The holidays are a time of joy and excitement, and no small amount of stress for mom and dad. For young children, the anticipation and change in routines can cause anxiousness, too. It can be hard to remember that while there is value in creating memories and traditions, it’s far too easy to go overboard and get overwhelmed.
Author Katrina Kenison shares some tips with PBS Parents to help simplify the holiday season. She says, “As the holidays approach, it helps to pause and ask: What part of this season is most meaningful to me? What message do I want my children to absorb from our celebration? What brings us true joy? What activities and expectations are we ready to let go?”
The holiday season can be an opportunity to make decisions about what is really valuable to your family, and what might be some things you can let go of. Here are some specific ideas from Kenison for paring down your holiday commitments, and getting back to that joy and excitement:
Downscale holiday plans and expectations. Keep the focus on family, on meaningful traditions and simple activities that replenish rather than exhaust.
Whether you’re decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies, or making gifts for grandma, remember that the process is more important for your child than the outcome. Keep it simple, and you and your child will enjoy it more.
Ask your children what they most love about your family’s holiday. You may be surprised by their answers. For my sons, it was: reading our Christmas books aloud, opening the doors on the advent calendar, our annual carol sing with the next-door neighbors, lighting the ting-a-ling on Christmas Eve. . .
Take away the pressure of going “all out” with every occasion, and you may find that your whole family enjoys time spent simply being together even more.