We made it through summer, and the cooler weather will be with us for a few months. Although we don’t have snow or color-changing leaves, the cool weather does usher in a series of holidays that make even the moderate climate of Florida feel a little more jolly. As exciting as this time of year is, there is no question that it can get out of control fast. Your kids are out of school. Parties and festivals are happening everywhere you turn. Some of you will have your family visit, or you’ll be traveling to visit family, and in the midst of all of the excitement, you’ll start to feel a little out of sorts.
It seems like this is the natural order of things. Every year we party from mid-October through January first, and then we all crash and work hard to get back to a regular schedule. But, we have some good news. It doesn’t have to be like that this year. It’s so easy to get swept up in the rushing tide of the holidays, but this year can be different.
The word boundaries has become much more prevalent in pop culture these days. There is no better time to institute boundaries than around the holiday season. Here are some things you can do to survive and thrive through this holiday season.
Between your kids, friends, family, and work, there are a lot of activities to keep up with this year. I have good news for you! You don’t have to say yes to everything. Before we get deep into the season, take some time with your family to set some ground rules for the number of activities in which you’re willing to participate. Start with the number of things you want to do in a week or a weekend, and then prioritize the invitations based upon other important factors. Perhaps family events are higher on the list than work events, or kid-friendly activities are more important than adult cocktail parties. However you set priorities is up to you, but the important thing is that they reflect your family, and you stick with them.
Maintain A Routine
We all love movie nights with the kids and mornings lounging around in our pajamas! The fall and winter holidays are a great time to relax and enjoy your family. But, the lack of schedule can make it difficult for your kids who thrive on routine. Not to mention the effect too many off-kilter days can have on your family’s reintroduction into the post-holiday world. We recommend that you do your best to maintain some routine during the holidays. Start with keeping up with your bedtime and morning routines. When your days are full and hectic, it helps maintain consistency by bookending the busy parts with dependable activities. This time is also an excellent opportunity to lean into chores to remind kids that we all still have responsibilities to the family unit, even during the holidays.
Set Boundaries Around Gifting
Do you know what can get out of hand quickly during the holidays? Gifts. In just a few short weeks, your house will explode with extra toys and gadgets if you’re not careful. Nothing brings joy like watching your children open presents on Christmas morning, but it’s easy for that to get out of control. Sit down with your spouse and talk about what your family’s boundaries will be around gifting. Does Santa bring gifts? Do mom and dad give gifts? Should you give practical gifts like books and clothing or fun gifts like toys and electronics. Once you have set boundaries for your family around holiday gifting, tell grandparents and aunts and uncles so they can get on board.
Eat Healthy When Possible
You know how you feel after a holiday season of eating way too many desserts. Remember that your kids feel the same way but often don’t have the sense to stop themselves before they gorge themselves. Baking cookies and going to holiday parties are fun, and we don’t expect you to take that away from your kids, but it’s a good idea to compensate with healthy meals. Fill your kids up with fruits, vegetables, and proteins to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need, and then you won’t feel quite so bad about them overindulging in the sweet stuff to some degree.
Relax And Enjoy
There are parenting tips for every occasion and the holidays are no exception. As parents, you are doing your best to balance fun and frivolity with routine and good health, but remember that you’re not going to do it perfectly every time. Do your best to maintain your sanity through this busy season and give yourself the time to relax and enjoy your kids. Most families will have fewer than 20 Christmases with their children before they fly the nest. Enjoy them while you can!
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the holidays can distract us from what we’re celebrating. At St. Barnabas, we believe that the birth of Jesus is the best reason to celebrate. So, whether you attend 20 Christmas parties or none, or whether you have a quiet Christmas with lots of boundaries or a busy one, what matters is that you turn back to what matters most. For more information about what we believe or for information about joining our community, contact our office.