Most parents I know, throw myself in the bunch, are in a bit of a small panic at this point in the holiday season. –Or so it seems. There are those lucky few that seem very excellent at taking things in measured stride. –You know, those moms you meet that planfully buy things throughout the year. I even have a dear friend who keeps a running spread sheet and does this bold feat. I have other friends who start baking in the beginning of November and have it done, along with lasagna for their Christmas meal just waiting to be pulled out to eat. To some extent, I wish I was like these amazing friends. Yet natural tendencies and a heart and mind that get caught up in the excitement of the holidays, and the daily demands of living, prevent such organization. Yet, even if this be my proclivity or yours, there are things we can all choose to do to make the holidays more meaningful and sane.
There are some wonderful blogs and articles that discuss this very issue. For those who are more into the sacred sense of Christmas and Hannukah, the article “40 Ways to Keep Christmas Simple and Meaningful,” by Victor Parachin offers some inspiring, lovely, and practical ways to keep the sacred and spiritual in Christmas. From reminding the reader of scripture verses to hold on to and encouraging the “spirit of the innkeeper” to rethinking habits; exercising the word ‘no’ to all the shoulds and have to’s that we impose upon our lives this time of year; and doing more to keep it simple, there are some great things here for the traditional Christmas soul. The “Jewish Woman Magazine” offers some tips for keeping Hannukah more meaningful and sane. From tips on establishing limits to suggestions for meaningful gifts, experiences, and sharing of beloved traditions, there are many helpful nuggets for the stressed out Jewish parent. For the more secular family, there are great article and blog offerings to read on this subject. The “Frugal Girl” blog offers some great ideas and ways to maintain a simpler and saner Christmas. In fact , she has a whole series on the subject. One I particularly enjoyed was “Making Christmas Merry, More Experiences, Less Stuff.” She discusses what she remembers most from her childhood. While she recalls liking her stocking and the presents under the tree, what she most cherishes are memories with her grandparents making pfeffernusse and stringing cranberries and popcorn around her tree with her family. Indeed the latest video game and plastic toy may seem exciting, but what lasts are the intangibles: the things we hold meaningful and time well spent with the ones we love making memories…..