Once again, the holiday season is upon us, as we go into the frenzy of securing our children’s gift list, spending hours online comparing brands and websites to find the best prices, attending holiday shows and concerts, decorating the home with appropriate trimmings and lights, baking cookies and cakes, and all the while trying to manage to keep it all together during off-work hours.
Now, I want you to stop for a moment, and take a minute to just breathe.
This holiday season, I would like you to try something different with your family. While society and modern economics have put an importance on the purchasing of gifts as part of the holidays, this is not what your family will remember the most in the years to come. The winter holidays are the perfect time to teach our children about the importance of spending quality time together, finances, gratitude, and the act of giving. Instead of trying to complete all the holiday tasks this year, take the time to make these small changes and see how your family’s attitude will change.
Being Present in the Moment
Twenty years from now, our children will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt, not which toys they received or how much money spent. We need to teach our children to be present in the moment when we are spending time together. Suggest an hour or two on a daily basis when everyone in the family turns their phones/tablets/computers on silent and really focus on the time spent together. One of my own fondest childhood memories, is when I cooked with my mother. It did not matter what we were preparing or cooking, but I appreciated the moments we had alone to create delicious meals together, that we later served to the whole family.
DIY and Budgeting
Even if you have the means to fulfill every desire on your children’s wish list, have your kids think long and hard about the things they want for the holidays, and make a list that reflects those items. As one of the top producers at my financial firm, I found it very useful to discuss your holiday budget with your children, so they know not to ask for outrageous items. Creating your own gifts as well can keep costs down and teach children to be creative and that some of the best gifts are handmade and from the heart.
While some children may have a hard time grasping this concept, you need to introduce the concept of giving without the expectation of receiving. How can you make someone’s holiday special? Have your child pick out a toy they would like and give it to a child in need. Things like a toy drive are right up a child’s alley as they shop for their peers, participating in a local food drive, or donating to a local American Red Cross or Salvation Army can help a families who are in need this season.
The Gift of Giving
The holiday season is always an appropriate time to take a few minutes, pause, and reflect on the gifts you’ve been given, the people you love and cherish, and the opportunities you are afforded in life. It is my experience that giving gratitude with consciousness and pure intentions reduces stress and brings greater joy to your celebrations as a family. Teaching ourselves and our children to be thankful for what do we have is also a lifelong gift. According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, gratitude actually changes the molecular structure of our brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us overall healthier and happier.
At Circle 4 Parents, we are dedicated to providing a network of professionals, coaches, and peer support to create mentally healthy families. We offer plenty of opportunities where parents have the chance to participate in a session tailored to their needs with other parents experiencing the exact same things as them. For more information, or to sign up today for a session, please visit our website here.
From all of us at Circle 4 Parents, we wish you a happy holiday and best wishes into 2018!
Mother of Four
CEO & Founder of Circle 4 Parents.com