Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Spirit

The holidays can feel like a lot of hard work when you have children. At least, if you think about all of the preparations as burdens on an already busy schedule.

Shopping, decorating, baking, sending cards, wrapping...whew! Who has time for that?

I know some people who work on these things throughout the year so that the to-do list isn't stuffed into a few weeks. If that works for them and they enjoy it, it's a great idea. Many of us, however, aren't so organized.

Let me make a few suggestions to lighten your load and allow some real holiday spirit to enter your home.

LET GO — Do you really have to send cards? Do you really have to make six kinds of cookies? Do you have to buy gifts for the five helpers in your son's class who you really don't know? No, you don't. If these things don't fill you with joy and excitement, let them go. Think differently. Send out cards to your loved ones on Valentine's Day when they aren't expecting them. Limit your gift list to people who have really made a difference for you this year. Play in the snow with your kids instead of the crazy, messy baking scenario. If your family and friends don't like it, they'll have to work through their disappointment.

DELEGATE — The holidays should be about teamwork. Preparing for guests and events all by yourself is no fun. Plus, what makes you think that you do everything better than anyone else? This year, my kids decorated our Christmas tree. They are 7 and 4 and did a fabulous job. Some ornaments were broken. Some things were on the tree that don't normally go there. But they had a great time and I felt a surge of gratitude. The same thing happened when my husband not only bought a lot of the gifts for our children this year, but he also wrapped them! He used duct tape, but who cares???

GIVE, REALLY GIVE — Feeling overwhelmed with the whole holiday scene, I decided to make a few cookies with my girls on a Saturday and take them over to the local nursing home during coffee hour. It wasn't part of an organized event. I don't have any family at this nursing home. I just thought it would put me in a more positive mood about giving.

I was reminded by this experience that giving from your heart really does give more back to you than you could ever imagine. Passing out cookies, visiting with the residents, watching the smiles on their faces as they watched my girls run around, singing a few carols with some Girl Scouts who were also made my month. My girls had a great time, too.

If you can find one thing this year or next to do with your family that involves giving to others — not out of obligation but from true caring — do it! It's the best thing you can do for your family, yourself and the world.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the great tips to lighten the load for the Holidays. I think we too often feel obligated to bake, shop, send cards, etc. A fun event we did this year was to host the first annual cousin cookie exchange. We really had a great time. We did learn, however, that next year we will have our cookies made so we can have more time to visit. Another fun outing my sister and I partake in is the Lorie Line Christmas concert. It's very entertaining! I'm proud to write that my husband and I scaled back quite a bit this year. We had four celebrations this past week, but we honestly enjoyed each and every one of them. We did ask for help with the events (bringing a dish to share, mashing the potatoes, etc.), so the duties are spread out more evenly. I absolutely love the idea of sharing your cookies with the residents at the local nursing home. I know they adore visiting with others. Thank you for the wonderful idea! Wishing you all the happiness in 2008!