There's a wonderful article by Charlotte Latvala where she outlines some awesome ideas for parents. Here are the basics:
- Use gratitude in your daily conversations. In my family, we would go around the table saying something we were thankful for.
- Use chores. By allowing our kids to help in chores they are more likely to appreciate efforts of others who are doing chores for them.
- Do a charity project. You can do something as simple as helping out a neighbor, it doesn't have to be large but as your kids grow the projects you choose can grow too. My family made bag lunches for the homeless and wrapped gifts at Family Giving Tree each year.
- Donate! Be generous! Have your kids donate their clothes and toys they grow out of. It's easier for us to pack them up and ship them out but resist the urge, have them participate
- Write Thank You notes. Each birthday and Christmas have your kids write hand-written notes to those who gave them gifts. For young ones it might be drawing a scribbled picture, for older ones it would be a nice thank you.
- Say "No". Our kids will appreciate our giving in to their requests more if we say no to plenty of their whims.
- Practice patience. Gratitude takes years of practice so we as parents need to practice patience and keep modeling for them.
I really liked Charlotte Latvala's ideas about how to get some of the greediness out of our holiday season. Here's a brief:
- Limit gift giving to family and close friends instead of everyone your kid knows.
- Space out gift opening. Some of our kids have lots and lots of presents. Spread out the opening throughout the day. You can also wait as each person opens one gift then move on to the next. It'll take longer for sure!
- Hold back some gifts. This is especially great for little ones who are overwhelmed with gifts from nice relatives and friends. Keep some for rainy days or trips.
- Downplay gifts. Make sure you celebrate the holidays in other ways - singing, making cookies, going to services, visiting relatives.
- Take them shopping. This is for gifts for OTHERS, not for themselves. Or have them hand make their gifts. Make sure to give gratitude to them when you receive them.