There’s life, and then there’s life during
Xmas the holidays. It frustrates amazes me how every year, without fail, no matter how focused I am on keeping my sanity holiday cheer, I get caught up in the pandemonium hustle and bustle of holiday activities that, like it or not, have become our family tribulations traditions.
I do love this time of year! Let’s see, in no order of importance, here is what I will add to our already busy lives: a trip to the tree farm, folding origami cranes and stringing popcorn/cranberries to decorate the tree, holiday parade downtown, picking kiwis at the local U-pick, making tamales, snow night downtown, baking and decorating sugar cookies, lighted boat parade, making and sending holiday cards, building a gingerbread house, stringing lights outside, hosting and attending various holiday parties, shopping, making lists and checking them twice, and then somewhere mixed into all that…teaching the kids values.
Okay, teaching values is a year-round endeavor, however, the holiday season is perfect for stressing the importance of giving rather than getting, sharing over keeping, and spending more time with loved ones instead of spending more money. Any family with young children knows that planning ahead is key, which is why I am a fan of the Advent Calendar, aka the Countdown.
We, as a family, think of 25 different ways to help or be kind to others and each other. Once the ball gets rolling, the kids contribute so many creative ideas. Last year’s deeds included watering a neighbor’s flowers, sending a drawing to a distant relative, baking and delivering cookies, reading to a younger sibling, and saying aloud something you love about your brothers and sisters. Then we decorate a poster board Christmas tree with 25 ornament spaces. Each day the kids get to uncover an ornament to see what kind gesture is in store, and I can honestly say that they look forward to this! By the end, the tree looks beautifully decorated, and I feel good that they were involved in giving, sharing, and spending time.