GoodLifeFamilyMag.com NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2015 21 The holidays are just around the corner and that means its time to celebrate our love for Walt Disney Apple electronics and Wii games. Waittheres something wrong with that statement Arent holidays really supposed to be about family and friends Shared experiences Perhaps a time to reflect on life And how about an opportunity to express gratitude for that which you already have The answer of course is yes. But try telling that to your wistful children whose gift lists are as long as the Magna Carta and whose friends are all getting the latest fill-in-the-blank. How do par- ents navigate around the fact that we do live in a material world yet successfully teach children to be more about giving than receiving Mary Sanger a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and FounderCEO of Insights Collaborative Therapy Group in Dallas thinks it begins with family traditions. Family traditions give a sense of cultural or religious identity and heritage Sanger says. They communicate a familys belief system and teach what the familys val- ues are. Traditions also provide kids with a strong foun- dation to stand on when theyre searching for their own identity and sense of self grounding and connecting them to family over many generations. Traditions are a stable force against outside pressures to conform to the materialistic society in which we live. Yes children are going to ask for things. And its both fun and rewarding to watch them unwrap a few pres- ents. But overindulging rarely pays off and instead can create unrealistic expectations and a lack of gratitude. Instead of showering children with gifts indulge them with your time. Spending time together as a family facilitates kids getting outside of themselves being in relationships with others having wholesome fun and doing something for people they care about Sanger says. This year help your kids bring the focus of the holi- days onto togetherness and family traditions both old and new. Without a doubt youll create special mem- ories that will last them a lifetime unlike last years video game. Living in a Material World THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY TRADITIONS by Kristin Cicciarelli Contributor IDEAS FOR CREATING NEW FAMILYTRADITIONS Salvation Army Adopt an Angel Tree Giving opportu- nities like these are in nearly every shopping center school and religious institution soon after Thanksgiving. Set the date when your family will choose an ornament from the tree and then shop together for a child in need. Reading Night Choose an evening where everyone sits down together and one person reads a short holiday themed book or passage. Take turns each year on the reader and dont forget the hot chocolate marshmallows and maybe a roaring fire in the fireplace. Be Charitable Whether you choose to bake cookies for a charity volunteer your service at a soup kitchen or take up a collection for a monetary donation include the kids in your ac- tivities. Theres no better teaching example than doing. Light the Candles or Trim the Tree Together Just because teens and tweens have busy social calendars doesnt mean Mom and Dad need to schlep out all the holiday dcor while their offspring are at the movies. Kids enjoy seeing the house decorated for the holidays so let them be a part of the process. Food Related Traditions Food provides a wonderful op- portunity to celebrate your familys heritage bring a sense of culture into your traditions or simply gather for nourishment and pleasure. Whether you incorporate Grandmas elaborate biscuit recipe into the big meal or takeout from your kidsfavor- ite and pricey restaurant serve something that you wouldnt serve on a regular day. It will give all of you something to look forward to each and every holiday. For more information about Insights Therapy Group or Mary Sanger M.A. LPC-SLMFT-S LCDC visit www.insightstherapy.com.