For many, the holiday season is a stressful time of juggling work, family and social commitments, making it difficult to savour the moments that make this time of year so special. Here are a few tips to help ease the stress and make the holiday season a meaningful time for you and your family:
Slow down – Talk to your family and find out what events, traditions and activities are important to them.. Make these the priority and mark them on the calendar.
Share the memories – Ask the older members of your family to share their memories of what holidays were like for them in years gone by. Maybe they had a tradition that you can adopt for your children or grandchildren.
Give the gift of memories – Make this the year you finally digitize old family movies and slides to create a treasured gift for children and grandchildren, aunts and cousins. Get into the spirit of the project by using free software to create title pages, captions, credits and even a sound track for your movie or slide show.
Start a new family tradition – Attend a special holiday event together, spend a day cutting your own tree, book tickets to a special theatre production or an evening of holiday music, or take a drive to Niagara Falls to see the Festival of Lights.
Take some shortcuts – Instead of stressing over holiday baking, ask a few friends to make extra batches of their specialties, and then arrange a cookie swap so you each end up with a platter of assorted treats. Or, shop the bake sales at local bazaars for homemade treats that benefit a worthwhile cause. When making your own treats, try doing it in stages – make a few batches of dough one day, label it with cooking instructions and freeze to bake as needed. Use holiday cookie cutters to create festive shapes for simple dinner biscuits, cheese cut-outs for cheese trays and pastry cut-outs for pies.
Set a deadline – Set limits on your holiday preparations by giving yourself a deadline. After that date, be content with what’s under the tree or in the fridge and enjoy the season.
Keep in touch with family and friends – Schedule a video conference or Skype session during family get-togethers so everyone can chat with distant loved ones.
Don’t forget the thank-you – When you or your children receive a gift from distant loved ones, snap a picture of you or the children with the gift and send it by email or snail mail as a thank you card.
Give back – Take time out of your busy schedule to spend a couple of hours with someone who could use some holiday cheer. The season can be a lonely time for shut-ins. Arrange to take someone you know for a drive to see the holiday lights around town. Or, visit a senior in a nursing home and take a homemade treat or small holiday plant.
Share an experience – Instead of spending money on material items, give the gift of a shared experience – an traditional English high tea afternoon, a night at the theatre, dinner or lunch out. Instead of exchanging gifts with close friends, suggest a weekend getaway to beat the winter blahs. Everyone pays their own way – the gift is taking time out of busy lives to spend with each other.
By taking a step back and making a few changes, you might enjoy a less stressful, meaningful holiday season.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE STAFF OF HOMESERVICE CLUB!