family having fun in the snow.

Having a Happy Holiday Season without the Materialism

The holiday season is in full swing and it can be a memorable time of the year with your family. So how do we make it less about Fidget Spinner and Fingerlings and more about family and warm fuzzy feelings. I for one, as parent, want my child to feel gratitude for all the good things she has around her and I believe there are ways to make it happen with a little bit of creativity and fun. It can also help everyone in the family feel the true holiday spirit.

Here are a few family traditions you can adopt to make the holidays more memorable and less materialistic:

Setting Some fun Goals

One thing I like to do with my family is set some goals for the New Year. This can be a great practise for everyday life but it’s always fun to do when the air is filled with hope of a new beginning. Sit around with your family on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve with a few questions for everyone around the circle: What do you want to accomplish this year? Make them dream big or small but and make some deadlines. It can be anything from, “I want to go sledding 3 times in the month of January” or  “I want to help daddy shovel the snow at least twice in February” or  “I want to make two banana breads loaves with mummy in March.” It can even be long term goals, for example, “I want to learn how to play my favourite Alicia Keys song on the piano by next November.” This of course means that Moms and Dads get in on the action as well, and the kids can have fun by holding parents accountable. The best motivation is setting a good example for your kids and not want to let them down.This family resolution setting will get your family excited about the happy daily challenges of life that will one day turn into a powerful goal setting tool for the future.

Host a Caroling Party

Have a caroling party in your neighbourhood. This season we came home and found an bright invitation card in our mailbox inviting us to a caroling party at our neighbour’s house. Our 4 year old had the distinct pleasure of picking her favourite song, Frosty the Snowman, to sing along with others during this festive evening. It was great fun. Help your kids send out a few colourful hand-made invites to your favourite neighbours. Gather everyone in the living room, around the tree and strike up the fire, and have some hot chocolate ready and sing Rudolph’s anthem to your hearts content. This will help you get to know the neighbours and make some new friends while harkening back to a tradition that is not practiced as frequently anymore.

Give back as a family

Make a pact to volunteer as a family. Gather some family friends together and volunteer at the food bank. Ask your play date group to donate pre-loved toys to a woman’s shelter. People love to give during this time of year. You get to teach your kids and their little friends about the value of giving and feel a sense of gratitude for what they have and how they can help less fortunate children. This can open up a bigger conversations and a teaching moment on how we can help others who may not have what we have due to the circumstances that they have been presented with in life.

Donate to an animal shelter

If your kids love animals why not purchase some staples like pet food to donate to a local animal shelter. You and your kids can make a day of it by visiting the shelter seeing the good that they have provided.

Connect with distant loved ones

In our busy lives we sometimes don’t get to see all the people we treasure throughout the year. When I was in university, I had a friend who would phone during this time of year to give me a special Christmas call so that we could catch up. I always looked forward to it. People usually have the best of intentions and most of us simply don’t make the time to connect with everyone that we want to during the busy year. This is a great time to create personalized family videos for long distance friends and relatives that you don’t usually reach out to throughout the year. It might be as simple as a Christmas carol or a happy holiday message that pops up on somebody’s phone that can make all the difference in their holiday season.

Make time for sledding

Buy a cheap plastic sled and go out and find a hill in your neighbourhood. Spend the afternoon shrieking with laughter and thrill while you go down a snowbank with the family. It’s hard to make the effort to venture out in the colder weather but these are the moments that memories are made of and a simple yet thrilling tobogganing excursion is something we all can have more of in our lives.