Oh, the holidays! Do they excite you or make you feel overwhelmed just thinking about them?? As I’ve mentioned before, I am a master planner to make sure I can get everything in, but I get overwhelmed too. As we’ve been leading up to the holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about what that looks like for my family and how I can be more intentional about the holidays.
Having kids makes the holidays (particularly Christmas for me!) so much fun. It is such a magical time of the year. I actually think seeing holidays in the eyes of your children is so much better than it even was when I was a kid. That said, there is a tendency to focus on the stuff that comes along with holidays. What gifts are you buying your kids this year? Are you getting the “It” toy? I get caught up in the excitement because have you ever seen a child light up when opening a gift?! It’s pretty amazing. But how much is “enough?” Isn’t the real magic of the holidays about togetherness and gratitude and thinking of others?
I’ve decided that the best way to make sure the holidays stay about these things is to focus on experiences. Here are some of the ways I plan to do that this holiday season.
- Giving back: We “adopt” two children from an Angel Tree. The idea is that it is one for each of my children so they can help to pick out clothing and gifts for a child just like them that doesn’t have the same resources that we have. We try to get children close in age to our girls so it really drives home the point. We personally donate to organizations as well, but this is a visible way that the girls can see.
- Advent calendar: Instead of candy or things, our advent calendar includes experiences such as watching a holiday movie, reading a book, making a card for a loved one, etc. I’ve been gathering ideas on this.
- Holiday traditions: I love the idea of holiday traditions and we’ve incorporated some traditions into my family that I had as a child. These include making Christmas cookies together, driving around to look at Christmas lights in neighborhoods near us, and decorating the Christmas tree as a family. I remember these activities from my childhood so clearly and they cost almost nothing.
- Limit the gifts: Have you heard of “Want, Need, Wear, Read?” The idea is that the child gets four gifts, something they want, something they need, something they can wear, and something they read (a book/magazine subscription, etc). I’m planning to try this for the girls this year so we don’t go overboard with gifts.
- Random Acts of Kindness: This is something brand new for us, but I came across the Light ‘Em Up movement. The idea is to focus on giving to others in your community in even small ways like leaving a thank you sign for your trash collector on your trashcan or writing a note in chalk for your neighbors on their driveways. I’m super excited to do this and hope the girls get into it too!
Are you intentional about your goals for the holidays too? What do you do to make sure it isn’t about the things?