Tinsel and white lights sparkle. Instrumental versions of holiday songs play on repeat.
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays.
Except the whole commercial “season” started before the Halloween decorations were even put away.
And now, holiday anticipation just doesn’t seem that special anymore.
What do you do when it seems like the whole holiday experience is for sale, on sale, or “just marked down”?
How can you concentrate on family, tradition, community, and the season’s simple pleasures when they just seem shoved aside for trips to the mall and Amazon deliveries?
You don’t have to let the culture’s commercialized version of the holidays take over.
But you have to be strong. The lure of marketing media is everywhere now.
The call to shop, buy, charge, finance, and consume in the crusade to create holiday magic is completely over the top.
You know it. But it can be easy to get sucked in.
You must be intentional.
It may even feel like you need to fight for your holidays, and save all that is special and meaningful to you and your family.
To help your family enjoy the real potential in the season, try the following strategies:
Free your mind. And Holiday Spirit will follow.
Think about it. Your kids were born into the age of relentless technology. It’s normal for all of us to be distracted by beeps, alerts, posts, pics, and the fear that somewhere on one of those glowing screens, we’re missing out on something. And it’s really easy to fall into the habit of checking screens all the time.
During a season where things may feel like they’re moving too fast, you can help show your kids a calmer, gentler, more mindful way to experience life.
Let your devices power down. Perhaps even have one day per week where no devices with screens are on at all.
If this feels challenging, try to maintain your sense of humor. Show your children how to be joyfully present.
Ask your little ones how they feel this time of year. Encourage them to share their hopes for the season, beyond the gifts.
Build the memories that matter most — purposefully, mindfully, and together.
Clear your calendar. And Generosity will follow.
Researchers claim that generous people are happy people. We knew that already. And so do the malls and markets vying for our checkbooks.
But maybe we can be generous without all the consumerism. Maybe we can sustain the rush generosity gives without the worrisome credit card bills in January.
Forgo a couple of shopping Saturdays and plan a family service project. Or simply make a game of looking for people in need, whom you can give to.
Remind your children that the gift most people hope for is to be seen and served in the ways that mean most to them, not in the ways that are convenient for us.
Show your children that it feels good to slow down and give of yourself.
Release your expectations. And Gratitude will flow.
Consider emphasizing gratefulness rather than a mad grab for more, and more, and more.
You needn’t give up gifts altogether, just look at how gifts this year could enhance what you already have. Take the opportunity to consider what you appreciate about each other and buy or make gifts that embrace those qualities.
Highlight the blessings you are to each other. Does your child make finger-painted pictures that would warm a grandparent’s heart? Have you always wanted to learn how to make soap or jam for gifts? What about taking a few moments to talk to grandparents to record their past holiday memories? Or offering a night to babysit for a couple with a young child?
Show your family and friends how much they are appreciated. Many of the most meaningful gifts aren’t available at the mall.
Once you start looking, you and yours may find that there is already more to enjoy in your lives then there is need or desire to acquire.