The holidays are a joyous time that should be spent celebrating and making memories with your children and family, but for many parents it is also the most stressful time of year. Here are some helpful tips to remind you of how to keep things simple, memorable, and hopefully more enjoyable for you and your children.
The Reason for the Season
Whatever your beliefs, remember the true meaning behind the holidays. Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only time to be thankful for all your blessings. Year-end and all holidays are a time to focus on your spirituality, create traditions, give-back, and make special memories with the ones you love. Remember that your children won’t remember the gifts they received later in life, but they will remember the traditions you created and how those made them feel. Simple things to consider: baking together, putting up decorations, volunteering, taking a family portrait, and many more are inexpensive ways to create holiday traditions and memories that are lasting and priceless.
Keep it Simple
The Holidays don’t have to be expensive or ornate. If putting up decorations seem like a chore to you, or if baking is not your thing – simply don’t do them! Don’t feel pressured to do things just because others are, or it seems like it should be done. And don’t create such a busy schedule that you can’t enjoy the time you have together. Search for free activities in your area like visiting a street with spectacular lights, go see a holiday parade, or make a craft together. Don’t feel the need to do everything. Pick one or two things that you find meaningful, and do them together. Remember quality time always beats out quantity.
Make vs. Buy
Remember the feeling you had when someone gave you a hand-made gift? Give that same feeling to your family and loved ones by looking for gifts you can make versus buying them. With all the awesome Do-it-Yourself resources like Pinterest and HGTV, look for things you might already have that you can turn into something special and turn into a gift. My mom and I recently made holiday wreaths from the dead grapevines in our backyard. After a bit of research, about $30 at a hobby store and an hour on a Sunday, we made six beautiful holiday wreaths to give away as gifts to our family. Not only did we create a thoughtful gift, but we also started a new tradition together. Find something you already have that you can turn into something special and I guarantee the joy you feel giving it will be just as good as the person feels who receives it.
Give Experiences vs. Things
Things come and go, but giving the gift of memorable experiences lasts a lifetime. Instead of shopping for material items, think of experiences you can give your children that you can do together.
Orange County has a plethora of fun and inexpensive things you can do together such as visiting the zoo and children’s museums and play areas. Or families can plan a day trip on Amtrak to Los Angeles or South to San Juan Capistrano or further South to San Diego. These are just a few ideas and will be gifts you can plan and look forward to after the holidays.
If you still want them to unwrap a gift, find a small box or bag and put in a card, tickets, and/or souvenir from the location you’re going so they can open it and have something tangible to represent that experience. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures!
Find Meaning through Giving
Teaching your children from an early age about giving back is priceless, and a wonderful gift you can provide them. Whether it is volunteering at a Raise Food Distribution, adopting a Raise family-in-need or donating to their Basic Needs Drive, the feeling your family will feel when giving back will make it all worth it. Nothing creates a grateful heart more than giving back, and creating that experience for your family will be cherished forever.
Most importantly, remember that your children feel your energy, so take care of yourself first. Make time to rest, relax, eat healthy, exercise, slow down and do what makes you happy to create the experience you want this holiday season. With these reminders and just a little planning and preparation, a happy and relaxed holiday is in store for you. Enjoy!