The cross : How to preserve the magic of Christmas in the eyes of children in this context of health crisis?
Nicole Prieur: This year we will all have a special Christmas and it seems important to me to turn this situation into something positive to show the children that the spiritual sense, the moral sense, even, of this holiday takes precedence over the morbidity. Since we cannot meet, to protect each other – especially the elders – and to observe societal guidelines, we must ensure that this crisis reinforces the Christmas message which is not only to love each other, but also and, above all, to respect each other.
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We tend to forget that before the exchange of gifts, Christmas is a holiday that carries the promise of mutual respect and otherness. Children should be reminded that by temporarily losing the physical bond, we do not lose the powerful bond that connects us to members of our family.
How can we help them to show their affection for their grandparents, their cousins, or even their parent in blended families from a distance?
NP : New technologies (Zoom, Skype, Teams … NLDR) make it possible to call each other, to share a meal together or to party remotely. They are extraordinary tools, but it is also essential to take the time to prepare for this feast as we do during the Advent period. Parents can encourage children to draw pictures, create things with their own hands to show their love for family members. It is a stronger message than a simple kiss because the child invests and spends time making his gift. A time during which he thinks about the person to whom he is going to offer it.
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This health crisis is disrupting our relationship to time. We do not know what tomorrow will bring and yesterday seems very distant. When we see people kissing on TV, we feel like this is from another time. So you have to prepare, give back time to time and have perspectives. Let us remind the children that nothing will prevent us from reuniting, having a new family celebration, a new New Year, a little later, as soon as possible, and that we will enjoy it even more than before.
Should we spoil the children more to compensate for the gloomy environment?
NP : It is especially advisable to spoil them “better”. With older children, in particular, we can help them choose a single gift, explaining to them that it would be a little indecent to ask for a lot when more and more people find themselves in precariousness with this crisis. We must think together about what will really make them happy so that they better understand the meaning of gifts and that they free themselves from the commercial dimension of Christmas.
The little ones, on the other hand, can be made to believe in Santa Claus. They need it, it’s a myth that we share together. This year, parents may be able to add a staging of circumstances by telling them that Santa Claus will wear a mask. If the family is in the habit of leaving him a little chocolate, for example, to give him strength, they can add a little hydroalcoholic gel so that it does not infect anyone … Through these small gestures of support, this tis a message of hope that we send to children. We will help Santa Claus. He will get there. And U.S. too. Let’s keep the Christmas spirit and make this holiday a joyous time to get out of the current gloom.