8 Great Ways to Teach Your Kids Gratitude This Christmas

Two children, a boy and girl, wearing santa hats and sitting in front of a Christmas tree while the boy whispers in the girl's ear.

Christmas is a time of giving and being grateful for what we have. (Image: Olga Rolenko via Dreamstime)

Christmas is a time of giving and being grateful for what we have. Thus, Christmas is an excellent time to teach your kids gratitude.

8 ways you can teach your kids gratitude this Christmas 

1. Give back

It can be easy to think of Christmas as a selfish time of year, but you do not have to wait for gifts to give back. There are many ways your children can help others without even leaving their own street or town. 

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You could volunteer at a soup kitchen over the festive period, organize a collection on behalf of the homeless charity closest to you, or choose to sponsor an underprivileged child in another country. You do not need any special skills or resources, just some spare time and the ability to offer some encouragement by sharing your experiences with your kids.

2. Remember, it’s the thought that counts

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also a time when our thoughts turn very quickly to presents. Some children find it hard to understand why they should buy friends expensive toys when they could get them something cheaper instead and then use the extra money to buy something much nicer things for themselves. 

An excellent way to teach your kids gratitude this Christmas is by encouraging them to put some real thought into their gifts. Encourage your children to either draw or write down what they want instead of just saying something generic. Not only will this make the recipient feel special, but it will also encourage your children to be more mindful of what they are asking for.

An excellent way to teach your kids gratitude this Christmas is by encouraging them to put some real thought into their gifts.
An excellent way to teach your kids gratitude this Christmas is by encouraging them to put some real thought into their gifts. (Image: Monkey Business Images via Dreamstime)

3. Make a list and check it twice

A great way to teach your kids gratitude for what they have is by getting them to keep track of what they receive over the Christmas period. This can be done in many ways, but one easy way is to create a list and check it twice! Have your children write down everything they get on Christmas day and then ask them to reflect on how lucky they are after the holiday season has passed.

This can also be done with things that your children give away. Talk about why they might have chosen to give certain presents to particular people, and how they felt when they did so. Discuss the act of giving in general (and not just at Christmas) and why it can be rewarding for everyone involved.

4. Let them give some gifts away

Instead of always trying to satisfy their demands, teach your kids gratitude by encouraging them to give some gifts away themselves. This could be done individually or with other members of the family. 

It is important not only because it encourages generosity toward others, but also because it will allow your child to discover what makes them happy outside of material possessions. It can be a really fun experience for the whole family, and it teaches kids about the importance of Christmas being more than just a time of receiving.

5. Make new traditions

It is always nice to keep alive old traditions at Christmas, but don’t be afraid to add in some new ones either. This could be something as simple as reading a different festive book each night or making your Christmas dinner with a different cultural theme. Not only will this add some excitement to the holiday season, but it will also teach your children about other cultures and how everyone celebrates Christmas in their own way.

Father reading a story to his daughter.
Start a new family tradition such as reading a different festive book each night during the Christmas season. (Image: Igor Mojzes via Dreamstime)

6. Volunteer as a family

There are many ways that you can volunteer as a family over the Christmas period. This can be anything from helping to pack food parcels for the homeless to visiting a nursing home and singing carols with the residents. It is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit while also teaching your children about the importance of giving back to the community.

7. Send thank-you notes

One of the simplest (but most effective) ways to teach your kids gratitude this Christmas is by getting them to send thank-you notes. This could be after receiving a gift, or simply for having a nice family meal together. By taking the time to write out their thoughts, your children will learn how to express their gratitude in a clear and concise way.

8. Let them experience some setbacks

While it is important to teach your kids gratitude, it is also important to let them experience some setbacks. This could be anything from losing a favorite toy to not getting the gift they wanted on Christmas day. Talk to your children about how to deal with these types of disappointments and help them to understand that these things are a natural part of life. Disappointment is an emotion that we all feel at some point, but it is how we deal with it that determines our character.

If you teach your kids gratitude this Christmas, it can be a really rewarding experience for both you and them. Not only will they learn how to appreciate the things they have, but they will also learn how to be grateful for the things they don’t have. These skills will stay with them for the rest of their lives and will help them to become more content and fulfilled individuals. So why not start to teach your kids gratitude this Christmas? It might just be the best decision you ever make.

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