Here we are. December.
It should be the most wonderful time of the year. Yet so many of our families are over scheduled, tired and stressed out. We head into January exhausted, missing out on the real meaning of the season.
It can seem as though there is so much to get done. But all that “stuff” can actually keep us from the wonderful holiday season we dream of. Here are four tips to help make all your dreams come true this holiday season.
1. Identify Your Vision
Take a few minutes by yourself, to write down what you want for your family this holiday season. If you could have the ideal December, what would it look like? Think through your traditions and activities and how you spend your time. Imagine an ideal and then put that on paper.
It is so easy for all of the requests and parties and activities to take over and keep us from actually enjoying our time together as a family. We all fight it. We look around and see all the things other families are doing and think, “We need to do that too”. Really we don’t.
Trying to do too much actually keeps us from spending any quality time with our families at all. And rushing and multitasking actually keep us from our goals. Not to mention, seeing all the wonderful ideas online can become a distraction and stress, making us feel like we have to do EVERY tradition and make every recipe.
Establish your vision. Do away with traditions that are not making your family stronger. Commit to fill your family holiday time with those things that bring you closer together.
2. Create a tradition that helps you spend time together each and every day.
We want to do this every day of the year, but especially during this magical month, make it a goal to spend time together each and every day. Design a tradition or ritual that happens every day, so you guarantee that the season doesn’t take over your family life.
For us, we have an advent calendar that has a different scripture reference to read each night coupled with an activity. They are not long. It only takes a few minutes, but it guarantees that our family will sit together for at least 10 minutes each night. It gives us a chance to put everything away for just those few minutes to be a family.
We should have these every day of the year, but during this holiday season, instead of letting the demands take over, plan family time into your life and make sure it happens.
3. Go easy on the gifts.
Gifts are great, but they can also take away from the sprit of the season. Consider cutting back. Even taking some of the money you would spend on gifts and instead, put it towards a family vacation, or a night out together as a family.
Research actually shows that what we do together as family, specifically, family vacations and activities, mean more and have a longer lasting impact on our children than gifts. Which means the camping trips will make for better memories than the new skateboard or Wii game. It really isn’t about the gifts. It is about our time together.
4. Let go of perfection, it’s a family affair.
This one is really hard for me. I want things to look a certain way, so I have a hard time letting the kids help with things. For example, the ornaments on the tree have to be evenly distributed. Positioned a certain way. Right? You know what I mean. But when I let the kids help, that doesn’t always happen and I find myself sneaking back down to the tree to rearrange when they are asleep.
When I don’t let anyone else help, because I want things to be perfect, I give myself more work and exclude my family from making memories. Which goes against everything I want for the holiday season.
So what if there are two snowmen ornaments on the same side of the tree. So what if the frosting on the cookies isn’t perfect. What is more important, the frosting, or the memories our family makes as we frost together? Let it go and let your family get involved. It will lighten your load and bring you closer to one another.
This time of year is meant to be most wonderful. Time to get back to basics and really remember the reason for the season.
What is your favorite tradition to do with your family?
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