If you’re not careful, you can focus so much on stuff during the Christmas season that you forget about why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.
Whether or not you’re a Christian, this time of year is a great opportunity to take a breath and be thankful for everything you have. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, you can stand out by simply being content—and teaching your kids about the power of contentment.
You know how it works.
They’re going to want stuff. Lots of stuff. And they’re going to ask you for that stuff. They’re going to make lists for you and lists for Santa and lists for grandparents. The lists never end.
And don’t get me wrong—that’s okay! But just remember how quickly the fun of that new stuff wears off. And that’s why it’s important for you to help your kids keep Christmas in perspective.
How do you do that?
I always emphasize that more is caught than taught. So if your kids see you stressed throughout the holiday season—frantically buying lots of stuff without ever stopping to “smell the Christmas trees”—then guess what? That’s what they’re going to take away from Christmas.
But if you’re focusing on quality of giving over quantity, and if you’re spending time enjoying the holiday season instead of being stressed out because of it, then your kids will notice that too.
One of my favorite Christmas memories was the time our family bought gifts for a single mom with three kids. She couldn’t afford to buy presents, so Dad took all of us out and we found the perfect gifts for them. Of course, I was just a kid, so I wanted a Barbie doll, but Mom walked me through the importance of having a giving heart.
We knocked on their door about a week before Christmas. The mom didn’t know what was going on. So when Dad explained that we wanted to bless them that Christmas, she fell to her knees and cried.
The little kids saw all the gifts, and their mouths dropped to the floor. Dad simply told them to have a merry Christmas and we walked back to the car.
It was an experience that I’ll never forget—and it had nothing to do with a gift that was given to me. It was all about giving to someone else.
This Christmas, I hope you’ll teach your kids the power of contentment. While you’re thinking about all the gifts you want to give them, make sure you take some time to show them how giving to others matters too.
Contentment and gratitude truly are two of the best gifts you can give your kids this Christmas.
This article originally appeared on rachelcruze.com