Growing Gratitude in Your Kids at Christmas


12 Days of Christmas Parenting

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! This time last year, I posted a holiday blog tour called: “The 12 Days of Christmas Parenting”  on the blogs some of my favorite people. This year, I’ll be posting those articles on my blog for those who either missed it last year – or need a reminder for some practical ways to lead your kids during this busy season!

I’ll share tips for parents on how to navigate the difficult traps of the holidays, and create moments with life long impact. We’ll talk about 12 ideas to combat ingratitude, selfishness and impatience — and encourage generosity in your children, especially through the holidays.

Today’s post originally appeared on the Catalyst blog. This amazing group seeks to ignite and unite the next generation of leaders allowing their passions and gifts to flourish, and have maximum impact in our churches and culture. They hold an annual conference every October that I have attended since it began.




Not too long ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving. This is the time when many parents work vigorously to get their kids to “count their blessings” when really, they’re consumed with food, cousins and video games. So how do we cultivate generosity at Christmas time?

It would be easy to become very cliché and even cheesy at this point, to merely talk about what we’re thankful for and promise to be more grateful. I think the best way to generate gratitude is to go without something. We never appreciate something fully until we don’t have it.

Try this.

Sit down with your kids and talk over the idea of gratitude. Together, choose a day that week where every member in the family goes without any drinks. None. No soft drinks, lemonade or water. (I know that sounds extreme, but I just did this not too long ago as a dad.) No doubt, everyone will be thirsty by the end of the day… if not before.

Plan a little gathering before bedtime and talk over how each of you felt. Discuss when it was toughest for you during the day to not sneak to the refrigerator and grab a Gatorade. Then, visit the website for Charity Water. They are a non-profit organization that provides water to communities around the world that don’t have clean drinking water. Forget Coke or Dr. Pepper — many don’t even have water! Do you realize that almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water? Unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation causes 80% of all diseases and kills more people than all forms of violence, including war.

Now, decide what your family can do to help those who have no clean drinking water to get some. You will notice on the website that $20 provides clean water for one person, for twenty years. Talk about what each family member can do to chip in and help.

Then — talk about the little things in our life that we take for granted every day — like water — and choose one action each of you will take to express your gratitude for that gift from God.

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) 

How can you cultivate gratitude in your kids at Christmas?

Growing Gratitude in Your Kids at Christmas