When we imagine the holidays, we picture a loving family gathered around the fire sipping eggnog, long dinners in the company of good friends, and a host of festive holiday parties and activities.
What these visions don’t depict are the crazy lineups, highway traffic, spending sprees and family squabbles that are sure to unfold in any holiday drama. How do you safeguard your family from added stress around the holidays and preserve the warm and fuzzy feelings?
Reduce family stress during the holidays with these 7 handy tips:
- Be realistic about the holidays. Prioritize important things and family time and decide which traditions are most important to everyone. Find out which events or traditions can be forfeited, ask who is willing to help with chores or events, and remember to schedule time for the family to unwind at home.
- Let the little things slide. The Christmas holidays are not the time to air grievances or bring up old grudges. Sweep them under the carpet for now, hum a Christmas ditty and remember the true spirit of Christmas.
- Get creative with your gifts. If you are looking at cutting back on holiday gifts or having a less commercial Christmas this year, consider doing things a little differently. Draw names within your family and have each person buy only one gift. Also, try making coupons for each other; a coupon could be good for a massage or a night of childcare. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make the holidays memorable.
- Just say no. Say it to your kids, your family, and your friends. When the holidays become a chore instead of a delight, take some events off your plate. Plus, saying “no” to your kids builds character and ingenuity.
- Play games. Games let you connect with others in a fun and carefree way. From charades, monopoly and twister, to snowball fights, treasure hunts and more, add some imagination to your family gathering, whether it’s indoors or out.
- Keep things real. It’s hard to resist the sweets, treats and cocktails – they’re everywhere you go – but get your fruit and veggies in when you can, don’t overindulge too much and get some rest. Try to keep the family on a somewhat regular schedule for sleep and meals whenever you can.
- Give yourself a gift. Even if you just squeeze in a quick solo walk around the neighbourhood or brisk jog to the corner store for more nog, give yourself the gift of time on your own. The fresh air and clear headspace will do wonders for your soul.
By Kristen Wint