With the arrival of November, we're running the Meaningful Memories Holidays Challenge. And I'm going to come right out and admit it: I'm feeling challenged.
What I Don't Want Over the HolidaysI know very well what I don't want for the holidays. The list remains the same every year:
|Keeping it angelic|
- No last-minute gift frenzy
- No swearing while the Christmas tree goes up and my over-excited children accidentally break a few ornaments and run off with the angel
- No toys that come with tons of plastic, styrofoam and what seems like billions of little twist ties
- No guilt-inducing family politics
- No driving from event to event to event, scheduled to within an inch of our lives
Tips for a More Meaningful Holiday SeasonNeedless to say, the reality is that I encounter most of these situations every year. Life isn't perfect, and the holiday season is no exception. However, there are a few tactics I employ that make the holidays a little less harried, and a little more meaningful.
- Don't get overly-ambitious with the handmade gifts. I love the idea of giving lovingly-handmade holiday gifts, but the reality is that I only have two hands. And so, I try to focus on a few homemade items that won't be overly taxing. I may sew - but only one or two things for my kids. I may cook - but just a couple of batches of peppermint bark to give to several of the people on my list. The holidays are happier when I'm not staying up way past my bedtime every night to knit.
- For that matter, cut back on the gifts altogether. I've found that my own children appreciate their gifts more when they're not overwhelmed by stuff. By choosing a few select items, I'm reducing the environmental impact of the holidays, saving money, and reducing the commercial aspect of the holiday. In my husband's family, we do a holiday gift exchange with the adults, where we each draw one name instead of all buying each other gifts. It all cuts down on the volume and brings the focus back to the time spent together, which is the real gift of the season.
- Be selective with the events. Just like with gifts, I've found that my family enjoys holiday events more when we're not inundated by them. By choosing to attend only a handful of events, and no more than one or two on any given weekend leading up to the holidays, we can keep the activity level reasonable. We're all happier, and it allows us to really appreciate the time we're spending together at the events we do attend.
Now it's your turn - how do you make your holidays less hectic and more enjoyable? Leave a comment and share your tips!