This is the time of year when I always come back to my favorite family holiday story. I have told it many times, but feel it is worthy of repeating.
As a preteen in South Florida (note the Florida themed Christmas Tree in the photo above) my great-grandfather gave me Avon face powder for a holiday gift. Needless to say, I was disappointed by this gift. Instead of lecturing me about being ungrateful, or exchanging the powder for a different gift, my mother agreed that this was not a great gift for a girl my age. She suggested that perhaps there was a young woman somewhere that might not be getting gifts for the holidays who would appreciate this gift.
This was before the internet, Giving Trees, etc., and it took many phone calls for my mother to find an agency that was collecting gifts for needy families. We ended up “adopting” a family for the holidays. Our whole family picked out gifts for this family. This was a tradition we continued throughout my childhood, and a tradition I continued with my own children.
With the internet, Toys for Tots, Giving Trees… There are so many ways for children to become authentically engaged in the spirit of the holidays. Children can be given examples of ways to make the holidays special for others, can choose to engage in these activities/organizations, or come up with new authentic ideas.
Happy December! Happy Authentic Teaching!