Even before the last piece of pumpkin pie has been consumed (and let’s be honest – these days, it’s more like – before the last piece of Halloween candy is handed out), it seems like holiday preparations are underway. But the reality of the holidays can be very different than the marshmallow world singers croon about.
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
There’s no doubt that the giving spirit of the season can lead to feeling financial pressure. The gift wish lists kids have written out are often filled with expensive items like video game consoles, tablets and more. But, rather than compromise your household budget, how do you help kids understand what’s realistic while still ensuring it’s another Christmas for the memory books.
Start by talking with kids to help them understand what’s truly important. Be honest and explain what it means to spend within your family’s means. If you’ve been saving money especially for gift purchases, let kids know that too so they realize the planning and resources involved. You can also encourage a discussion about “needs” and “wants.” It can seem counter to the holiday spirit of spending and giving, but what’s really important is helping kids understand financial responsibility. It’s an important lesson that will benefit them throughout their lives.
You can also take the time to talk about families who don’t have the resources to provide gifts for their kids and look for ways to help. Whether it’s a community program like Toys for Tots, or volunteering at a local shelter, you can help your kids develop a greater awareness of their world and empower them to help.
If you’re looking for ways to help bring meaning to the holidays, how about starting some family traditions. Whether it’s making crafts together, creating homemade holiday presents, or just sitting down as a family for game night, there are lots of ways you and your family can enjoy the best of the season.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, consider checking out our Pinterest board with crafts for kids of all ages to make and give.
Chicken Soup for the Cold
When you’re dashing through snow and managing work, social obligations, holiday concerts and even traveling to family, it can wear your body down. Ensure you and your kids are getting the rest that they need and as much as possible, help your littlest ones stick to as normal a routine as you can. Well-rested bodies can fight off colds and manage stress much more effectively.
Also remember to encourage everyone in the family to wash hands early and often. It is the number one best defense against cold and flu germs.
Don’t Have a Blue Christmas
It’s not uncommon to feel down this time of year. All of the festivity and hype can actually lead to feelings of loneliness. Some may even be managing seasonal depression brought on by the shorter days. If you are feeling blue, talk with a trusted individual about it and watch for signs in your kids – are they withdrawn, sleeping a lot or not enough – if they’re acting ‘out of sorts’ try talking with them about it.
If you find you’re always down in the fall and winter months, perhaps it’s hard to concentrate or you either can’t sleep or feel like you could sleep all the time, and the feelings last at least two weeks or longer, consider talking with your primary care physician about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Put that Cookie Down
Surrounded by endless buffet tables filled with delicious goodies, or visiting with relatives, it can be easy to graze all evening long or indulge “just this once.” Have a plan in advance – make sure your family eats regular meals and don’t arrive at a party or gathering hungry. When you see the spread of food, encourage your kids to select one or two items so they don’t feel deprived.
And don’t forget that drinks have calories too. That latte, hot chocolate, eggnog or other holiday drink may have more calories than you realize (some can be 500+). Moderation is key. Help your kids find a balance when it comes to all of the delicious foods and learn how to incorporate them in an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
Embrace the Best of the Season
Enjoy time with family by finding activities to do together like walking through the woods, going sledding, maybe even snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Take the time together and enjoy a break from the fast paced world. The best part of any season is spending time together as a family.