Days we celebrate include:
Advent ~ began Sunday November 29
Saint Nicholas Day ~ December 6
Santa Lucia Day ~ December 13
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Epiphany or Three Kings Day
What a great number of days to celebrate. How do we keep it sane, meaningful and fun for the children and for ourselves? These are a few tips I have picked up over the years that have made our life more simple and meaningful at the holidays:
- If you have children under the age of ten, stay home, let others come to you.
- Consider requesting or giving gifts that can make a difference and ease financial pressure on a family: a tank of heating oil, an insurance premium payment, a tuition payment
- Consider gifts of service: babysitting, snow shovelling, errand running
- Consider a gift of one big thing, is there something really special your child has been longing for, a season's ski pass? ski school? a kayak? a pair of play stands you want for your child?
- Consider gifts made in the name of the recipient to a charity: Heifer International, Oxfam, Knitting
- Consider gift certificates for lunch, driving, chores, back rubs, walks, a list of books to enjoy with a trip to the library, cleaning up a room, re-organizing a closet
- Consider volunteering at the local soup kitchen, volunteers and meals are usually welcomed
- Consider Christmas carolling at a local home for the elderly
- Consider helping at a Ronald McDonald house or Ronald McDonald room at the local hospital
- Is there a mom with a newborn preemie who needs clothes for her tiny baby and has no support?
Create a time out of time
- Make it a season that lasts forty days. Let this season be a time of spaciousness. Spread the festivities, activities and get togethers over forty days. Festival life has it origins in days where people took time to rest, gather together, sing songs, tell stories and prepare special foods.
- First the " I should" list all things we heap on ourselves to do, to say, to be, then release them, tear them up, burn them, let go of them.
- Then make the " I want" list. How do you envision the holidays? What makes meaning for you? What is realistic? One special moment together, truly present with our children is worth more than lots of hurried, harried events. How can you bring stillness, look inward and set the mood for your children?
My next post will be on the Meaningful. What do you like about the holidays for children? What do you remember from the holidays and your childhood? What traditions do you wish to continue? What do you wish to create?
Until then, Bright Blessings!