Creating Holiday Memories

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

– Helen Keller

During the holidays when my kids were little, I tried to create lasting memories by buying the perfect presents, baking the best cookies, and adorning the house with the most beautiful decorations. Although my heart was in the right place, I would get stressed and sometimes take it out on my family – the very people for whom I was trying to create a magical and warm experience! Over the years, though, what I learned is that holiday memories are not made with “stuff;” they are made with people. So if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed during the holidays trying to make “perfect” memories, consider these ideas:

  1. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change” – Carl Rogers. Try to accept that your holiday season will not be perfect. Create memories, not perfection.
  2. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Dwight Edwards.  Don’t compare your family to others. Yes, the neighbors might have Christmas lights that are arranged perfectly while yours are swaying in the wind; give yourself credit for decorating. Besides, those dangling lights might make for a funny memory that your family will talk about for years to come in a good-humored way.
  3. There must be more to life than having everything.” – Maurice Sendak. We had a “three-present rule” in our house that went like this: Jesus only got three presents so that’s what each person in our household will get. My young adult daughter recently said that while she hated the rule as a kid, in retrospect it made her aware of the materialism that pervades our holidays. Fortunately, I didn’t get stressed about this rule; I just blamed it on the Three Wise Men.
  4. “Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” – Phyllis Diller.  During the holidays, trying to keep your house clean can be a killer. Straighten up as best you can and then clean thoroughly after the holidays. I doubt that anyone’s memories will be about how spotless you kept the bathroom during Christmas.

These are just a few suggestions to make the holidays more enjoyable; I’m sure you can come up with some of your own. And before you know it, the new year will be upon us, the holidays will be over, and new memories will have been created for you and your family to enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

by Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator


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