This holiday doesn’t haven’t to be business as usual if you are desirous of making it a season filled with good memories that will last a lifetime.
Here’s a few ways you can enhance your family’s holiday celebrations:
- Don’t plan something for every night. You don’t have to attend every Christmas party or every holiday program. Be very picky about the ones you say yes to and leave plenty of night to just sit around and watch Christmas movies or play games.
- Give at least one gift that has deep meaning. After you’ve asked your kids what’s on their wish list, take some time to think of one gift for each person that has real sentimental value. It doesn’t have to be home-made, but it should have significant meaning attached to it.
- Give the gift of an experience. The bulk of the presents for our kids the past two Christmases has been spent on a family vacation. Year one we went to a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and year two we went on a family cruise. This year we will be doing an all-inclusive long weekend at a St. Petersburg, Florida resort. This time together is the greatest gift we can give each other.
- Open your presents one by one. I was raised in a family where we took forever to open presents; while my husbands family opens them all at once and chaos ensues. The first time my kids (at the time they were 10,7,and 4) opened gifts with my side of the family, the present opening took four hours. I thought my kids were going to die of boredom, but later I learned that they loved the time. There was lots of laughter and it was a family even they’ve never forgotten. Now that my kids are grown, we still open gifts one by one by one. It’s a way of savoring our time together.
- Pick at least one tradition and do it forever. Whatever it is, don’t stop even when your kids get older. Hang on to it until they are old enough to carry it on with their kids.
- Take care of yourself. The holidays can be overwhelming for parents, but you are not doing your family any favors by neglecting yourself. Enjoy some holiday treats, but don’t throw all healthy choices out the window. Be sure to get your exercise and rest; taking care of yourself gives you the energy and health to really enjoy the celebrations of the season.
- Talk about the important stuff. Don’t get so caught up in the fluff of the holidays that you neglect the reason and the real spirit of the season. Whether it’s Hanukkah or Christmas, be sure your kids understand its true significance.
- Try one new thing every year. Whether it’s a recipe, game, movie, or soundtrack, try something you’ve never done before. You may discover a new tradition this way!
- Go caroling. Do they even do this anymore? Well, why not? Do it as a family and watch the smiles you will bring to people’s faces. It’s a tradition that needs to come back!
- Find someone to bless. When my kids were little, we used to pick a family to bless and sneakily drop a box of gifts off at their house without them seeing us. Whether you keep it a secret or not, the point is to show your kids the joy of giving and helping others. There are a ton of ways to do this: presents for the less fortunate, serving the homeless breakfast on Christmas morning, or helping a shut-in neighbor. You won’t have to look far to find someone who could use some holiday cheer!
Here’s to a holiday season that is full of sweet memories for you and your children!
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new booklet 11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.