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.