Calm & cozy Christmas: 5 ways to slow down and savor the season

If you’re like me, you’re already starting to feel some of the burnout that comes from the holiday madness. As parents who love seeing our kids enjoy this time of year, it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of trying to do all the fun things that come with this season. But here’s the truth: more is not always merrier.

Sometimes it’s better to slow down and savor the season. Below are 5 ways to do just that. My kids and I have had memorable experiences doing all of these, so I hope you’ll try them.

If you want your entire family to truly enjoy the current Christmas and New Year season, you should:

1. Do less.

It’s tempting to try to cram as many activities as possible into this time of year, but it is not always the best approach. Plan fewer, more meaningful, outings.

After all, the best thing about this time is that families get to be together more than at any other point during the school year. Time spent together is what Christmas and New Year’s is all about, so it doesn’t really matter where you are.

Who you are with is all you need. 

2. Plan ahead.

Mapping out your outings is always a good thing, but it is especially beneficial during the holiday season.

You already have enough stress with buying gifts and seeing some of those hard-to-connect-with relatives (we all have them), so why give yourself one more thing to stress out about?

Planning ahead will allow you more mental energy for the things – and people – that matter most.

3. Stop trying to be perfect.

If you’re like me, you want every holiday party to be the perfect gathering, every toy you buy to be the perfect gift, and every Christmas tree ornament to be the perfect decoration.

But none of that is possible – and it doesn’t need to be. Allow yourself to find joy in the simple act of doing these things, rather than obsessing over how well they turn out. Again, your family isn’t looking for perfection; they are looking for time spent together.

It might not be perfect, but in their minds, time spent together is pretty darn close. 

4. Remember that simple and quiet are more than okay – in fact, they are ideal.

Everything nowadays is bigger, louder, and more exciting, so it’s quite natural that we feel the holidays ought to be, too.

But I have found that my favorite times of the Christmas season are the simple and quiet ones: the late-night snuggles on the couch beside the Christmas tree, the early morning walks on the soft and newly fallen snow, and the hours after the kids have opened their Christmas gifts and are now reading their new favorite book.

These soft and sometimes silent moments stay with me long after the drama and energy of the season have faded away. 

5. Value the gift of experience more than things.

All the things you could ever buy your kids can’t compare to the time you spend with them.

Long after their momentarily favorite app, toy, or article of clothing has vanished from their memory, they will fondly recall the people and places that make up their most meaningful experiences. Many of those experiences will include you and the holidays – especially if you make sure to live in the moment.

Activities like making Christmas cookies, watching your favorite holiday movies together, and snuggling on the couch with mugs full of hot cocoa are the perfect ways to slow down and savor the season while you make memories that will last well beyond this Christmas. 

Happy holidays to you and yours!

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