Making More Meaningful Memories

Making memories together is the best gift of all.

Making memories together is the best gift of all. Kelly Bryan Smith

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

  1. Call a family meeting to openly discuss which traditions bring each family member the most joy.
  2. Emphasize family traditions and activities that promote togetherness, helping others, and the spirit of Christmas.
  3. Allow downtime by avoiding overscheduling.
  4. Say “No” to any and every commitment that bring stress or dread—and let go of the guilt for doing so.
  5. Prioritize physical needs like exercising, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep.
  6. Make an affordable budget and stick to it.
  7. Give fewer gifts.
  8. Give intangible gifts such as charitable donations or the gift of your time.
  9. Follow your joy.
  10. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Ask your child to help you clean out cupboards and closets to donate food, toys and clothing to the less fortunate.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Encourage random acts of kindness.
  6. Ask your kids how they would like to reach out to others this holiday season.


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