Rekindling Your Holiday Spirit

By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

The holiday season is upon us. And for many it is accompanied by a hectic pace, bah humbug attitudes, and the holiday blues. Spouses cringe at the thought of spending a portion of the holiday season arguing with the family or long hours traveling to have dinner with relatives. Visions of children being let out of school for three weeks, with the weather turning too cold for them to be outside have some parents shuddering in anticipation of long days and short fuses. For many people the holidays have lost their appeal and the reason for the season has become wrapped more in frustration, greed, and disappointment than in joy and generosity. 

Is it time to rekindle your holiday spirit? Are you in need of bringing some life, meaning, and enthusiasm to you and your family's holiday season this year? If so, it's not too late to implement a few of the inspirational ideas suggested below.

1.  Slow down and enjoy the moment.
Repeat the following phrase 20 times a day to yourself beginning now and continuing through the New Year. "I relax into the flow of life and I let life provide all that I need easily and comfortably."  Do this faithfully every day and you will be amazed at the results.

2.  Donate some time and energy to a charity.
Giving brings out a special part in all of us. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or help deliver food baskets. Your giving will be rewarded with inner feelings of peace and comfort.

3.  Make your own holiday cards to mail to friends and family.
Involve your entire family in designing and coloring a holiday picture for your card. Agree on a saying or text message you want to add. Take it to a Kinko's or Office Max and have it made into your personalized holiday greeting that includes envelopes to match.

4.  Take a unique and creative holiday picture of you or your family.
The popularity of the serious family photo used on a greeting card seems to be increasing. As a fun change of pace, why not surprise your family and friends with a unique or silly photo of you and your children? How about a group picture of the family's bare feet or a close-up picture of each family member's belly button with a contest to see who can match the belly button to the right person? The idea here is to be creative and have fun.

5.  Bake cookies or bread and make a personal delivery to a few friends.
Bake as a family. Wrap as a family. And deliver as a family. The personal delivery adds a connecting link between your family and the recipient. It is an effective way to remember that being with someone is as important as doing for someone. 

6.  Record five holiday songs sung by the family or kids and send it to Grandma.
Grandma, Grandpa, or Aunt Julie will enjoy singing along with your family's rendition of some of the holiday classics. You never know, your family could be the next Partridge family.

7.  Give a turkey or ham to five needy families.
Find a need and fill it. Your heart will be filled along the way and your children will learn a valuable lesson in charity.

8.  Attend a holiday concert or festival of music.
Holiday music fills the heart and soul with memories of childhood, friends, family rituals, and special events. Allow your heart to open to the music of the holidays. Let it soothe your soul and let yourself be moved by its presence within you.

9.  Make your own ornaments.
Decorate pine cones. Shape Play-Doah and let it dry.  Make chains of green and red construction paper. Buy Styrofoam balls and paint them with glitter, glue, and string. Decorate cookies. The ideas are limitless; flow with it.

10.  Go on a "light seeing" tour.
Jump in the car with the family and go on a neighborhood "light seeing" tour. When you get home encourage each person to talk about which light display he or she liked best and have them tell why. Take a different "light seeing" tour each night.

11.  Make your own wrapping paper.
Trace cookie-cutter shapes onto large sheets of white paper, and color and paint the shapes as desired. Or cut sponges into holiday shapes and sponge-paint designs. Use that paper to wrap your holiday gifts.

12.  Decorate a tree outside for the animals.
During the winter months many animals find it difficult to locate nutritious foods to eat. By stringing orange rings, apple rings, and carrots and placing them on a tree outside you create a beautiful tree that helps the wildlife survive a difficult time of the year.

13.  Give the kids disposable cameras and allow them to take one picture each day from December 1 to January 1. 
Finding the right picture to take can be a learning process for each person, young and old. Encourage them to search for something that is meaningful about each day on a personal level. Follow up in January by printing the pictures. Each person can then create their own countdown calendar to use during next year's holiday season.

Remember, it is you who creates the reason for the season. It is up to you to take charge and make it the holiday season you desire. Happy Holidays!

About the Authors:
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They also publish a FREE e-mail newsletter for parents and another for educators. Subscribe to them when you visit www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com.  Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. For more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today.