Seven Ways to Make Your Holidays More Meaningful

What are your best Christmas memories as a child?

What are the holiday times that you’d love to go back to and live over and over?

Bet it wasn’t the biggest, most amazing or expensive gift that you got,

or a day spent at one of the theme parks decked out for the holidays.

More likely it was the heart to heart conversations about the meaning of the holiday as your family read the Christmas story …

or the family tradition of baking cookies, decorating the tree or a special meal that everyone loved…

It seems in this frenetic holiday season, we have all been struck with FMS disease (fear-of -missing-something).   Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Family routines and schedules have disappeared as you rush frantically from rehearsals for the Nutcracker to choir practice for the Christmas cantata.
  • Shopping is a huge ordeal as you try to meet everyone’s wish list despite the financial strain.
  • Christmas is more about doing than being.  It is more about getting than giving.
  • You are exhausted and frustrated instead of uplifted and renewed.

How to Create a More Meaningful and Less Stressful Family Holiday

Set an intention.  Remember how you set an intention for the year with one word?  Do the same for the holiday season.  Maybe you even want to use the same intention.  Include the whole family in setting the tone for the season.

Create a plan.  So often we launch into the holidays willy nilly with no plan whatsoever as to what is important to us. We then stress out over attending every possible event, participating in every gathering and buying gifts for everyone from our co-workers to our distant cousin that we last saw ten years ago. Plan ahead as to what you will attend and who you will shop for.  Then let the rest go…

Practice saying no.  This will follow naturally from the two previous tips.  Before you say yes to anything review your intention and your plan for the season.  Does it fit?  Remove the guilt by reminding yourself that every time you say yes, you are saying no to something else.  Make those yeses really count.

Take the time to be present– really present with your child.  Turn off your cell phone and give your undivided attention for a designated period of time while you share a book, a Christmas movie or an event.  Have a real conversation before and after.  Make it a discussion of what was meaningful to them.  Oh, and you can share what mattered to you as well.

Create a family tradition.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant. Share your beliefs and what the holiday means to you.  Share memories of what Christmas meant to you as a child and why. Stories are the perfect way to teach and engage.

Practice Gratitude.  While the season is really all about blessings… somehow it can get lost in our To Do List overwhelm.  Set aside a regular time to reflect on the blessings in your life.  Encourage your children to do the same.

Practice self-renewal instead of self-indulgence.  Do what it takes for you to be the best you can be.  Focus your family on getting the rest they need, eating the healthy foods that sustain energy and maintaining an exercise plan that keeps everyone energized.

Related posts:

Focus the Family with One Word in 2015

Christmas Gifts and the Five Love Languages

Three Myths of Generosity