Does the holiday season feel like a production to you? It does for me in some ways, especially since I have a child who performs in a Christmas show this year. We will be hustling and bustling around for a week to prepare for the show. But I don’t want to let this time of year stress me out or pass me by without truly enjoying it. So I’m taking a few cues from Hollywood and Broadway to help me have a more memorable, festive season. This includes lights, camera and action for the holidays.
Holiday Lights Holiday lights are a favorite among my children. We try to find a heavily decorated place to enjoy Christmas lights and hear carols each year. However, my children aren’t too picky. They find lights on our daily commute. In fact they love to count the number of decorated, lit houses on our nightly drive home. Several particular neighborhoods, community centers and churches in our region have a nice display of holiday illumination. There are Christmas events and parades this month as well.
If you can’t make any of those, then choose to shine a figurative light on a child or family in need. Adopt an angel through a local charity, church or school. There are so many individuals in our community who could use a helping hand. Talk to local family services and resource centers for specific ways to help brighten someone’s holiday.
Holiday Photos As the parent, do you find yourself behind the camera and never in photos? That is often the case for me. Let’s change that this holiday month and instead let our children go behind the lens and capture moments they find special. Show them how to use the camera (or camera phone) and ask them to snap their favorite shots. If you need a good family photo this holiday season, consider doing something that is unique to your family. Think of what your crew enjoys and incorporate that into the photo – football, fishing or pancakes. Choose a casual place and style to let kids be more comfortable. Another idea is to make a holiday photo album for your kids as a gift. Look back at the pictures you’ve taken this past year and make them into a scrapbook for your family. My children love looking back at their baby books and school memories. That is a very personal and memorable way to share precious moments. Involve everyone in the family and start a yearly tradition of not just a holiday family photo, but a book full of the past year’s favorite moments.
Holiday Spirit Now that your family has seen lights and taken photos, what else can put you into the holiday spirit? Have the right attitude and practice gratitude. For the twelve days before Christmas, ask your children to help you develop a list of 12 simple, fun things you can do together. Ask them to name a new thing each day that they consider a blessing. There is so much to reflect upon this time of year. Remind the little ones in your life about the reason for the season and consider encouraging them to donate toys and items from their stash before the holidays to help another child or family in need.
Different Observances Of course, Christmas isn’t the only holiday to celebrate this season. There is also Kwanza, the Festival of Lights and other observances. If your family doesn’t observe or celebrate a certain holiday, spend some time learning about a different culture. Turn it into a history or educational lesson. Reach out to friends who are diverse and celebrate differently from you to learn more. If possible, try to witness how they honor a public holiday.
Make it a Memorable Season What will bring you and your family joy this season? Is it baking cookies? Is it watching the Polar Express film in your pajamas together? Sit around the table and make a holiday wish list. On the list include not just things you want but memories you hope to make. Do these things and rejoice in your family time together this holiday season.
Mandy B. Fernandez is a writer living in Pensacola, Florida with her husband and two children. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in Technical Writing. She writes on topics such as business, education, creative arts, health, family life, parenting and natural foods. In addition she loves sharing humorous stories, poetry and essays about womanhood and motherhood. Her first children’s book, Kazoo Makes The Team, was just released. Visit her at www.writtenbymandy.com.