I spent this past Saturday and Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel near the World Arena in Colorado Springs. 

Sponsored by the Ecumenical Social Ministries, the Festival of Trees Family Fun Days was a many-splendored event.

In the main ballroom dozens of vendors with beautiful tables filled with amazing items provided gift-giving purchase opportunities to the people strolling by.

Gaily decorated Christmas trees were displayed and offered for sale.

 

Ornaments on the Crayola Tree...a hit with every child!

 

Santa-land had volunteers doing awesome craft projects with the children…and kids had the opportunity to meet Santa, as well as the Grinch who stole Christmas.

Hundreds of door prizes had been donated by area businesses and the Ecumenical Social Ministries volunteers called out names every half hour…centerpieces, candles, hand-made quilts and gift certificates for free meals at local restaurants were among the wonderful prizes awarded to the lucky recipients.   When my name was called, I was thrilled!  My prize…the most beautiful handmade Christmas quilt.

On-going live entertainment added to the up-beat party-like atmosphere and we enjoyed bell choirs, drum groups, singers, dancers and more.  The entertainment alone was worth the $5 per person entry fee…children 12 years old and under got in for free!

I had a wonderful time at the Show-Me-How table…talking to parents and children about building self-esteem and literacy skills with picture books and how easy it is to spend a little quality time with your child…reading, crafting and cooking.  Parents who picked up my book were impressed with how many activities it provides.  They loved the easy-to-use format with the picture book summary and parenting tip on the left and the quick craft and child-friendly recipe on the right.

Speaking with hundreds of people in a two-day period can be somewhat exhausting, even when you are passionate about the subject.  I’d like to share some of my reflections and observations.

  • There are lots of parents out there who really care about their children.
  • Many parents are doing an awesome job of teaching their children important skills, such as saying “Thank you” when someone gives you something.  We were giving a free gift to every child who stopped by the table…a fancy new pencil and a bookmark.  I was impressed with the parent who told her child, “You need to look at the lady when you say thank you.” 
  • I fear we are moving away from a time when a child would be excited about receiving something new…no matter how small.  Most of the children were delighted to come over and pick the pencil of their choice…but a few shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads…perhaps if I had been offering an iPad they might have thought it was a worthwhile gift.
  • It doesn’t matter how beautiful or uplifting the atmosphere…some people will always bring their negative attitude to a situation.  I don’t know whether you will want to laugh or to cry when you read this.  I chatted a moment with a woman who stopped at the table to look at the book and after I told her that the book had quick and easy activities to help build self-esteem and literacy skills, she replied, “I’m already an excellent parent!”  To me, that is kind of sad…I know how to cook, but that doesn’t mean I will never look at another cookbook in my life or enjoy getting a new recipe from a friend.  And I’m always excited when someone gives me a new approach to teaching or a fresh tip on parenting.  Life is a journey of constant learning and we need to be open to acquiring knowledge, even on subjects we may have expertise.  Another woman looked at the book and when I said it’s for anyone involved in the care and education of young children, she replied, “I hate children…this is definitely not the book for me!”  I guess not. :}

If, however, you think this might be the book for you…or you know anyone who might enjoy having 100 picture book recommendations, each paired with a quick and easy craft project and a simple child-friendly healthful recipe, please pass along the information.  Show Me How! available on my website: $19.95 for a brand-new copy…and personally inscribed for the holidays if you wish!  After observing the children at the Festival of Trees event and those of friends and family, I can tell you that many children have too much STUFF already…they don’t need the latest toy or gadget.  What they do need is their parents’ time and attention!  Buy the book and give them the gift of your positive parental participation that will last forever.

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Tags: Ecumenical Social Ministries, Festival of Trees, Holiday Gifts, Parenting, Show Me How

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