When we look back on our fondest memories of Christmas past, it is probably not the perfectly trimmed tree and beautifully wrapped gifts that we most remember. It is rather those joyously happy, splendidly unplanned moments that were ripe with laughter (or tears,) family, friends and fun. It is the time spent helping others, connecting with those we love and embracing the good cheer of the festivities.
As the holiday fast approaches, it’s so easy to get caught up in the crazed busyness. Many of us have fallen victim to the pressures and pulls of the holiday chaos all around us, only to find that we have missed the entire meaning and joyousness of this special time. The gifts we cherish most are not the most expensive, but the most meaningful. The memories we hold dear are those filled with laughter and light.
Some suggestions to get the most out of your holiday:
Create Traditions – Whether it’s caroling or making snowmen, crafting gingerbread houses or baking cookies, volunteering or reading as a family it becomes so much more special if you make it a tradition. It’s often the simple things that are the most fun. Ask your children or family what they enjoy. Some of my children’s favorite traditions: Christmas layer cookies and wassail while we decorate the tree, answering questions from “The Christmas Conversation Piece” book, watching The Polar Express and the Grinch as a family and opening one gift on Christmas Eve.
Schedule Down-Time – Be selective about which social functions you attend. And don’t try to fit in too many family activities. Even well intended choices can become stressful if you don’t leave some time to unwind and just be together. I really cherish those evenings when we sit in front of the Christmas tree in our pajamas playing a game or watching Christmas movies.
Don’t Break the Bank – The biggest stress of the season can be the credit card bills that hit the mailbox in January. Don’t get tripped up by unrealistic spending. Stick to budget that you can handle, save ahead of time if you can and don’t make the mistake of thinking more expensive is better.
Forget Martha – I am not Martha Stewart and neither are you. Forget about perfection. Forget about making 12 kinds of cookies, expecting your home to look like a magazine and finding the perfect present for everyone on your list. Reality check. Martha has an entire crew to help her create and those homes in magazines are staged by professionals. Oh and those people on television who are always so elated with their gifts…they’re actors…
Have Fun – Most importantly don’t forget to have fun! Throw snowballs, make a snowman, dance and sing to your holiday favorites or visit Santa. Do whatever brings you joy and makes you feel like a kid again.
Make this the best holiday season ever!
What do you enjoy? Care to share a holiday favorite?