holiday more meaningful to your
children. With the pushes and pulls of commercialism all around,
I hope that these letters of character will guide you and your
children through festivities of holiday richness.
* H for HONESTY
* T for TRUSTWORTHINESS
* C and C for CARE and CONCERN
* K for KINDNESS
My very best wishes for safe, happy, and healthy holiday times together.
(c) Sally Goldberg, Ph.D., is a parenting specialist in Scottsdale,
AZ. She empowers parents to solve parenting issues. With unique personalized
workshops and one-on-one consultations in person
and by telephone, she gives parents insights related to self-esteem, behavior,
respect, ADD/ADHD, self-care,
and more. If you would like to contact Dr. Sally, you can reach her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more at