Of all the needs of children at Christmas, relaxing memorable time with family is most important.
Questions to ask ourself as parents: *Do I create relaxed, meaningful time with my family in December? *Am I having a hectic schedule because I choose to or out of obligation?
Suggestions for relaxed, loving time with children: *Entertain less, attend fewer adult parties *Simplify preparations (Keep it Simple Sweetie) *Cut back on outside commitments *Travel less, visit less, TV less *Relax about decorations, let children help (Children are more important than things) *Make/Buy fewer gifts *Plan meaningful family time/traditions
2. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT GIFTS
Children really do not want to be overindulged. Children really do crave gifts of the heart, focused positive attention. Children need love expressed in more direct ways than material gifts.
3. AN EVENLY PACED HOLIDAY SEASON
HALT: Ask yourself: Am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?
If you answer yes to two of these at one time: Caution, Slow Down.
If you answer yes to three of these at one time: STOP! Red Light.
If you answer yes to four of these at one time: You ran the red light & now are in self-destruct mode.
Enjoy the journey, the moments, the presence is the present.
4. RELIABLE FAMILY TRADITIONS
Imagine the Christmas that makes you & your children feel most fulfilled. Imagine any kind of Christmas you wish as long as it is deeply satisfying.’ What is your dream of what you want Christmas to be? Of all the ways your dream is different from your usual celebrations, which differences are most satisfying for you? Which parts of your dream can you make a reality this Christmas?
CHRISTMAS VALUES CLARIFICATON
Christmas is rich in meaning & we need to decide what is most important. We can plan a Christmas that is in harmony with our deepest beliefs. Number the values in importance with 1 as highest, 10 as lowest:
*Christmas is a time to be a peacemaker with my family. *Christmas is a time to enjoy beign with my immediate family. *Christmas is a time to create a beautiful home environment. *Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. *Christmas is a time to exchange gifts with family & friends. *Christmas is a time for parties, entertaining, and visits. *Christmas is a time to help those less fortunate. *Christmas is a time to strengthen bonds with relatives. *Christmas is a time to strengthen my church community. *Christmas is a time to be relaxed & renewed.
ENJOY YOUR CHILDREN & THE HOLIDAY!
Adapted from: UNPLUG THE CHRISTMAS MACHINE by Robinson & Staeheli THE GIFT OF TIME by Miller & Vanderveen THE DON’T SWEAT GUIDE TO THE HOLIDAYS BY Carlson
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