Christmas tends to sneak up on us. If you could simplify the process … if you could remove the drama … what would Christmas look like for your family? What if you enjoyed the countdown to Christmas instead of feeling like you are running out of time? What would it take to get your family there? Do you need to get back to the basics of what Christmas is all about? Do you need to plan your social calendar early? Do you need to say no to some things? Do you need to tone down the spending? Do you need to actually PLAN time for enjoyment? What would it take and are you willing to do it?
Here are some tips that have helped our family over the years:
Tip #1: Hand-Made Gifts. Our kids have given hand-painted Christmas ornaments to family for years. They started as soon as they could paint and even in the teens and 20’s, they still paint ornaments. What wonderful memories have been created over the years! And, the added bonus is that it’s quality time! We put our “paint towels” out on the kitchen table and each person has their station. For 2-3 weeks, that is what that table is for. Everyone has their list of people, ornaments ready to paint, and paint supplies ready to go. We sit down together (and sometimes individually), working on our projects. It’s so much fun!
Tip #2: Clear Your Mind. Get some of the “traditional gifts” that you do every year out of the way early. Yes, there may be a special gift or two that you are still figuring out, but if you are like our family, you have certain stocking stuffers that are a “family tradition” and certain things that are always part of the Christmas holiday. Get those purchased and stored away early. Then you only have a handful of items that are lingering. It clears away so much stress!
Tip #3: Plan Ahead. Start talking about what your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are going to look like early in the month. Where are you going? Who’s coming over? How do you fit everyone in without creating a ton of stress? What will dinner look like as far as food and company? Who wants what, and what can be accommodated? If you start brainstorming early, you can CHOOSE to get excited and CREATE your holiday, instead of tolerating or barely getting through it. What a great way for your children to remember holidays at home.
Tip #4: A Time for Giving. Just like we talked about for Thanksgiving, are you dreading a certain activity, person or event? Can you shift that to a heart of giving to a lonely family member or someone in need? Can you open your heart to forgiveness or at least acceptance for a few hours or days? Can you model love for your children, which is what this holiday is really all about?
Tip #5: Saying No. What do you need to say no to? Say no right away; don’t procrastinate. People need to know what you are and are not doing. If you will not be joining them, it will alleviate stress on both sides to know that. Just be honest, caring and up front as soon as you know. They may not like it, but they will like it even less as the holiday approaches.
If you need support in getting through Christmas with more “merry” and less stress, feel free to reach out! I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. The holidays CAN be joyful and filled with love.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent, an organization devoted to healthy parent-child relationships. She can be reached at 951-240-1407 or firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alovingway.com