Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Many families have set-in-stone holiday traditions that they celebrate every year. Others have specific expectations of dividing their time between different family members, with a fair amount of driving in between. Some families find joy in such rituals, while others have started to see the holiday season as a stressful burden.
Does your family need to rethink your holiday plans this year to move away from piles of presents and mountains of expectations? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
10 Ways to Streamline Your Celebrations
- Call a family meeting to openly discuss which traditions bring each family member the most joy.
- Emphasize family traditions and activities that promote togetherness, helping others, and the spirit of Christmas.
- Allow downtime by avoiding overscheduling.
- Say “No” to any and every commitment that bring stress or dread—and let go of the guilt for doing so.
- Prioritize physical needs like exercising, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.
- Make an affordable budget and stick to it.
- Give fewer gifts.
- Give intangible gifts such as charitable donations or the gift of your time.
- Follow your joy.
- Continue to allow your holiday traditions to evolve and change without guilt in each season of your family’s life.
How to Teach Kids the Spirit of Giving
- Ask your children to help you shop for Christmas gifts for a child in need who is their own age and gender through such programs as Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child.
- Ask your child to help you clean out cupboards and closets to donate food, toys and clothing to the less fortunate.
- Volunteer as a family to ring the Salvation Army bell in front of a grocery store, help feed the homeless through a local church or nonprofit, or serve others in another hands-on way.
- De-emphasize materialism and re-emphasize the spirit of togetherness and the spirit of giving. Avoid the stores and use that time instead to write Christmas letters to relatives, visit house-bound friends, host a gently used toy exchange, go Christmas caroling or bake cookies for the neighbors.
- Encourage random acts of kindness.
- Ask your kids how they would like to reach out to others this holiday season.
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