Healthy Holidays – Holiday Survival


Dreading the upcoming holiday season? 

The holidays are supposed to feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas holidays provide an incredible opportunity to connect with family and friends, reflect on the year, and build new memories in this special season. The holiday season can also feel busy, rushed, and can bring up a variety of emotions both for children and parents.

The key to thriving, not just surviving, during the holiday season is remembering the reason for the season. The reason of this magical season is to share and give love. Teaching these values to our children helps us stay focused on what is most important. It’s easy for our children to focus on what they are going to get, instead of what they can give this time of year. Instead of focusing on getting, we can refocus our families on giving. Giving helps our children set the right expectations for the holiday season. 

Let’s explore some giving ideas together :

  • Family Acts of Kindness – Challenge each family member to do one act of kindness for each other.
  • Family Sentimental Gift Exchange – In addition to your gift giving traditions, have family members draw names and make something sentimental. The only rule is the item must be created and not purchased.
  • Family Baking Challenge – Have each family member write down their favorite Christmas recipe. Plan a day of making the recipes together.

Giving keeps our hearts focus on love, as the reason for the season. In addition to focusing our hearts and minds on love, here a few practical tips for thriving in the holiday season:

  • Schedule Rest – Holiday seasons can feel full. Schedule time for yourself and your children to unwind and decompress on a daily basis.
  • Prioritize Quality Time – Focus on quality time instead of quantity time. If your family has more time off it’s easy to get busy with sporting events, shopping, playdates, and technology. Be intentional about planning family time together every day- even if it’s only for a meal, movie, or game.
  • Manage Expectations – Be aware of the expectations of each family member. Communicate a group plan beforehand so everyone is on the same page. Be mindful of not enforcing parental expectations on what you hope your children will enjoy.
  • Manage Technology – Provide clear expectations for screen time over the holiday break. Consider screen time activities such as movies or multiplayer games that build connections and involve the whole family too.
  • Get Outside – Plan activities to get some fresh air and exercise.
  • Emotional Attunement – The holiday season can bring up various emotions for all of us. Be aware of and seek to validate your emotions and the emotions of family members. Instead of pressing through the schedule, seek to understand and meet the needs of family members.
  • Make Memories – Work with your children to develop meaningful holiday traditions that honor your unique values and spiritual beliefs.

Written By:

Joel Pukalo

Registered Psychologist

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