Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slowing Down the Holidays

Holiday decorations are already filling the stores and many parents feel their blood pressure rise with just the thought of the stresses and expectations that the “joyous” season brings. This year try to take a step back and think about what memories you are creating for your children. Will they recall Thanksgiving and other holidays as a warm fun time surrounded by family, friends or neighbors? Or will their recollection be a horror story of how mom or dad “exploded” when the turkey burned?

Think about your own childhood holiday memories. Is it the perfect place settings or the number of casseroles that you recall? More likely it was the games you played with cousins or the hike the family took after dinner or some other simple pleasure that comes to mind. Maybe you can recreate these fun times for your kids and focus a little less on achieving perfection with your dinner or decorations. You might find that you are all a little happier as a result.

Think of ways you can involve your children in the preparations for the holidays. Can they make place cards for everyone, create table decorations, and help make the pumpkin pie or set the table? Perfection is not necessary – keep in mind the pride they will have when they tell others that they helped. The same is true if you are expecting a crowd for the holidays – leave them some tasks to do so they feel part of the event. I have used a “job jar” before and let my family members draw slips of paper that assigned them responsibilities for Thanksgiving dinner. The suspense of the “luck of the draw” made it fun for everyone. What creative ideas have you used to de-stress the holiday season?

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