2020, will our holidays be different?
2020, the year everything is a little different, even the holidays! What have we learned from the year of Covid-19? I hope we have learned that “things” are not as important as relationships…that simple is more rewarding than elaborate….that respect of feelings different than our own is essential….that perfection is never a realistic option….that gratefulness brings optimism, diminishes stress/anxiety and fuels joy….and that everyone deserves a little grace!
This year, promise yourself to enjoy the season and its magic with your child….here are a few suggestion that might help your level of holiday stress. Share your tips with us too!
- Set priorities. Sit down and discuss which traditions, decorations, gatherings truly matter to you and your family. Sometimes more fun results from doing less!
- Discuss family gatherings. Consider if you need and want to host family gatherings this year, and if so discuss what your plan is for safety or be creative in your celebration. Will you celebrate virtually with extended family? Will you limit the size of your gathering? Will you be able to spend time outside? Make a plan and communicate, and then give respect and grace to everyone who has different feelings than you. Those feelings are not wrong, just different. We must be comfortable with OUR decisions.
- Stop negative thoughts. If you find yourself feeling inadequate or thinking that you are letting others down remind yourself that your little one is who is most important. You are a Mom or Dad first! End each day with what you are grateful for…no matter how small. Gratefulness results in optimism and joy.
- Keep a sense of humor. Even the worst holiday disasters have the makings of great family memories. Everything looks more perfect when looking back! “Remember 2020” will be a phrase repeated in all of our lives for many years to come.
- Keep your child’s age and temperament in mind when planning the schedule. Do not schedule too many special events in a row. Try to be sure that your child has quiet time or “down time”. Touch can calm stress in a child and you.
- Shop online. Buy the same gift for as many people as possible. (Think picture gifts…your child’s smiling face is the perfect gift for so many!) Think about limiting your gift list now. What about a family name draw? White elephant gift? Shopping takes patience even online! This is the perfect year to scale back and place priorities in the correct places.
- A visit to Santa may have to be creative! This may look very different this year. Be creative. Maybe a visit to Santa at a distance, via Zoom, or enlist a “Santa” that you know! Remember, many children age 7 months through age 4 are reluctant to visit closely with Santa anyway! The magic of Santa does not have to include a visit! Read about him, tell stories about him, allow your child’s imagination to work. Photo shop Santa into a picture in your home….your child will be amazed. www.icaughtsanta.com Love this website!!!
- Make 5 dozen of the same kind of cookie rather than 5 different types of cookies. Concentrate on the people rather than objects. It is more important to have fun making cookies than have beautiful cookies. Your child will not remember if the cookies they decorated were homemade or store bought, they will only remember that they decorated them and the fun surrounding it!
- Make your tree child friendly! I am often asked if I think a tree is worth it when there are active toddlers in the house. ABSOLUTELY, remember family traditions glue your family together. Make your tree family friendly. Decorate it from your child’s eye level down with safe unbreakable ornaments with plastic hooks. Let your child explore those ornaments. (Our tree was redecorated from 2 feet down on many days! That is what made it so beautiful!)
- Don’t expect perfection from yourself, your child or your extended family. Family visits are not times to reform your nieces and nephews or discuss parenting views! Your child is your responsibility! Any comparisons of children are not important. If your child or you is criticized, ignore it but if you or your child is complimented…enjoy! Do not pick battles with family members during gatherings, those battles are seldom worth it to you or your child. Be flexible!
- Exercise, breathe, get fresh air, sleep, remember to eat well and take a break each day. End each day with a positive thought about your day and the plans for tomorrow.
- Include your child in holiday activities—it creates roots, bonds, and traditions that will strengthen your family and will create joy and many memories. Appreciate the moments, they are but a moment!
What are your tips to enjoy the holidays in 2020?
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.