Family Together Christmas Celebration ConceptIt is precisely at this time of the year that the commercial world comes out, guns blazing, seeking to convince you and your children that the way to real happiness at Christmas time is to spend loads of money, whether you are financially able to or not! Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres says, “Families feel compelled to buy all sorts of expensive and often unnecessary gifts to satisfy the expectations of society and business. There is, of course, nothing wrong with sharing gifts with our loved ones, but there is a problem when our expectations of material gifts are used to define our joy, or lack of it! There is a problem when families feel that they have no choice but to express their love by overspending on their budgets and creating unimaginable stress and anxiety in the aftermath!”
Isn’t it time that we redefine our understanding of what joy is and how we can experience it, with or without a pile of expensive gifts under the tree?
Cindy first takes a quick look at what ‘joy’ is NOT:
- A once-achieved-forever-experience: Nobody feels happy or joyful ALL of the time. We need to create moments in time in which joy can be experienced. These moments need to be recognised and acknowledged to be felt and appreciated.
- A thing that can be bought: Rather it is an emotion that can be experienced in a moment. Joy cannot be created by parenting from a point of guilt either. Many parents feel guilty about their parenting and try and buy retribution!
She offers simple ideas guaranteed to create moments of joy this Christmas:
- Giving is the greatest gift: The very best way to experience joy is to give it to someone else. Why not work as a family to assist someone in need? Discuss ideas together. You can get really creative and make some simple items or food parcels to give away. Teach your children to give from their heart. There truly is no greater joy!
- Be selfless: Choose an organisation that looks for volunteers and decide to do something as a family to contribute. There are great moments of joy in being in service of those less fortunate than ourselves.
- Have a budget limit on gift buying: Focus, rather, on finding gifts that have special meaning to the receiver. This can be loads of fun when you get creative and it most often means more than a quick-have-to-buy gift ever will!
- Create memories: Look for opportunities to share experiences rather than expensive gifts. Organise a picnic in the park or a day at the beach. You can announce your experience-gift in a homemade card. Making beautiful memories does not have to cost a lot of money, but they will last a lifetime!
- Love is all you need: Remember that there is nothing in this world that one could buy that will replace the love of a family. Don’t sweat the small stuff – life is too short for that! Notice and acknowledge one another, express gratitude for each other, respect yourself so that you respect others and look out for those little moments of joy!
- Teach your children to have an attitude of gratitude: They may not have all the material things that they wish for, but they WILL have many, many things to be grateful for.