The Holiday season will soon be upon us. And for many it will be accompanied by a hectic pace, bah humbug attitudes, or the holiday blues. Already, spouses are beginning to cringe at the thought of spending a portion of the holiday season arguing with the family or spending long hours traveling to have dinner with relatives. Visions of children being out of school for three weeks, with the weather turning too cold for them to be outside, has some parents shuttering in anticipation. For many people the holidays have lost their appeal and the reason for the season has become wrapped in frustration, greed, and disappointment.
Is it time to rekindle your holiday spirit? Are you in need of bringing some life, meaning, and enthusiasm to you and your family’s holiday season this year? If so, you can begin by implementing a few of the inspirational ideas suggested below.
1. Slow down and enjoy the moment.
Repeat the following phase 20 times a day to yourself beginning on November 15 and continuing through the New Year, “I relax into the flow of life and I let life provide all that I need easily and comfortably. ” Do this faithfully every day and you will be amazed at the results.
2. Donate some time and energy to a charity.
Giving brings out a special part in all of us. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or help deliver food baskets. Your giving will be rewarded with inner feelings of peace and comfort.
3. Make your own holiday cards to mail to friends and family.
Involve your entire family in designing and coloring a holiday picture for your card. Agree on a saying or text message you want to add. Take it to a Kinko’s or Office Max and have it made into your personalized holiday greeting that includes envelopes to match.
4. Take a unique and creative holiday picture of you or your family.
The popularity of the serious family photo used on a greeting card seems to be increasing. As a fun change of pace, why not surprise your family and friends with a unique or silly photo of you and your children? How about a group picture of the family’s bare feet or a close-up picture of each family member’s bellybutton with a contest to see who can match the bellybutton to the right person? The idea here is to be creative and have fun.
5. Bake cookies or bread and make a personal delivery to a few friends.
Bake as a family. Wrap as a family. And deliver as a family. The personal delivery adds a connecting link from your family to the recipient. It is an effective way to remember that being with someone is as important as doing for someone.
6. Record 5 holiday songs sung by the family or kids and send it to Grandma.
Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunt Julie will enjoy singing along with your family’s rendition of some of the holiday classics. You never know, your family could be the next Partridge family.
7. Give a turkey or ham to five needy families.
Find a need and fill it. Your heart will be filled along the way and your children will learn a valuable lesson in charity.
8. Read a variety of holiday stories.
Change your family bookshelf around so that the holiday stories are visible and available for easy access. Read a different children’s holiday classic each night. The oral reading will benefit your children and as an added bonus, you just might be whisked back to your childhood, recalling the same stories being read to you.
9. Clean out the front hall closet and give last year’s winter wear to Coats for Kids.
Do this activity with your children. It will help them develop the charity habit by seeing what they have and how they can give some of their time, energy, and possessions to help others. A related lesson will occur later. You can help your children see how giving creates space to new things to come to them as well.
10. Attend a holiday concert or festival of music.
Holiday music fills the heart and soul with memories of childhood, friends, family rituals, and special events. Allow your heart to open to the music of the holidays. Let it sooth your soul and be moved by its presence within you.
11. Invite another family over to watch a holiday classic on T. V.
This is a fun and inexpensive way to gather for an evening. Pop some corn and take time to have each person share when they remember seeing the show for the first time.
12. Get out old holiday photos and make a picture time line to display with other decorations.
See how far back in the family’s history you can go with pictures of the holidays gone by. The kids will love seeing all the “old” pictures of you and your holiday guests will too.
13. Make your own ornaments.
Decorate pine cones. Shape Play dough and let it dry. Make chains of green and red construction paper. Buy Styrofoam balls and paint them with glitter, glue, and string. Decorate cookies. The ideas are limitless, flow with it.
14. Go on a “light seeing” tour.
Jump in the car with the family and go on a neighborhood “light seeing” tour. When you get home encourage each person to talk about which light display was liked best and have them tell why. Take a different “light seeing” tour each night.
15. Write thank you notes for neighbors who have decorated their house in an inspiring way.
Many people decorate so that they can bring pleasure to those driving by. Share your appreciation. Let them know how their efforts lifted your spirit and brought joy to your holiday season.
16. Make your own wrapping paper.
Trace cookie cutter shapes onto to large sheets of white paper and color and paint the shapes as desired. Or cut sponges in holiday shapes and sponge paint designs. Use that paper to wrap your holiday gifts.
17. Tell stories of family traditions.
Children love stories and story telling is a powerful tool for helping children learn to read and write. It is an excellent way to stay preserve family traditions and increase the joy of the holiday season.
18. Decorate a tree outside for the animals.
During the winter months many animals find it difficult to locate nutritious foods to eat. By stringing orange rings, apple rings, and carrots and placing them on a tree outside you create a beautiful tree that helps the wildlife survive a difficult time of the year. .
19. Create a countdown ceremony that can be followed each evening.
This ceremony can be as simple as following a countdown calendar and opening the next window to lighting a candle and having a special reading that holds religious or spiritual significance to you or your family. The key is making the countdown an event that others will look forward to at the family moves closer to their main holiday celebration.
20. Give the kids disposable camera’s and allow them to take one picture each day from December 1st to January 1st.
Finding the right picture to take can be a learning process for each person young and old. Encourage them to search for something that is meaningful about each day on a personal level. Follow up in January by printing the pictures. Each person can then create their own countdown calendar to use during next year’s holiday season.
Remember, it is you who creates the reason for the season. It is up to you to take charge and design the holiday season you desire. Happy Holidays!
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world’s foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today: http://www.chickmoorman.com or http://www.thomashaller.com .