As a homeschool mom, I try to teach my son about all of the holidays that are celebrated, by many different cultures. This gives him a chance to understand other’s beliefs and it also gives us more fun activities to do! This time of the year, there are all sorts of Mommas, celebrating many different events and holidays. Below are just a few of the holidays that people will be celebrating this time of the year, and some fun ideas about how to teach your children and even yourself about them!
Christmas– Christmas is the main holiday that we celebrate this time of the year. However, Christmas can mean different things to different people. So, I don’t want to go too far into what Christmas is, as to not alienate anyone or their beliefs. Christmas to me has simply, always been, about love, giving and appreciation. We make sure that our child knows how lucky he is and that giving to others, doesn’t just have to be done around this main holiday season. Some great ideas to help you and your family get into the holiday spirit are: baking, arts and crafts that can be used for decorations for years to come, volunteer at a homeless shelter to help feed others, go to a retirement home and play games and entertain the residents, secret Santa, and so many others. One tradition that our son looks forward to is our envelope drop. This is when we go to a different location every year: It could be a store, the mall, a gas station, wherever. He then decides who he wants to give an envelope to, that has money in it, and then walk away before they open it. This gives him a great feeling of giving and the ability to suprise someone who wasn’t expecting it.
Hanukkah- Hanukkah is a holiday that is celebrated by the Jewish faith, from December 22- December 30th. Hanukkah is also know as the festival of lights. The 8th night of Hanukkah is called Chanuka, which commemorates the re-dedication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. A candelabra called a Menorah is used to light a candle each night. Each night, a gift is also given. Different nights can be represented by different types of gifts. Like most holidays, there is much more to Hanukkah, and all of those details are extremely important. However, with our son being 10, we keep the explanations more simple for now and will get more into the thorough history later. We have a Menorah, and we light a candle each night during this time. Since he receives more than enough gifts during Christmas, we use each of the 8 nights to do something for someone else. It can be anything from buying a strangers dinner to giving to a toy drive. After we have completed the act for another, we come home and light the candle for that night.
No matter what you and your loved ones celebrate, it’s always good to learn about traditions that are important to others. I personally believe that it helps to teach our children how to respect the beliefs of others, which I think is a critical lesson in today’s world. There are many other holidays that you can learn about all year round. I hope that this gives you some tips on how to change things up and make the holidays interesting and inclusive for your family. Happy Holidays Everyone!