MamaBlogger365 – Pay Attention This Holiday Season by Jennifer Covello

The holidays are upon us once again. Soon everyone will be hustling and bustling through the stores shopping for gifts for the special people in their lives. Children will be writing out their Christmas lists in the hopes that Santa will shower them with all they have asked for. Parents will be trying to fit holiday preparations into their already jam-packed schedules.

My mailbox is already filling with catalogs and flyers encouraging me to shop now for the best bargains. I can’t help but think that this week’s “door busters” will be ousted by next week’s “lowest prices ever” forever tormenting me that no matter what great deal I think I got, that perhaps there was a better one.

Both of my children have made it easy for me this year. Their lists are completed and contain only a few items. The days of baby dolls and action figures are long gone and their lists are now filled with pricey electronic games, brand-name clothes, or the latest basketball shoe. And while I am grateful for the simplicity of it all, I can’t help but miss the days of shopping for the oodles of Little Tikes furniture and Transformers.

Like many working mothers, I spoiled my kids terribly at Christmas, buying nearly everything on their lists and more. In hindsight, this was clearly a mistake as I was in essence emphasizing the “gift” part of Christmas, as opposed to the “grateful” part.

How do we teach our children to be grateful? How do we show them how to pay attention to the little things that life has to offer? A warm hug. An ice-cream cone on a hot summer day. The abundance of food on the dinner tables. Is it through the over-used “there are children in this world who have nothing” phrase? Or perhaps the more famous phrase, “when I was your age.” Or is it by our example?

I typically get a chuckle out of my kids when I notice something beautiful in nature. Cloud formations, a tree displaying its fall colors, or even a little chipmunk scurrying along garner my attention these days. I never noticed these things before, or if I did, I paid little attention to them and I certainly didn’t point them out to my children. I was too busy going from one activity to the next, or rushing to/from work, or just simply, zoning out from a mind overrun with to-do lists. They were, well, just too busy to take note or see the value in these things that lack the pizzazz they have grown accustomed to.

I recall special moments celebrating Christmas with my family. Setting the dinner table. Preparing the cookie trays. Sharing stories. I’m remembering a family of eight on Christmas Eve opening gifts until the wee hours of the morning and then waking bleary-eyed on Christmas morning to prepare the house for the lavish holiday dinner. I remember seeing my exhausted mother dozing in her favorite chair after the day was done. Funny, I don’t remember any of the toys or other gifts I received. Just the love of a family.

This holiday season, perhaps rather than telling your children how grateful they ‘should be’ for all they have, I encourage you to show them, by pointing out the beauty in their worlds or appreciating their family. For all too soon, they will outgrow the toys and clothes, but teaching them to appreciate the simple things in their lives will add more meaning and depth to their journey, and to yours.

Happy Holidays to all.

Bio: Jennifer Covello is the owner and founder of Frittabello, LLC, a baby gift business. Ms. Covello has authored and published an award-winning baby journal, “My Life” and a children’s book, “Frittabello and his Angel.” Her products can be purchased online or in various upscale retailers in Fairfield County, CT. Ms. Covello created and sponsors Bumps, Babies & Beyond baby expo.

To fulfill her mission to help moms, Jennifer offers “Put Your Love on Paper” baby journaling workshops for parents to start and finish their baby journals, recently featured on Better CT. Additionally, she facilitates “Moms to Mompreneurs” workshops which assist moms who want to start a business.

Jennifer is a frequent contributor to various online magazines including “Natural Nutmeg” and “Tots to Teens”. She was also a contributing author to “Moms to Motherhood”, a Gratitude Project book and a mommy blogger for Working Woman Magazine.

She has been featured on local and regional radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate to mompreneur as a single, full-time working parent.

Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She is active in her local school system, having served on numerous committees focusing on the improvement of special education services. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.

Jennifer resides in Norwalk, CT with her two children.

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