E is 4. WC is 10 months. For E, Christmas is all about the presents. W has no idea what’s happening–he’s happy every day. Except when we tried to get him to take a picture with Santa. That did not go so well–major tears and hysteria.
How do you teach small children about the true meaning of Christmas? Parents have had this dilemma for years. But now, it’s especially hard. With the introduction of The Elf on the shelf, added to Santa and the overwhelming amount of gifts, the story of Jesus’ birth fades into the background. Parents have to be especially vigilant to keep the focus on the true nature of the holiday–giving.
When I was up in Dallas, last week, his parents and I were making a concerted effort to explain to him why we give each other gifts. We told him the story of the birth of Jesus and how the wise men brought presents to Jesus when he was born. His response–Christmas is about getting presents. He couldn’t grasp the concept.
There are so many distractions for the little ones. It’s fun to get excited about Santa and his reindeer and all the presents. But it’s also easy to lose track of what’s important–the real meaning of Christmas and the joy of giving to others.
Is a 4 year old too young to grasp that? I don’t think so. It takes effort and persistence and a commitment to teach the truth. So on Christmas, we will be baking a birthday cake for Jesus (something my brother did with his kids). It may seem like a small thing, but it’s just one thing we can do to teach him the truth. Does he understand? You can judge by his response when we told him: is Jesus going to come and eat it? Oh the analytical mind of a child!