Should We Teach Children the True Values of Christmas?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but are we allowing the values and traditions of Christmas to be overshadowed by material expectations?

Words: Alisha Davis
Lead image: Getty Images/Studio Annika

Everyone loves Christmas – children even more so. There’s something about this day that when looked through a child’s eyes seems almost magical. It’s a day where families come together, giving presents to one another and enjoying a hearty meal.

But are we allowing the values and traditions of Christmas to be overshadowed by material expectations? The need to have the next best thing seems to be overtaking the teachings to children of values that have been instilled in many of us. But how can we make sure these traditions don’t disappear?

If you ask any child what they love about Christmas Day, answers will most definitely include receiving gifts. However, the older generation’s answers may well be different, with many stating an enjoyable day with loved ones is what they look forward to the most.

Teaching about traditions doesn’t have to be limited to just your own. Discovering how other cultures and religions celebrate the festive season can make it even more interesting for your child

Teaching these festive values is simple and can be tailored to individual family needs. Mention that church bells are rung at midnight to signal the beginning of the Christmas celebration and at the start of midnight mass, which is a hugely important to the Catholic and Christian faith.

Teaching about traditions doesn’t have to be limited to just your own. Discovering how other cultures and religions celebrate the festive season can make it even more interesting for your child. Discuss how other religions have different celebratory festivals such as the Hindu festival Diwali and the Muslim holiday Eid.

Schools around the UK will undoubtedly stage their own nativity scene, so this is the perfect time to learn how it’s celebrated in other countries. In Italy, for example, the famous nativity crib scene is hugely important and they wait to put the figure of the baby Jesus in the scene on Christmas Eve.

When your child comes home with a part in the traditional nativity play, tell them why their part is important. Something so simple helps keep the traditions alive.

Then there is food (which many will also undoubtedly link to Christmas). Describe to your little ones how in Norway their version of Christmas pudding is a special bread called ‘Julekake’. Or perhaps mention how a grand market is held on Christmas Eve in Jamaica, and why in Japan KFC has become such a tradition.

It is our responsibility to ensure we are instilling priceless values and traditions, so allow your children to fully discover the true essence of this holiday. It may even make you open your eyes to the true meaning of Christmas.