Everybody loves the holidays. With friends and family around, food and fun and parties to go to, how could you not? Well, when you put a ton of pressure on yourself to outdo last holiday season, or what the neighbors are doing, you might put a damper on it for yourself.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your family at holiday time is to create special memories. This probably won’t involve big, expensive gifts. Rather, the fondest memories most people have of childhood holidays is time spent sitting by the fireplace drinking hot cocoa, or playing Go Fish with grandma, or making cookies or homemade greeting cards to send to loved ones.
When you are planning your family’s holiday season, take time to plan for moments when memories can be made that will last a lifetime. Here’s how:
• Practice the well-loved and age-old tradition of making cookies as a family. You can do this with your immediate family or invite grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins and really make it a big to-do. Allow your children to help. They love to decorate with icing and sprinkles. Yes, it’s messy, but your kids will remember it fondly.
• Make gifts. As a family, you can each make gifts for each other. Instead of spending tons of money, encourage everyone to get creative. Your children can make artwork, crafts; even sing a song as a gift.
• Help others. There are always ways to participate in food drives and other charitable activities around the holidays. Show your kids that it’s not only nice to help others, but it can be fun, too.
• Tell/read holiday stories. Gather everyone together and read or tell stories that are a part of your holiday tradition. Purchase a storybook, for example, The Night Before Christmas, with wonderful illustrations and read it to your kids with real excitement. They’ll love it!
• Make a big deal out of decorating. Most people enjoy decorating at holiday time. You can make it a fun family affair by playing holiday music, setting out some special cookies or treats and all decorating together. You can even let the kids have their own area to decorate – like the holiday tree, or the front entrance or the mantle. Don’t forget to take photos.
When it’s all said and done, most gifts aren’t remembered through the years, although of course, some very special ones might be. More often, it’s the time spent with family and friends, the laughter and the togetherness.
The beautiful thing about this is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get great results. Children are thrilled with baking, cooking, singing, creating, decorating and hanging out with mom and dad.
Take them out and help them build a snowman – they’ll love it. Show them what a great feeling it is to help others, or to see someone’s smile when they open a handmade gift, made with love by your child.
These are the things that make the holiday season so special. Take lots of photos and give lots of hugs. Your kids will remember family holidays as some of the very best times of their lives, and so will you.