Surviving the Holidays

I see alot of people who are very ernest about trying to provide for their children the magic of Christmas they remember…with little success.  Most often, they comment on the stress of trying to do all those things they recalled from their childhood…making cookies, driving around to see lighting decorations, attending school parties and preformances…aside from their own obligations…office parties, church functions, shopping, wrapping, cooking, etc.

Here is an important thought to consider for reducing stress, at least some of it and at least that part of it connected to trying to give your children a special Christmas…

Memory is cumulative…

You have a childhood of memories that you draw on when you think about the Christmas you’d like to give your children.  All the Christmas’ you had since you could remember….age 1, age 2, age 3, age 4…  You think about all these memories when the holidays get close and, my impression, people think they must create all these activities so their children will have these memories.  THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!  You can’t recreate all those activities, of your childhood, in one holiday season.  Besides, you can’t control what your children will remember even if you do recreate some of your childhood activities.

Stop trying to recreate your childhood Christmas activities that you recall believing your child will remember them as you did.  Accept the fact that your child will remember what they remember of Christmas, good or bad (hopefully good).  And, instead, focus on creating one or two activities that your child might remember…letting the rest go until next year.

This year, I have focused on two activities to do with my daughter, making those peanut-butter cookies with the chocolate kisses in the middle and driving around and looking at Christmas lights.  If I do more, fine.  If I don’t do more…also FINE.  This allows me to let go of all those other expectations, focus on just one things at a time, go to the obligation-required activities(church, school, etc) and not push and stress her and myself out because I’M not living up to MY expectations about HER Christmas.

One other thing…this method requires that you have faith in yourself and your children to remember the good you have provided in the past at Christmas.  You need to believe in what you have tried to do in terms of providing a good Christmas in the past or you will to chasing your tail forever.  Likewise, you must allow your children to have the memories they have…good and bad.  You can’t change a bad memory of a Christmas past.  You can try and influence a new memory in the future.

More later…

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