As the holiday season approaches, I think it is a great time to stop and think about what you hope to get out of it.
I made a list of my favorite FREE family gifts to give during the holidays:
Set a budget and stick to it!!
Even if you don't share with the kids that you over indulged they will feel your stress when it is time to pay the bills. They will especially feel it if it creates conflict between you and your partner. Also, kids know when we are spoiling them and it does not help them appreciate the value of material possessions or money.
'Adopt' a family in need
In my first job out of high school, as a staff we agreed not to do a 'secret Santa' or office gift swap. We elected to 'adopt' a family from a local non-profit. We learned about each of the family members and what they wanted and needed. As a team, we put together a meal and made sure that each member of the family had a gift (even the parents). It was a great team building exercise and I know the family we donated to appreciated that Christmas. It is a great way to remind your family that other families may not have all the 'extras' that you may have and that the needs of others are important.
The gift of being seen.
Randomly assign each member of the family to write down three things about a family member that you admire or appreciate. It is important to make sure these are not superficial things like, "I like your hair." Things like, "I know when I'm having a bad day you will always hug me." Or, "I know that you work hard all day at work because that is part of how you care for our family."
Take care of you.
The holidays are stressful for a lot of reasons; we are spending extra money, we are seeing family we may find difficult, we have cram additional work into fewer days, etc. The of the most caring things we can do for our families during the holidays is to make sure that we have a little down time and self care time so that we can be loving and patient and really enjoy their company.