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Helping Hands and Warm Hearts - Give Thanks this Holiday Season

Posted Nov 07 2008 12:23pm

“Mom, why is that woman crying?”  I took the newspaper from him and looked at the front page picture of a woman crying and another woman hugging her. I looked at the caption of the article stating that the woman’s apartment had caught fire and all their personal possessions had been destroyed.  As I explained this to my eight-year old son, we both took a long look at the toys scattered around our front room.  It was a time for both of us to give thanks.

I have always thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas as a time of friends, family, wonderful food and presents.  I admit, I am the first one to run for the turkey and I can yell louder about presents than my five year old.  However, as I’ve gotten older and a little wiser, I’ve learned to develop an attitude of gratitude which is something I hope to pass on to my children.

Experiences which have helped me:
During Thanksgiving, we try and take a moment to express thanks for something we appreciate about each other.  The rules of this game are that you must be sincere and you cannot say anything negative. My daughter did this with her teenage friends at church and she came home with a big smile on her face and a thankful feeling for her friend’s kind comments.

Last Christmas a friend of mine organized her children to collect items for the local women’s shelter.  She made it a neighborhood event, posting flyers and hosting an open house where people dropped off their donated goods.  She even served hot chocolate.  Not only is she protecting her children from the commercialism of Christmas, she is showing them that Christmas is a time to think about others.

I recently asked my children to be more polite when leaving the dinner table by saying “excuse me” and “thank you.”  I believe that just saying the words “thank you” creates a more thankful feeling, inside and out.  I also like to be thanked for the effort I put into preparing a delicious family dinner.

I like to regularly express gratitude to my husband for how hard he works to keep me home.  I’ve been a stay at home Mom for fifteen years and that is largely due to his hard work and determination.  When I openly express my thanks, my children see an example of a thankful person.

At Christmas it is our family tradition to help someone in need.  Sometimes our church or a local store sponsors an angel tree.  Paper angels are hung on the tree and the name of a child or adult who needs a Christmas present is written on the back with a short description of the item that they need. As a family we choose angels off the tree and make the purchases. We then return them to the organization to be given to those who are in need.  This allows my children to experience the joy of giving and detracts them from the greed of getting.

This holiday season, create memories with your loved ones and take time to say thank you for all the joy they add to your life. Family and friends make life complete. My Mom is getting older and one day I decided to call her and just thank her for all the wonderful things she has done for me.  It was a very emotional moment as I realized that I may not have much more time with her.  I also realized that I would never be the person I am today without her.  Thanks Mom, so much for everything.

Happy Thanksgiving and all the best from us here at Child n’Parent.

By Debby Hoffer

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