If there was a theme song that could sum up what the inside of your house looks like right now, what would it be? For our family of nine, our theme song would be It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas.
Stockings are hung and day by day our house becomes more adorned with the look, sound, and feel of Christmas. Even if you are not one to get into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the crazy chaos of it is going on all around you.
I mean, everywhere you look there is something reminding you that the holiday season is upon you. With so much going on, how do you ensure that your family has a December to remember? Here’s what we do…
D – Decide early how you are going to celebrate
Regardless of the holiday you celebrate, it is important for you to sit down with your family and decide how you are going to celebrate. Make sure your children understand the significance of the holiday(s) you are celebrating will add to their enjoyment and participation.
E – Embrace your children being home
December is the time of the year when your children are home from school the longest. Think about what it was like when you were their age. Embrace their joy, excitement and epic sense of adventure. Ask them how they would like to make it a December to remember. And listen to them; don’t be so quick to say no to some of the crazy things they might say. The words fun, fiasco and family go hand in hand.
C – Consider doing something for someone else
Ever since our children were old enough, we have tried to teach them that Christmas is less about receiving gifts, but more about giving to others. What does that look like?
- We create Winter Wonder packs for the homeless. In an assembly line, we pack gloves, socks, toiletries and hats. This is something that even our four-year-old does. When the packs are finished, my husband and older children drop them off at a local shelter. They love it.
- When we make our Christmas lists, we divide them into four sections: want, need, read, seed. Their seed section is filled with items that they want to give away.
- Also, we understand that for some people the holiday season can be very lonely, depressing and not very jolly. So, we create opportunities for people who might be alone for the holidays to come to our home to share the love and feel wanted.
E – Educate yourself and your family about a tradition that is different than yours
Consider learning about someone else’s holiday tradition or a holiday that you don’t celebrate. You can do this by doing a family research project or simply asking your friends, neighbors or coworkers how they spend the holidays. You may even be inspired to incorporate a part of someone else’s tradition in your home.
M – Make memories
Understanding just how precious life is, I want to make our holidays less about giving and receiving “things” and more about giving the gift of time. I am not saying that we should not buy the toys that will break, the clothes that will be soiled or outgrown, or the gift cards that may be lost. However, things can be replaced, but people can’t. Quality time is the gift that keeps on giving, and we should find ways to make the most of it with those we value and love the most.
B – Be in the moment; be intentional
We live in a world filled with distractions such as television, phones that are not making us so smart, computers, and the everyday noise of life. If you are going to have a December to remember, I suggest that you commit to getting rid of some of the “noise” in your life. Turn off the television, put down the smart phone, clear out your schedule and be intentional with who, what, when, where, why and how you spend your December.
E – Evaluate your year
December is when I take inventory of my year. Did I meet my goals? What did I complete on my vision board? Were my financial goals attained? I make an effort to evaluate my year to see how far I have come and forecast where I am going and what I want to do next. I do this for myself, and we also do this as a family. I challenge you to do the same.
R – Rest
December is by far one of the busiest times of the year. If your holiday season is filled with too much stress and no rest, then what’s the point? While you are investing in your family and friends, remember to take moments to invest in your own self-care. That may mean not spending so much money, not inviting or surrounding yourself with negative people or simply saying no to some things and people to whom you would normally say yes.
Will you be decking the halls and running through the malls or will you be preparing to go into January with ease? My hope for you is that your holiday season will be filled with love, joy, laughter and peace.
Are you feeling the stress this holiday season? Read Charlotte’s tips for families to de-stress your holidays.
Charlotte Avery, The Family Strategist™, is an author, speaker and coach who takes women from overwhelmed to overjoyed in marriage, motherhood and the marketplace. Charlotte is the wife of one, mom of seven and the owner of no pets.