Raising Grateful Kids

by Lorrie Brook / OCA / 12 Dec 2016

Grateful kids at christmas

Ways to Have More Grateful Kids This Christmas


Christmas holidays are the most exciting part of the year. The build-up to it starts months earlier and in the end the excitement pays off in the form of gift giving. It’s a fine tradition, and kids are especially looking forward to it. On the other hand, the holiday is becoming increasingly commercialized which is starting to affect the spiritual aspect of the season. It might be appropriate to address this issue with your kids. Use the holiday as an opportunity to talk to your kids about everything they can be grateful for and how Christmas relates to being charitable.

Money talk

It’s important, to be honest with your kids about your financial situation. This doesn’t mean you should worry them or go into specifics, but they should be aware of it. Actually, kids have a tendency to pick up on their environment early on – and they probably already know that money exists and that some people have more than others. Nonetheless, they should hear it from you, too. Even if they still believe in Santa Claus, you can tell them that Santa is working on a budget. This message will be especially clear if they get some allowance for a chore they complete around the house. It isn’t the most pleasant conversation – but it will make them appreciate the presents more.

Helping those in need

This is something you should think about all the time, but you should especially pay attention to it during Christmas. Get your kids involved with charity work during the holidays. For, instance they can choose which old clothes are they willing to donate. If you donate your time to some charitable organization, bring the kids along sometimes (if it’s safe to do so of course). Most importantly, underline that being privileged and having more than enough is linked with the responsibility towards others who are less fortunate.

Role models

First role models for most kids are, definitely, their parents. And that’s something to always have in mind. Their other role models probably come from pop culture. This may sound scary because pop culture is usually associated with violence and frivolous entertainment, but it doesn’t have to be the case. For instance, comic book superheroes are quite traditional in their set of values – like humility, empathy, and selflessness. There’s no reason not to indulge your kids with this sort of interest. Get the appropriate kids party supplies with their favorite characters or help them create a comic book collection. The values will find a way to come through in their actions.

Family experiences

No one is going to remember a Christmas present they’ve received 15 years ago. On the other hand, experiences you shared as a family can last forever. A family trip is the most obvious example. If you’re deciding between getting everyone an expensive present or going away as a family – choose the later - you won’t regret it. Another great idea is setting the rule that all presents have to be hand-made. There’s a chance that the presents themselves will be forgotten, but the process of making them will be a treasured memory.

Remember to be grateful

Christmas and New Years are also a time to reflect on the passing year, and to think about all the things you’re grateful for. There’s no reason not to do it out loud or even on paper. Do it together and see how much your lists match. You can put both material and immaterial items on the list, but the focus should be on values you share. Keep these lists in a box and revise them together after a couple of years. It’ll really put things into perspective.


All of this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get actual Christmas presents for your kids. You definitely should. Obviously, the presents should be equal for all the kids (equal in value – it’s ok for everyone to pursue their own interests). The important thing is to create an atmosphere in which Christmas spirit is about more than just presents and good cheer.

There is a way to fight the growing commercialization of Christmas and it’s not by boycotting big stores and sales. Supporting different values is done at home and it’s not really noticeable at first glance, but it means a lot.



Tracey Clayton




About author: Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. She’s also passionate about traveling, fashion and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”