Ah, the holiday season.
The turkey's been gobbled up, the pumpkin pie inhaled and our waistlines doubled over our already too tight jeans. As we unpack our Christmas decorations and dust off our menorahs, we start to think about how we, as parents, can keep this time of year from becoming less about family, giving and love and more about ourselves, receiving and mall frustration.
When things get out of hand in the holiday department we need to go back to basics. Back to traditions, back to our community and back to a handful of carefully selected gifts that may even include some that are homemade.
But it is so hard! There are so many cool toys with cool commercials that the kids see. There are so many gadgets, furry snow boots and American Girl dolls with matching PJs for my daughter. And don’t even get me started on the massive Lego set that would light up my son’s eyes like, well, a Christmas tree. And my friend just told me how much she loves her NutriBullet. And I noticed this great candle she had burning.
And, and, and ... stop the madness!
See, it doesn’t take much before we have all forgotten why we even celebrate this time of year. Whatever your religious background may be, it all boils down to family. Not toys, spa days for mom or another DeWalt tool for my husband. It's family, plain and simple.
So, what fun family things can we do this time of year?
First thing I do is check my town’s local happenings and mark up my calendar. Most of them are free or, at the very least, much less expensive than the big city ticket price. I also make a family event out of unpacking the holiday decorations by putting on some music, breaking open some eggnog or cider and taking pictures.
This year, we will start a family tradition by picking one performance that we will attend as a family. It could be through the church or synagogue, your home town or a recital by a family member. Doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot or any money it just has to be done as a family. Maybe you all take turns deciding on where to go so everyone gets a chance to do something they want to do. Something my family started enjoying already is all of the fun holiday movies on this time of year. Light a fire, grab some popcorn and enjoy a few laughs as a family.
Yes there will be presents this holiday season, but my point is that it doesn’t have to be all about the presents.
This is a great time of year to bag up clothes that don’t fit and books that are no longer read and have the kids come with you to the donation center. There are many great organizations that have ways for families to help out together. Why not check in on an elderly neighbor and see if they need any errands run or chores completed? Have your kids hand write their holiday cards to grandma and grandpa. No requests for presents -- just a note from them saying, “I love you.”
Now that the holiday season is well underway, take a moment to regroup and make sure you are teaching your kids the true meaning of the holidays ... family, love, giving, peace, kindness, forgiveness, ______ (insert your word here).