The holidays should be a joyful time, not a stressful time! Use these tips to beat holiday stress and create a truly meaningful holiday season for your family.
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Growing up, my parents gave me the gift of simple yet meaningful holidays. They created family traditions that were designed to focus on gratitude and giving, and spending time together as a family.
Simplify to Create a Meaningful Holiday Season
Here are things I do to make Christmas easy for ME:
- No fancy meals. There is plenty of excitement around Christmas, and I don’t love to cook.
- Simple gifts. We buy one family gift that the four kids share, and then they draw names and each child buys one gift for one sibling. The kids open their family gift (usually playmobil sets divided up) day by day using this advent calendar.
- Early Christmas shopping. This is easy with a simple gift list! Stockings will have some Hershey’s kisses, probably an orange, and any handmade gifts we get made.
Create a Meaningful Holiday Season by Prioritizing Family Time
I work hard to prioritize family time during the holiday season! Here are some of our favorite ways to prioritize family.
- Get all the preparation done early so we aren’t spending December running errands!
- Spend time together singing Christmas Carols and listening to Christmas music.
- Read Christmas-themed books together using our Picture Book Advent Calendar.
- Go on walks to admire Christmas lights.
- Read stories from past copies of our family Christmas Book.
Create a Meaningful Holiday Season by Giving to Others
Giving to others is such a wonderful way to make the holidays meaningful! Here are some things we do:
- Get our family into the holiday spirit by focusing on gratitude throughout November.
- Pick organizations to make donations to (here is a list of several we like that you may not have heard of!)
- Have the kids draw names and then create or purchase gifts for their assigned sibling.
- Help out at church and with any other opportunities we can find in the community. There will be more community opportunities as the kids get older.
Meaningful Family Christmas Traditions from my Childhood
Are you looking for more ideas? These Christmas traditions are ways my parents made the holiday season meaningful when I was growing up.
- Singing, playing, and listening to Christmas music together.
- My dad reading the Nativity story out loud on Christmas Eve while kids acted it out wearing simple Nativity costumes sewn by my mom.
- Keeping Christmas gifts intentionally simple, both to focus on the meaning behind the holiday and to finance projects for others. I remember one year my parents decided to spend most of our Christmas money on a donation for a friend whose son needed an operation on his face.
- Having us each draw the name of one sibling to give a gift. We still draw names every year. Gifts are sometimes simple, sometimes extravagant, and always very appreciated!
- Skipping fancy Christmas dinners and sticking to easy, simple meals that day.
Because my parents did such a wonderful job of creating a fairly simple yet meaningful Christmas, it has been pretty easy for me to create a meaningful holiday season for my own family!
How do you create meaningful holidays for your family?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.