The kid inside of us just loves this time of year. The parents and adults among us all have parties and activities along with the preparations that go in to making this time of year special. Even with all that there is to do, I don’t know anyone who isn’t excited about the holidays. It is a time of fun and events, family and friends, and giving and reflection on the past year. Our kids are out of school for the holidays, and most everyone has some extra time off to spend with family. Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most out of this time together.
- Leave the past behind, and let any grievances go. Life is too short to carry a grudge around with you.
- Get out the board games in the closet or pick up some new ones. Games bring out the unique qualities of everyone involved so play several together. Team up for some interesting combinations of personality and attitude!
- Serve together. The local homeless shelter, orphanage, children’s hospital, or home for abused women needs all the volunteer help they can get this time of year. Serving also teaches gratitude and humility to your children.
- Leave the chores till next year. I used to take every year and work on something around the house, but while your children are at home be there with them.
- Pull out the family photo albums. This is GREAT when your older children are bringing home boyfriends and girlfriends.
- Go see the Christmas lights in your favorite neighborhood. For anyone with a case of the blues, this is sure to cheer them up.
- Take a day trip or overnight excursion. You might be tired of your own four walls and everyone might be getting cabin fever. Go somewhere that offers some neat winter outdoor activities that you can’t normally do at home.
- Cook or bake together. After the turkey and ham leftovers that everyone will quickly grow tired of, pull out that recipe book and try out some dishes that you’ve always wanted to create. Involve the kids in choice and preparation also.
- Play some kid games. When is the last time you played tag, hide and seek, jumped rope or built a fort? Your children will always remember the Christmas that you ran around in the yard with them.
- Unplug! Leave the cell phone on the nightstand and check Facebook after everyone has gone to bed. No matter how discreet you think you may be, others know when you’re paying homage to the electronic masters and that you aren’t fully engaged with them.
- Share some stories. This can be a very memorable experience. I don’t have any of my parents or grandparents any longer and I wish that I had learned more about their past to share with my kids and future grandkids. Using the photo albums, ask a question about an interesting picture and let the memories flow.
- Give thanks. Tell others, including your children, how special they are and what they mean to you.
- Go to church together. Nothing we do during the holidays compares to the reason for the season, Jesus Christ. Make sure that your children know how important his life is to all mankind.
Whatever you do, make the holidays a little different and special in your home. There will be messes and at times it will seem a little chaotic, but that’s just what makes life fun. Your kids will be grown soon enough, and someday you’ll cherish every holiday memory you have and your heart will ache for times past. Christmas is all about giving to others, and the best gift you can give is to be fully present with your family this season. I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas.