Slowing down during the holidays may sound about as hard as finding the perfect present in minutes, but it can be done. In fact, it should be a priority. After all, the essence of this joyous season isn’t to crank up the stress, but rather to connect with family and friends, capture the moments of your growing children, and maybe enjoy a cookie or two. Yes, even your dietitian understands the gravitational pull of Christmas cookies and other seasonal sweets. While I may not be able to lure you away from all your traditional treats, I can with that daily Advent calendar chocolate that counts you down to Christmas. Even better, with just a bit of thought, I can help you create those mindful moments and offer alternatives to chocolate-filled Advent calendars. Here are ten tips on how to do it:
#1 Quote of the Day
Post a large piece of paper and markers and let your family share a daily saying. Not only will you likely have a meaningful page of inspiration, friends that come by will likely love it too.
#2 Daily Rose & Thorn
When my kids are struggling to share what’s going on at school, I ask them for a rose (a great thing that happened) and a thorn (a not so great thing) that happened that day. Do this daily to ensure you’re keeping up with each other.
#3 Supporting an Organization
This holiday season, pick an organization to learn about and support. Spend your days working toward gathering items, collecting donations or finding another way to help a meaningful organization meets its mission.
#4 Family Notes
Place a sticky note pad in a central location so that members of your family can write a note to one another every day. Have fun leaving those notes anywhere from in a packed lunch to on someone’s pillow.
#5 Two-Minute Moment
Take two minutes to do something (anything!) that’s important to your family, makes you slow down and gives you a moment to connect. Maybe it’s a mix of every idea listed here or maybe something unique to your crew, but simply “take two” to connect.
#6 Adopt a Family
There is no better way to help your kids understand the importance of the holiday season than to adopt a family that is going through a difficult time this holiday season. Run an errand, cook a meal, provide a present, or do whatever that family needs.
#7 Family Postcards
I must admit that I’m terrible at sending out holiday cards. I think it’s all the planning that goes into creating a “picture perfect” card. Why not a simple postcard that still lets someone know you’re thinking of them? Even better, why not have them written by everyone in your house? Write a card a day to reach out to many people this season.
#8 Music with Dinner
This is likely ideal for your youngest family members (and let’s be honest, a big sacrifice for you!), but if children get to pick the nightly music to enjoy during dinner they will be excited and look forward to this simple shift in your evening routine.
#9 Helping with Other Chores
Encourage your kids to show gratitude this season by helping with a chore that isn’t normally their responsibility. They may learn a thing or two about what others manage and will feel good that they made someone’s tasks a bit easier.
#10 Cooking Together
Plan a meal that the family will love with tasks kids can do and recipes that appeal to everyone.