Believe it or not, Thanksgiving has already come and gone. (Wait, did you blink and miss Halloween? Us too.) And with barely time to breathe—much less digest all of that food!—Americans have shifted focus from stuffing their turkeys to stuffing their Christmas stockings.
Now that the traditional Black Friday sales extend through Cyber Monday, holiday shopping mania is even more pervasive…and purchasing has become easier than ever. Rather than fight crowds at brick-and-mortar stores, more and more consumers are opting to shop online. The convenience is undeniably appealing; with a couple of clicks of your phone, you can have gifts at your door within the week. This year, Black Friday saw $6.22 billion in online sales, with more than $2 billion of that coming directly from smartphones.
When the dust settles and empty stockings, shredded wrapping paper, and discarded boxes litter the floors of homes across the country, Americans will have spent approximately $638 on gifts this holiday season. And a large chunk of this money will go toward purchases for children. Each year, consumer experts predict what the hottest gifts for kids will be, and parents scramble to purchase those items before they sell out. Remember the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1996? Or the famed Nintendo Wii shortage of the early 2000s? Yup. Holiday shopping can turn otherwise calm, functioning adults into crazed shopping zombies.
What Really Matters?
Just before Thanksgiving, a Google search for “best gifts for kids 2018” revealed…a lot of STUFF. Not one link suggested that what children really need goes beyond material things. (This is not too surprising, since Google and other search engines are fueled by advertising dollars.) But still…shouldn’t one of the primary messages in our culture (and especially around the holidays!) be about the truly important (and lasting) things we can give our kids: love, time, life lessons, encouragement…and really, really good memories?
At Kindermusik, we believe these important gifts can all come wrapped up in one thing: shared musical experiences. Singing and dancing with your children is a simple but powerful way to give love, joy, and quality time together. Research has shown that autobiographical memories are enhanced by music—so a shared musical experience is quite literally a gift that lasts a lifetime. Music also opens the pathways to language and math concepts and involves all domains of learning, from movement to cognition to healthy social-emotional development.
Investments That Sing
So how do you give the children in your life the gift of music? You can enroll them in music classes. You can share your own favorite childhood songs with them. And you can commit to including musical rituals in your family’s daily life. Kindermusik’s The Case for Music makes this easy.
Using refrigerator magnets as your roadmap and downloaded songs for each day of the week, you can make music and instrument play a joyful part of every day.
Start your morning with a catchy tune, (like Good Morning, Buenos Dias – listen below!), that will quickly imprint on your child’s memory, and keep the music going with other selections to enhance play time, nap time, eating time, and errands time. Infusing music into your child’s day is simple—and as cliched as it sounds, it’s truly a gift that keeps on giving.
So let’s make this holiday season about the important things—the gifts that come with minimal wrapping paper mess. The ones that fill the heart instead of the toy bin. The ones that have a lasting impact.
Wishing you and yours a season of health, happiness, love, and, of course, music.