1. Develop traditions.
Create activities which are special to your family. They need
not be elaborate or costly, but they need to be enjoyable and
reflective of your family. Traditions can be as simple as a
special recipe that everyone associates with the family holiday
to an elaborate vacation or special event in which everybody
participates. Some family holiday meals consist of recipes that
the parents enjoyed when they were children or foods that are
reflective of their culture. The opportunity for everyone to
participate in the preparation of the meal may become part of a
tradition. Traditions may naturally develop around certain
activities such as finding a Christmas tree or they may be
deliberately planned in order to make the holiday special. Once
formed, these traditional activities contribute to a sense of
identity and uniqueness for your children about their family
2. Keep the scope of your plans within the scope of your
resources. Holidays are double duty for most parents. What
parent hasn't wondered where the extra time will come from to
shop, wrap presents, cook, and plan and attend special events?
What parent hasn't wished for that mythical homemaker of the
1950 sitcoms to be dropped on their doorstep to complete all the
family's holiday preparation in a timely manner? Short of
granting that wish, be realistic about the scope of your plans.
If you are hurried and stressed your personal contribution to
your children's holiday may be your short temper and
irritability rather than your patience and enthusiasm.
3. Be sensitive to your children's wishes. This is the time of
year when it's difficult to avoid the many conflicting issues
between parents and children. This is often true when children
become teen-agers and the value of family time changes. Blended
and divorced families pose special challenges for the holidays.
Children often lose the delight and excitement of the holidays
and instead feel the demands of making all their parents happy.
If you anticipate any of these circumstances, plan ahead.
Discuss with your teen-agers how they and you will spend their
time. Communicate with your child's other parent to determine
how your child's time will be spent. For example, two Christmas
celebrations might be fine, but most children will resist two
Thanksgiving dinners. Changing homes late at night on Christmas
eve may be confusing and stressful to young children.
4. Help your children understand the value and the meaning of
the holidays. Don't rely upon others to convey the meaning to
your children; do it yourself. Talking about your own personal
meaning is important. If the holidays are a religious experience
for you, impart that by your religious practice; if it's a
sharing experience, provide your child an opportunity to share;
if it's a predominant family reunion experience, provide a
reunion of family for your child.
5. Finally, have fun yourself. Don't expect perfection. Remember
just as your child doesn't need or want a perfect parent,
neither do they need a perfect holiday... just a good enough day