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Simplifying the Holiday Season

As we head into the holiday season, this is a great time to get ahead of holiday stress. Here are some tips you can use in October so Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t sneak up on you:

  1. Plan Ahead. You don’t have to have every piece worked out, but you can create a Note on your phone that holds your ideas as they start coming to you. Have one Note entitled Thanksgiving and the other entitled Christmas. Put all of your thoughts on there as they show up. Decide what day you would like to review your ideas to draft your holiday plan. How many weeks before? Put that on your calendar … right now. Literally put it on your calendar before you read step #2. That will at least get you started on the right track.
  2. Simplify. What has and has not worked for your family in the past? Which activities have left family members saying, “I don’t want to do that again!” Drop those things. Use each year to build in quality. Your kids are only little for a short time. Those memories are precious! Drop what doesn’t work, while making sure you include something of value for each member of your family.
  3. Overwhelm. School does not slow down for the holidays, nor does work. Yet, we add a whole list of to-do’s every holiday season to an already full plate. If you think about it, that doesn’t make sense. How can you adjust your current plate to make room OR adjust what you add so you are not dropping important things? Just give it some consideration.
  4. Family Meetings. Family meetings are valuable. I recommend weekly. The holidays is a great time to start because your conversations are about exciting things coming up. Why not plan ahead as a family and use that time to bond and get to know each other? You may be surprised at what your kids like and don’t like about the holidays!
  5. Delegate. Do you have older kids? Can you share some of the tasks? What can you actually build in as a family activity? Decorating the Christmas tree together could be so much fun! Maybe that can be your family meeting one week. Get creative.
  6. Prioritize. The bottom line: time is moving fast, everyone is busy and life doesn’t slow down for the holidays. Prioritizing is essential all year long, and particularly at the holidays. You are creating memories, traditions and habits. What do you want to see for your grandchildren down the road? Give that to your children right now, and you have increased the odds that your grandchildren will have it.

As Halloween approaches this month, consider how many trick-or-treating years you have left with your little ones. How many more Halloweens do you get to shop for and watch the excitement about their costume? They grow up fast! ENJOY this time. ENJOY each facet of each holiday.

Whatever activities you choose to do, do them with QUALITY in mind. Do it with LOVE in mind. Be PRESENT with your kids. The season of raising children goes by in the blink of an eye. You want to look back and remember this season with joy, not regret.

For Halloween, enjoy the fun, excitement and community feel that it brings each year. Plan ahead so you can turn off work, school and stress early in the day, enjoy a solid meal and then head out for fun with your family. You will be so glad you did. Happy Halloween!

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 traci@alovingway.com. www.alovingway.com

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