Our kids are a beautiful mixture of fragility and resilience. Here are 10 tips to keep them and your home joyful this holiday season.
- Slow down. One of the biggest mistakes we make is trying to cram too much into the month of December. Prioritizing family time spent building family traditions is a gift that can’t be returned.
- Pair back. Part of rushing through the holiday is the idea of “what ELSE” you should be doing at any moment: making 4 dozen cookies for the cookie swap, ordering the Ugly Sweater for the office party, donating gloves to the local school, the list could be endless. Find the things that give you satisfaction this season and really put yourself into them and let everything else go.
- Be Mindful. When you identify those satisfying things, really enjoy them. No. I mean REALLY enjoy them. Stay focused on what’s in front of you and watch your kids follow suit.
- Let your kids be the cruise director. Everyone is dressed in festive attire, you get to the neighborhood potluck with your signature faro salad in hand and not a second after you put it on the table, your oldest announces he has a headache and wants to go home. It’s a tough call that only you can make, but when you honor your children and respect their views, they appreciate it. Call it a shorter evening and head home for some eggnog on the couch.
- Emphasize giving. My kids forgot about the sketchbook and artist’s pencils they got for Christmas last year but still remember giving my parents the inflatable bass from 4 years ago. Kids want to feel the same warm feelings that we do when we find the perfect gift. To that point…
- Debunk “perfect”. There is too much pressure these days to be perfect. There’s a real disappointment kids feel when they don’t have a BEST. DAY. EVER. every day. Embrace imperfect cookies, a crooked tree or using birthday candles because you didn’t restock the Hanukkah candles from last year.
- Have a SOULFUL celebration. You don’t have to be religious to find deep meaning this time of year. Seasons change, family from out of town visit and days are darker. In the quiet comfort of your home, embrace your roots. Emphasizing cultural practices, according to author Amy Chua, gives children a grand sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. And that leads to success in the long run.
- Embrace your kids’ “other” family. For children in bi-nuclear homes, it can be hard for some parents to watch their kids make amazing memories without them. While in a perfect world where your kids would be with you for all the important days, your children’s journey is a different path. Embracing their world as it is positions you as an ally, not as an adversary. So, while the kids are gone, enjoy the fact that you can go to that neighborhood potluck and stay as late as you want.
- Enjoy a silent night. Make sure you take 10 minutes before bed to meditate yourself into a calm, present place. Keeping up with the Joneses just means that you’ll be doing a lot of running.
- Enjoy the magic. This is a time of year like no other. Take a note from Mary Poppins to find the magic in everything you do and it will find you.