The turkey hunt – sharing values and joy with children at Christmas

Christmas is nearly here and those who celebrate are dashing around with errands. There are gifts to be bought, cookies to be made, school plays to attend and more all demanding your time and attention. At the same time, it is a season where we can reflect on the values and traditions of Christmas – giving, togetherness, and kindness. It can seem a challenge to keep these values central to our lived experience and a even greater challenge to figure out how to pass on these values to our children. Christmas is more than the latest game system or smartphone. Christmas is about family time and creating memories. I have no idea what Santa brought me for one particular Christmas in elementary school but I do remember “the turkey hunt”. My mother was making the holiday dinner and called me and my siblings and my father over. My father told us we were going to hunt the turkey and to get prepared. He had an ax and me and my sister gathered plastic whiffle ball bats. We traipsed out into the backyard and looked around making turkey calls. I am not sure we knew what a turkey call was so basically we were yodeling in the yard wielding weapons. We had a big pine tree whose boughs created a room in the middle of the yard. As we approached we could see a plastic-wrapped turkey. My dad hollered “Look, a butterball – get it” and we proceeded to pummel it with the whiffle bats. We then proudly carried that butterball into the kitchen to be prepared for dinner. Now, you don’t have to go quite as far as this but embrace your silly side and consider making a silly memory for the ages with your family. You remember the times in your life when you belly-laughed.   There are many ways you can create a holiday season of memories and experiences without going as far as a turkey hunt. Baking together is cherished holiday tradition for many. Talk about your grandmother as you bake her gingerbread. Google a recipe from the country of your family’s origin. Share treats with friends and neighbors. Crafting is also a fun activity for all ages. Pinterest abounds with directions for wreaths made of cut out handprints, dough or clay ornaments to bake in the oven, holiday cards and more. While the weather is cold and dreary sit inside and craft while sipping cocoa and listening to the Christmas channel on Spotify or Pandora.   Throughout the season slow down and create memories and times of togetherness. 

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