Slow Down and Enjoy the Magic of the Holidays with Your Family
Every year, despite my determination to resist the commercialism of the holiday season, I inevitably find myself caught up in a gift buying frenzy. Eventually, after countless hours scouring the shops for just the right gifts and literally damaging myself hauling oversized bags to my car, I am physically exhausted and my spirit if depleted. Christmas comes and goes…and I feel like I’ve missed something…something special…the magic of the season.
As my children grow older, they are now also susceptible to the mind-boggling power of commercial marketing. In between each cartoon pops up a commercial for the newest, coolest, must-have toy. And regardless of how cheesy, cheaply-made, inappropriate, toxic, hazardous, pointless, and downright uncool the toy may be, they want them all. And strangely, as much as I am intrinsically against the idea that Christmas should revolve so much around gift giving, I cannot help but remember the joy I felt opening a special toy when I was a child and I know that I will be back in the stores again.
But this year I thought long and hard about what made Christmas feel so magical when I was little, and promised myself to ease up on the gift buying and focus more on other traditions, traditions that I believe my children will someday value as well. What I remember most fondly from my childhood Christmases was the warm glow of candlelight and the wholesome comfort I felt as a toasty fire crackled in the hearth. The fun of baking special cookies and building lopsided gingerbread houses, complete with powdered sugar for snow. Listening to holiday music while decorating the Christmas tree with my own special ornaments. Straining my eyes against the sky to catch a glimpse of the first snow flakes of the year. Doing a silly snow dance around the living room before I went to bed to entice the gods of winter for a blessed snow day. And yes, the thrill of opening up gifts on Christmas certainly holds its place among my happiest of moments there is no doubt.
There is so much to love about this time of year, and it is far too easy to miss out on the joy if we are not careful. I wish you all a very happy and magical holiday season!
The Official Peaceful Parenting Holiday Checklist to Bring Back the Holiday Magic
(and your sanity)
- Shop local: save your time and money.
- Resist spending more than you should. Stick to your budget. Choose one special gift for each person you love that truly reflects their current interests.
- Recycle, regift, refurbish. Who said a gift has to be brand new to bring joy? Some of the best gifts are ones that have been loved before. If you get a little crafty you can make your kids something amazing with little expense. I have a friend who made an absolutely beautiful play house for her daughter by decoupaging a large cardboard box…throw in a roll of bubble wrap and you’ll have one happy three year old!
- Bake: with your children, with your sisters, with your neighbors…then share the bounty!
- Give what you can to those in need, volunteer and feel the cheer.
- Play games…all sorts. Find puzzles and board games your whole family can do.
- Celebrate the first big snow. Build snowmen and igloos, go cross country skiing, go sledding…don’t forget about the awesome hills at Trinity Pawling!
- Create a warm glow throughout your home with candles and a fire. Dim the lights and calm the senses.
- Read, watch and listen to your favorite holiday stories. Take time to share stories about your own holiday memories with your children. Ask them what they love about this time of year.
- Slow down, be present, give hugs. Just be together…there is no better gift!