There is a lot of pressure on this season. Whether it’s pressure to make the perfect memory, pressure to buy the perfect gift, pressure to host the perfect family gathering, or pressure to make tight finances stretch far past where they normally could, the holiday season asks a lot of us.
Because of that, it can be hard to actually feel like you’re in the spirit of the holiday season. Especially if you’re a parent, trying to make it magical for your child! Everything can feel high pressure when you’re trying to give your little ones good holiday memories and build traditions with them, but all of that pressure–on top of everything you’re already balancing as a parent–is more likely to burn you out as it is to actually make the holiday season feel special.
Remember, what your child wants most is to spend meaningful time with you! There is a lot of emphasis on the consumer aspect of the season, but stepping back and simplifying can help you regain some of that feeling of holiday magic, and truly pass it along to your kids.
How can you do that? Here are 5 ways to get started:
Tap into your favorite memories from the holiday season:
Think back to things you enjoyed as a child during this time of year. Yes, presents are exciting_what child doesn’t love a new toy!–but do you remember the presents you got or the fun you had playing with them more? Release the pressure to buy the most expensive toy, the biggest toy, the trendiest toy, or as many toys as your budget allows and think more about the experience you’re giving your child. Scale back the number of gifts and scale up the time spent on the part that matters–playing and spending time with your child.
Do a no-post holiday:
Consumerism isn’t the only thing that lends pressure to the season. While social media can be great for so many things, it’s also a space where we can easily fall into the comparison trap. When someone posts their picture-perfect holiday, it can almost feel like you’re competing for who did the holidays best. Instead, wait until the holidays are over to go through the pictures you took and see how happy they make you when they’re tools for memory and community instead of a tool to prove how wonderful your family time was.
Focus on the fun you can create instead of the fun you can pay for! While there are probably lots of paid events happening all around this season, remember the amount of joy someone gets from something is not from the amount of money you spent on it. Can you take the pressure off and have a day (or more) where you and your family stay in your pajamas and focus on the magic you already have? You can make cookies together, or paper snowflakes, or better yet let your kids take the lead on the craft. Let them be holiday craft captain and just go along for the ride! You don’t need to go out and buy fancy decorations, ask them how they would like to decorate! Can you make things together?
Give secondhand and homemade:
Gift pressure is so much of what makes up the holiday season, but did you know that most of the time, it’s the giver who is putting that pressure on themselves? Most people are actually very happy to receive handmade or secondhand gifts! You can make presents with your kids, or get creative with meaningful secondhand items, like this idea where you wrap your favorite books with a personal note on why you think the receiver would like them! Not only is this a creative money saving idea, but it’s also a wonderful practice in mindfulness and gratitude–taking time to look around what you already posses, think about what object of yours would be meaningful for someone else, and giving you intentional time to reflect on those relationships. Those are the kinds of gifts that become memories!
Remember the holidays are just a small part of the year:
Yes you want the holidays to feel magical for your children, but remember: if it’s coming at the expense of the quality of time you get to spend with them other times of the year, the price is too high! Release the pressure to be perfect this one small time of year and try instead to be present all year long.