As the years have progressed, holidays have become more demanding and complex. Our schedules have gotten busier, and the pressure of creating an Instagrammable holiday has left many feeling exhausted and defeated. Add to that the financial strain people feel, and the holiday season becomes anything but enjoyable. As more time passes, it feels like the true meaning of holiday time is going by the wayside, but the simple things are actually what can be most magical, especially for children. Prioritizing balance and keeping things simple creates lasting memories and deeper connections.
Teach Kids They Don't Need It All
Creating a magical and simple holiday season with children can be a delightful experience. Here are some ideas to infuse the season with wonder and joy:
Holiday Decorations: Involve children in decorating the house. Let them create handmade ornaments or decorations. Consider a theme that aligns with your child's interests, whether a favorite color, character, or winter wonderland.
Count-Down Calendar: Create a calendar filled with small surprises or activities for each day leading up to the holiday. It could be as simple as a piece of chocolate, a small toy, or a festive activity.
Holiday Baking: Bake holiday cookies or treats together. Let your kids participate in measuring, mixing, and decorating. It's a fun way to spend time together.
Crafting: Plan craft time where you can make holiday-themed crafts. Suggestions include making cards, snowflakes, or even a DIY wreath.
Magical Movie Nights: Have special holiday movie nights with classic or favorite festive films. Create a cozy movie-watching area with blankets and pillows.
Holiday Stories: Read holiday stories together. Whether it's classic tales like "The Night Before Christmas" or new favorites, sharing stories can create cherished memories.
Outdoor Adventures: If weather permits, engage in outdoor activities like building a snowman, sledding, or taking a winter nature walk. Fresh air and physical activity can enhance the holiday spirit.
Giving Back: Teach the importance of giving by involving them in charity. Examples could be donating toys, volunteering at a local shelter, or participating in a charity event.
Family Traditions: Establish family traditions that are simple yet meaningful. Whether it's a special meal, a specific game, or a particular outing, traditions create a sense of continuity and excitement.
Stargazing or Moonlit Walks: On a clear night, venture outside to stargaze or take a moonlit walk. It's a serene and magical experience that can be calming and enchanting.
While gift-giving can be fun and meaningful, it often leads to more significant pressures around spending and outdoing previous years. Research has found that experiences can be more meaningful and create a greater sense of happiness and bonding.
Remember, the key is to focus on the joy of spending time together and creating special moments.
Keep it simple and enjoy the magic of the holiday season with your children. Additionally, consider making gifts rather than buying them. Creating thoughtful gifts can often be a beautiful and fun experience for both giving and receiving.
Manage Holiday Expectations
While it's nice to have a plan for our holidays to stay organized, being flexible and managing expectations can create a better experience. Try to allow the memories to happen naturally without getting caught up in a picture-perfect idea of how it should go. Too much planning and expectations can stress you and your loved ones and keep you from appreciating the time together. Imperfect moments are bound to happen, but here are the best ways to manage them.
Allow Kids to Feel Their Emotions: With so much excitement and changes during the holidays, big emotions are bound to happen. Understand that meltdowns may occur, and give your children the space to let it out if needed.
Pack a Coping Kit: The holidays can be unpredictable for kids. Try packing a kit of their most comforting items, such as favorite toys, snacks, blankets, and headphones. Items that make them feel safe and help them relax.
Embrace Flexibility: Be adaptable and open to shifts in your holiday schedule. Flexibility can reduce stress and allow for a more enjoyable and spontaneous experience.
Communicate Openly: Be transparent and honest about your plans, limitations, and expectations. Discuss with family and friends what you can realistically commit to, whether it's hosting, attending events, or gift-giving. Open communication helps avoid misunderstandings and disappointment.
Set Realistic Goals: Understand your capacity and set achievable goals. Whether decorating the house, preparing meals, or participating in social events, prioritize what's most important and feasible for you. Avoid overcommitting to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
As we navigate the holiday season, remember that the most precious gifts are often the simplest. By prioritizing connection and memory, embracing traditions, and savoring the present moment, we can create holiday memories that stand the test of time. In simplicity, we find the true essence of the season by focusing on the celebration of love, togetherness, and the beauty of shared moments.