The holiday season is a special time of the year. Not only because we can finally binge watch Christmas movies on Netflix but also because it brings joy and love. Since antiquity, people have been celebrating this time of the year and one can feel the thousands of years of mirth. But Maybe some things got lost along the way…
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The holiday season is around the corner and for many, it looks like an endless to-do list:
bake biscuits (with messy yet helpful kids)
find good presents (not delivery hopefully, it’s not good for the planet)
wrap the presents (with some mysterious Japanese method you saw in a video once)
send out invitations (everyone needs to see you before the New Year!)
put up the decorations (maybe you already did)
prepare the actual Christmas party (or the 3 actual Christmas parties depending on your family and the regulation)
finish the school program in time (I’m sure plenty put that one under the carpet! I know I sometimes do)
Last week, I told you how you can make the best of your children’s autonomy to help you reduce stress and enjoy the holiday. This week, I want to give you a chance to make sure this Christmas you’re planning and organizing is the one you truly want.
The Dream Christmas You Want
I don’t know about your Christmas fantasy, but here is mine. And yes, it is very much inspired by my very own Swiss culture!
It’s the holiday season. You and your family are sitting by the fire, playing a board game, and drinking hot cocoa. Everybody is laughing and has red cheeks because you were outside the whole day playing in the snow. The house smells like chimney fire, biscuits, and cinnamon. There is a big bowl of oranges on the table and there are many little lights and candles everywhere. It is cozy and welcoming. For the first time in a while, you have a moment to be with your children, they can see you relax and enjoy life. This is just what you’ve been dreaming.
Despite the fantasy of the perfect Christmas day, we still have 17 other days of December to enjoy during this exciting pre-Christmas time, let’s not throw them all away!
Do You Know Why?
Children won’t remember their gifts in 20 years, but the quality time you spend with them will forever be in their heart.
It is not a myth or a romantic idea: we are the sum of everything we experienced.
Take a few moments and visualize that your children are now grown-ups:
what kind of person have they become?
what are they doing for the Holidays?
what feelings are they having around that time?
how are they with their own kids?
what values are they bringing to this world?
It is you, and it is now, that you create that future for them. Not all of it of course, as children tend to have a personality of their own (how dare they?). But, we tend to recreate what we experienced as children, even when we’re trying real hard to do the exact opposite as our parents, we are influenced by our memories, our family values, our culture, and our beliefs.
How Was Your Childhood Christmas?
Do you think that you divorced yourself completely from your parents and your childhood? Take a moment to dive back into your memories. The first that will come back will be the ones associated with the strongest feelings. Is it joy and excitement? There can be negative feelings too, fear or anger for instance. Some Christmases you might find hard to remember while others are extremely vivid. For me, I couldn’t tell you what we did for Christmas the year I lost my dad when I was 14. My guess is that it must not have been very joyful, but it could have been. I simply can’t remember a thing.
Back to your exercise. Let those strong, vivid memories flood over you, and then try hard to remember.
- What did your house smell like?
- What was your favorite game?
- What music was playing (or maybe there was no music?)
- What is a thing that a friend’s family did that you found weird or exciting? What did you do that other families would find strange or exciting?
- Was it cold or warm? Dark or light?
- What does Christmas tastes like for you?
And, once you have all your childhood memories back, can you tell what you kept for your own adult celebration? Is it the same and you kept celebrating with your parents the way you always did? Or, did you add some of your husband’s family traditions? Maybe you created new ones (and if so, you can wonder what values are behind them).
As you can see, what you are doing today will have an impact on your children as grown-ups. It’s neither negative nor positive, but if you feel that you are not celebrating Christmas the way you’d truly love in your heart, now would be a good time to step back and figure out what is truly important. I realized that I wanted our Christmas to be more simple, more loving, and centered around family rather than expensive toys and cheap decorations. Our decorations might be less shiny, but they are so much more authentic, and were made with care.
What is it that truly matters to you?
Take A Step Back
Breathe in, breathe out… let the Christmas frenzy at your doorstep and keep the right values to make sure you will be as happy as you deserve this Christmas. Do not think about others, their expectations and demands. We are looking at YOUR needs. Your family can only have the best Christmas if you do too!
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Winter is the season of standby. It is the moment of the year where we can learn valuables lessons from our experiences, successes and mistakes. Winter is the season where buds are slowly growing in the trees, even if we don’t see them yet. Implementing this mindset brings a lot of joy and peace of mind, try and you’ll see!
A Short Reflection Can Have A Big Impact
You can’t go back in time and change the way things were done. We all accept that and keep on living. But what you do today, and what you will do tomorrow, that is up to you.
You can decide which memories you give your children, what values you want to share with them, what kind of parent you want to be, what kind of children you want them to be, and what adults you want them to become.
Winter is the time of reflection and for new things to be born. It means your family story can take a new, unexpected path. A path where you think about your family before thinking about shopping, wrapping presents, and running around trying to accomplish everything on your endless to-do list.
It’s winter, take it easy! enjoy, and let the others stress and run.
A Couple Of Ideas For You And Your Family
Build the Christmas tree decorations together instead of buying them.
Go for a walk instead of watching TV.
play a board game instead of doing home-school.
Create new and fun traditions.
Let the kids bake the cookies, even if they look terrible!
Ask the kids to craft/cook/create Christmas presents for their loved ones.
Read a Christmas story instead of watching a movie.
Try to see moments with your children as a blessing instead of a tiring chore. It should be our frantic world, that stresses you out, not your kids.
Thanks for reading this article! As always, I hope it gave you some line of thoughts to explore as well as ideas to act and create a positive change in your life.
Don’t let the inspiration fades and take action right away:
I wish you all the best with your kids, always remember that we all do the best we can at a given moment and don’t judge yourself harshly. Be confident and listen to your intuition. If what you do comes from a place of love, then you’re on the right path.
See you next week for another exciting article!