Stress-free holidays

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Family Matters

Sam George is the executive director of Parivar International, a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America. ¬†Sam is the author of the book ‚ÄúUnderstanding the Coconut Generation‚ÄĚ (www.CoconutGeneration.com). He can be reached at sam@coconutgeneration.com ¬†

By Sam George
Once again holiday season is upon us. The holidays can be a joyous and wonderful time, but there’s no denying that holiday stress can sometimes creep up on even the most calm and organized among us. Whether you have much to celebrate or not, do not miss out on the true spirit of caring, giving and celebrating that comes during this special time of the year.

It comes as no surprise that many people, and parents in particular, find the holidays to be stressful. Holiday parties, family get-togethers, and other holiday activities can all be fun, but the added demands on our time, and attention can all contribute to holiday stress. The disruptions in regular schedules, travel, preparing meals, and managing houseguests, and having less time for yourself add to our stress levels.

Holidays are marvelous time of the year to have some quality family time. It creates memories, and pulls everyone together as one. Your family traditions and exploring deeper meaning of celebrations deepen our faith and spirit of sharing and caring enriches everyone. Remember getting stress out can sabotage the great benefits of the real holiday gift to your family.

Among the biggest causes of holiday stress are the additional events and activities that are added to often already busy schedules. Christmas parties at school, work and church; shopping, and preparing to either travel to see family or getting your house ready for guests are just some of the many extra things on the to do list that people have to contend with during the holiday season. Another factor to holiday stress can be financial strain. Besides gifts, many people spend money eating out, traveling, going to shows, and participating in other holiday activities. That entire expense can adds up holiday stress.

I suggest few ideas to help your make the most of the holidays with your family. 

Set a schedule:  Determine ahead of time what your family’s schedule is and set limits on how many parties and engagements you can attend.  For the holiday shopping, develop a budget that includes all gifts, decorations, food, etc. and stick to it.   

Evaluate gift-giving: ¬†You may want to evaluate how many gifts your family is buying and just what you are buying for your children. ¬†Instead of cleaning out the store, pick only key gifts. This will help your kids to recognize the more important parts of the season ‚ÄĒ like giving to others, or celebrating any religious beliefs of your family. ¬†

Get creative: Consider helping your children make holiday ornaments and cookies as gifts.  Give the gift of your time or any services you might be able to offer.  Your family’s favorite cookies or your offer to take care of an elderly family member’s lawn could make a very meaningful, yet affordable, gift.  

Make a memory: ¬†Your kids love spending time with you ‚ÄĒ they may not need all the fanfare and expense to find the magic in the season. ¬†Driving around to look at Christmas lights, watching your favorite holiday TV special, or reading a holiday bedtime story are all easy ways you can make the season special.
Have a blessed Christmas!

 

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