Back to Holiday Basics

The holiday season has always been a time of hustle and bustle. It can be a fun hustle and bustle, or a stressful one. How much stress will accompany your family gatherings, meals and gift exchanges this year? What will the holidays mean to your children and what traditions will they continue?  

When I was growing up, the highest GPA a high school student could acquire was 4.0. Are you aware that over the last several years, that GPA has been rising and is now 5.0+? That might be shocking to some and exciting to others. The downside of this moving target is that our students never reach a point of “enough” in their academics. There is always the need to do more because the bar is constantly being raised. That is a tremendous amount of pressure and many students will be stressed over the holidays because of it. They don’t get to unplug.

It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time we teach our children and young adults what is REALLY important in life. Most will agree that, at the end of life, it will be the people who mattered. So let’s teach that to our children now, while they can fill their life with what matters and avoid unnecessary regrets.

Rather than sprinting through the holidays, forgetting to look up to enjoy the beauty, try some of these tips:

  1. Prioritize. What’s important to each family member over this holiday season? Put those items on the calendar now.
  2. Relationships. Who is important to your family? Most people have lost loved ones in the past 12 months. Who can you not afford to miss spending time with? Who do your children need to know? We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
  3. Quality Time. In the time you spend with family and friends, what are you doing? Are you incorporating the kids to hear stories of your childhood? Are you playing games? Are you spending time with grandparents and cousins? Time is limited for everyone. We need to be teaching our children the value of life, relationships and quality time. All we have when our loved one’s pass away is the memories. You have the ability to create awesome memories.
  4. History. Write down or record the stories that family members are sharing. Times change and details get forgotten. The generations that follow will enjoy the legacy and history that you leave for them. It’s a way of passing on what is of value from one generation to the next.
  5. School. If you have older students who will likely be stressing over assignments, projects or upcoming exams, take the time to speak with them and their teachers. Find out clearly what is expected and what the options are. Do your best to ensure the break is as clear as it can be. Give your children breathing room to start back to school fresh and rejuvenated, while also being sensitive to the stress that can be caused by not feeling prepared. It’s important to do both.
  6. Communication. With all of these pieces, communication is essential. Some kids LOVE to get ahead over the break. Some kids NEED a break over the break. Find out what YOUR student needs and how they function. Find their balance, and support it. It may change every year; that’s okay. These conversations are important. Create traditions that you and your children are proud of.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! May it be filled with quality time, great conversations and much love.

Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She provides parenting classes, teen programs and individual coaching.  She is known for her practical parenting style and can be reached directly at 951-240-1407 or

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