Christmas and the winter holidays are perhaps the most heavily commercialized time of year for both parents and children. Mega-sales, stores open 24 hours and great deals can be had during November and December which can be tempting for everyone to go overboard with the physical aspects of buying things for the holidays.
While modern holidays have a certain marketing behind them, it is important to have a balance of “stuff” but to also remember why holidays exist in the first place. Buying things is an important tradition in American holidays. It also is important to make spending time with family based on emotional aspects of holidays and not physical ones.
When you buy stuff for holidays such as Halloween costumes, fireworks for July 4th or Easter eggs for the spring it is important to have quick lessons about why these things revolve around certain holidays.
For instance, fireworks are all about making noise around the 4th of July. Original Independence Day celebrations revolved around ringing bells and shooting off cannons. Since modern day Americans can’t shoot off cannons in huge cities, we’ve replaced them with fireworks.
Parades and music are also more traditional forms of celebrations for Independence Day. In addition to setting off fireworks of your own at night, attending a local celebration may also be in order. Consider reading the Declaration of Independence with your kids and have a minor history lesson.
Meanings of Holidays
Other holidays also have obvious commercial marketing but have deeper meanings. Easter is all about new life and spring, hence eggs, bunnies and chickens. Depending upon your religious preferences you can go as deep as you want to explain modern meanings behind holidays.
Even Christian holidays have pagan roots. Consider comparing modern day Christian Easter to celebrations of pagan Ostara. The root word is the same and refers to spring and fertility. Christians of course celebrate Easter as the principal holiday of the rebirth of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The meaning of new life and hope “springing eternal” every year goes back to farmers who would begin planting crops in ancient times before Christ. Animals would start to come out and lay eggs, give birth and new life would come out after winter hibernation. Just like Christ came out of his winter and was reborn, new life comes out and is resurrected in the warmer spring season.
Keep spiritual or even biological and scientific lessons as to why holidays happen. Easter always happens at the beginning of spring so you can focus on the spring equinox instead of religious meanings. Explain why the earth has seasons or how humans develop holidays as religious observances. There are many ways to explain holidays irrespective of religious dogma.