Media Contact
Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

November 30, 2010

Helping Fathers Share the True Meaning of the Holiday Season with their Children

Commercialism is at an all time high and this holiday season producers and distributors of toys and sugary foods will be fighting for children’s attention online, in print and on television. Indeed, estimates indicate that $15 billion will be spent on advertising towards children in 2010. But what kids really want this holiday season, even more than expensive advertised gifts, is to spend quality time with their dads. According to a New American Dream poll, 57 percent of kids would rather do something fun with their mom or dad than go shopping. This December, Colorado dads are encouraged to avoid the rush to the mall and instead spend time with their children teaching them the true meaning of the holiday season.

“The most important gift you can give your children this holiday season is the gift of your time,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Children will remember the memories you create together much longer than any expensive gift will last.”

There are many free or low-cost activities that fathers can participate in with their children this season to make time together exciting and meaningful. With a little bit of planning, fathers can build stronger relationships and help their children understand the true meaning of the holidays. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

1. Arts and Crafts
Construction paper, scissors and glue can go a long way towards creating beautiful crafts and memories together. Need a few ideas?
• Create paper snowflakes to hang in windows and around the house.
• Count down the days until your favorite holiday by making a paper chain. This interactive calendar will help you spend a few minutes each day connecting with your children.
• Make your own holiday greeting or gift cards together.
• Make your own collection of ornaments or fun holiday snacks that children can give as gifts to family members or teachers.
• Does your child like to paint or draw? Frame a special picture you created together in a holiday themed frame and gift it to a loved one.
• Children can give the gift of their time. For example, write “load the dishwasher” or “set the table” on gift certificates that children can give to family members.
The opportunities are endless. For more ideas and how-to instructions visit the craft section of www.familyfun.go.com.

2. Around the House
You don’t have to travel far to build new memories and strengthen relationships.
• Spend some time cooking a favorite holiday recipe together.
• Decorate your home together. Hang ornaments or lights, arrange a nativity scene or bring out the Hanukkah dreidels.
• Weather permitting, head outside to make snowmen, have a snowball fight or go caroling.

3. Giving Back
Participating in service projects is a great way for fathers to connect with their children while also teaching them the importance of giving to others.
• Volunteer to serve a meal at a local soup kitchen.
• Collect and donate food or unwanted clothes to local food or clothing shelters.
• Volunteer your time at a local nursing home singing songs and telling holiday stories.

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.