I thought it would be helpful between now and the end of December to share some tips for making the holidays happy and meaningful.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to cram “the holidays” and all that they entail and cost into only a few weeks, you’ll wind up robbing those around you of joy instead of giving it to them. This goes double with kids, whose expectations and wishes can be unmatchable. This year, commit to prioritizing and planning purposefully, and start early.

Last week, I shared some time management tips to help you get through the holiday season with a solid game plan in place. This week, I’ve got a few general tips that touch on making the holidays more meaningful for kids and family:

1. Give your kids a memorable experience. Instead of showering them with a pile of this year’s “it” clothes, toys, and electronics (which, let’s face it, will probably be collecting dust by the end of the school year), give your kids the gift of a meaningful experience. Chances are, your family will remember an event that reinforces values and makes them feel special. (More next week on how to do this!)

2. Don’t overstimulate your kids. These days, the typical kid has more than just visions of sugarplums dancing in his head. He’s thinking about toys, movies, video games, vacations, and food…and that’s just for starters. Yes, the holidays are an extravaganza for all five senses, but by regulating what and how much your children receive and do, you’ll be doing them a favor. Their attention will be more focused, and they’ll be more likely to understand and remember special moments.

3. Follow a tradition. It’s amazing how much kids value and remember family traditions. Unlike anything else, they’re a source of fun, they strengthen family bonds, and they form a meaningful link to the past. Whether you’re baking cookies, watching a favorite holiday movie, or piling into the car to look at neighborhood lights, don’t underestimate the value of time spent together, enjoying each other’s company.


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