As we head into our final week of holiday preparation, I want you to identify your five most favorite holiday traditions. Opening one present on Christmas Eve? Lighting the candles on Hanukkah? Having a family dinner on Christmas Day? (Going to a movie on Christmas morning with my kids is my favorite tradition.) We all have our favorite things from our childhood that we want to continue with our kids, and some we feel obligated to continue. But now you are the parent and you get to decide what your holiday traditions will be.
The truth is that we can’t do everything and we can’t have everything that we want (or think we want). I see families being stressed and anxious and bothered by the holidays, and unable to fully enjoy this time of year. I would like to see families enjoying the holiday season with anticipation, excitement, and joy; not with dread, exhaustion, and high expectations.
Look at the difference between “need to” vs. “want to”. When you hear yourself saying “I need to do mail holiday cards”, stop and ask yourself if you need to or if you want to. If you truly need to, then either do it yourself or get others to help. But if you don’t NEED to, if you really WANT to, then do it with joy.
Let’s teach our children that the holidays are a time to be together, to connect, to enjoy each other. If we demonstrate that the holidays are stressful and filled with pressure trying to fit everything in, that is the lesson they will take with them into their adulthood. Let’s teach our kids the true meaning of the holidays: peace and love and fun and excitement.
So go ahead and write a letter to Santa, light the candles together, pull a tag from the Giving Tree, or go to a movie. Enjoy your five most favorite traditions. But do them all with joy and love, and let go of the rest.
My family joins me in wishing you and yours a memorable (and fun) holiday season and a happy, healthy 2017.Tags: holidays, kids, parenting