When we were kids, my siblings and I got birthday presents and holiday presents. There were no name days, half-birthdays, end-of-school/start-of-school celebrations or other random holiday gift giving throughout the year.

It was a simpler time, with simpler things and simpler pleasures.

Today, however, kids (and adults) simply expect more. We are living in an age where we have the world at our fingertips and unprecedented access to “things” that make our life seemingly fuller.

As parents, it is more important than ever to redirect children’s attention away from the barrage of advertisements that exploit their desire for toys and games and teach them that Christmas, Hanukah and other holiday celebrations are times for generosity, not greed.

One way is to engage your children in activities that demonstrate the true spirit of the season. Teach them how to enjoy the “presence” more than the “presents.” Prioritize family activities that savor your family’s holiday spirit and traditions: open holiday cards together and share special thoughts about the sender; sing favorite songs of the season and share memories of holidays past while baking or decorating. Leave the dishes in the sink and your emails unopened and simply enjoy the time to connect with your children during gift-wrapping.

If we want to help our children develop realistic expectations and an attitude of gratitude, we must help them appreciate the beauty in giving not getting, and most importantly, to realize that it is not “things” that will satisfy their yearnings and make their holidays meaningful, but the love, connection, creativity and spirit of generosity that accompanies the exchange.

That’s one of the greatest gifts you can give another person.

From our family to yours, we at Weiss Pediatric Care wish you and your family a very merry, and meaningful, holiday season.