Nifty vs. Thrifty

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Creating special memories during the holiday season

How do you want your children to remember the holidays during their childhood? The holidays are right around the corner. In fact, there's only 9 weeks til Christmas. Can you believe it? The stores are filled with beautiful items, your neighbors' house looks festive and fun, and commercials are showing the excitement of gift giving. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the materialism of the holidays and forget what it's really about.

I have to admit, some of my favorite memories of the holidays as a child do include the synthesizer I wanted so badly and the cabbage patch kid doll that I got from Santa. But the memories I treasure most are the ones that include family traditions and activities.

My mother is very creative and crafty when it came to these ideas. She started a few traditions for our family that did not involve money or possessions. One of my favorite traditions was a tree decorating activity. We put a different ornament on the tree representing something special that had happened that year. Our ornaments include everything from a mini diploma to a smashed up matchbox car (my sister was in an auto accident and everyone was ok but we couldn't think of anything else!) We keep a list tracking each year and the ornament we chose to represent that year. We always decorate the tree as a family and reminisce about all the years passed. I'm sure there were many years when I was a teenager that I complained about this tradition (isn't that my job as a teenager??) Overall, this tradition tends to bring a few tears and many laughs. But most of all, building happy memories as a family every holiday season.

When I met my husband, he shared with me his favorite holiday memories with his family. Every year his family gets together at a fire hall on Thanksgiving and many relatives come from all over for this special event. They share food, laughs and say a lovely grace. Then, the fun begins. Everyone gets their guitars, drums, they hook up the amps and begin playing music together. Family members of every age join in and contribute to the fun weather it's dancing, singing or just listening. It's so wonderful to see everyone having so much fun with one another and enjoying the holiday.

When planning your holidays, make a list of what you want the holidays to be like. Think about what your family enjoys and how to incorporate that into your festivities. Are you musical? Crafty? Do you enjoy cooking? Giving to a soup kitchen for the homeless?? How do you want your children to remember their holidays as a child?

When it seems easier to buy an expensive gift than to force your back talking teenager to have a family night, think of what the holidays are really about and what your kids will remember fondly as an adult. Keep it simple and create the holidays that you want. The memories are pricelss.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is your home a reflection of your happiness??

Does your home reflect your life? Is the space you live in organized or cluttered? Do you feel relaxed in your own home?

Recently, I was watching a special on hoarders. There were people on the show who had lost control of their homes and were living in pure filth and chaos. There were items, clothes, and trash everywhere piled waist high. I felt so sorry for these people as they shared their story. Most of these people had an incredibly difficult time letting go of something in their life and this had manifested into not wanting to let go of physical things. I realize that the average american is not living like this but it did make me think about how our environment can reflect what's going on inside us.

First of all, I strongly feel that we should show respect to our physical things and take care of the things that matter to us. If we take good care of our things they will last a long time and be good to us. This is a lesson that I often teach to children that I work with but one that all of us should remember as well.

Next, if you are someone who often accumuates clutter, ask yourself what it is you are afraid of letting go of? Remember that clutter encourages fear (ie. what if I need that?).

Finally, think about different areas of your home and how you want to feel when you enter those places. If you are working on bettering your relationship with a spouse, take a look at your bedroom and make sure that it is a comfortable, relaxing, peaceful place to be. If not, use softer lights, add fabrics to windows, and light a candle with a great scent. How do you feel when you enter your house? Get rid of any dead plants or broken chimes and make your entrance one that is welcoming. Incorporate different elements of nature into your home (ie. wood, metal, fire, and water) to provide a balanced energy and relaxed atmosphere. To learn more about these ideas, you can research Feng Shui which plunges deeper into these concepts. Overall, remember that your home is your sancuary and a place for you to feel happy and alive. Ask yourself, what do you need from your home and is it serving it's purpose for you? Hopefully, asking yourself these questions and making some adjustments can help you make your space a productive one for you and your family.