This is a big week for December holidays. We're in the middle of Las Posadas, Hanukkah begins on the 24th, Christmas Day is on the 25th, and Kwanzaa begins on the 26th.
Each holiday has many lessons worth sharing with your child for better understanding of other cultures, religions, and a common goal to be kind and respectful to others. I have identified one for each holiday, but invite you to share your favorite lessons in the comments below.
When you're in need, ask for help. Not everyone will help you, but the people who do are worth remembering and thanking.
Las Posadas honors the journey of Mary and Joseph the night Jesus was born, when they asked many strangers for shelter. While most could or would not help them, the people who allowed them to stay in their manger showed the family great kindness.
Teach your child that it doesn't hurt to ask for help, and to never give up if in need. Always thank those who show him or her kindness and offer help. In return, provide help to those in need whenever possible.
Patience and faith will be rewarded.
Families light one candle each night for eight days during Hanukkah, which commemorates the Maccabee miracle when one day's worth of oil lasted eight days. After those eight days, the Jewish people were able to rededicate their holy temple.
When your child is impatient or struggles with doing the right thing because it is more difficult, remind him or her that patience and faith will be rewarded and it is better to have faith than lose it.
Giving to others is the best gift for the world.
Christians exchange gifts on Christmas just as the three wise men brought gifts to Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus. They also give to emulate Jesus' charity throughout his life and death.
Teach your child that giving to those you care about demonstrates love and thanks, and giving to strangers in need demonstrates a caring and charitable spirit.
Celebrate your heritage.
As families and cultures merge, hold on to traditions from your family's past and teach them to your child. Just as each day of Kwanzaa focuses on a principle that is part of the African heritage, you can focus on your family's culture and history, whether it's an African, European, Asian, South American, or Native American. Teach your child about his or her ancestors and what they overcame to live their life and have a family that led to your family today.