In today's fast-paced world, it's so easy to forget and overlook the small things that make life special. With the holidays approaching (Thanksgiving's next week! Can you believe it?!), I'm challenging you all to rekindle that magical holiday spirit that used to pervade this time of year.
A simple, easy and fun way to get that "holiday" feeling going is to focus on family time and traditions. Traditions provide us with stability, identity and continuity - three things that we're all in desperate need of now more than ever. In this age of laptops, ipods and cell phones (and economic instability) it's far too easy to lose touch with what's truly important; but traditions signify that we are to pause, pay attention and enjoy life. They mark happy times and are the basis of lasting memories.
Below are some simple tips that will help to rekindle or even create some wonderful holiday traditions.
1. Talk to your parents and other older relatives about their childhood traditions. See if there are any that you can re-create with your own family.
2. Turn small things into "events". When you're all gathering to watch a favorite Christmas movie, make a pot of hot chocolate and all get in your pajamas. Small changes can make everyday occurrences feel special.
3. Include the kids. Allowing children to help prepare a dish for the Thanksgiving meal or set the Christmas breakfast table will make them feel like an integral part of the celebration.4. Give a gift to others. Though this holiday season is a trying time for many of us with the current state of the economy, it's still wonderful to think about giving back. Donate gently used toys to under-privileged children, give canned goods to a soup kitchen or spend an afternoon with older residents at a nursing home. A gift of your time is often the most precious, and it's a great way to spend time together as a family.
5. No money, no problem. Remember, traditions aren't about spending money, they're about spending time together. One of my favorite childhood holiday traditions was our annual "Christmas ride". A few days before Christmas, we all would pile into the car with a casual "picnic" dinner in tow. We'd wrap ourselves in blankets and put on Christmas music. We would then spend the evening driving around to look at all the beautifully decorated homes. I have such fond memories of all of those rides - I know you and your family will enjoy it as well!
Happy Holidays : )