Finding (and Keeping) Cheer During the Busy Holiday Season

By: Jolene Roehlkepartain

Sometimes getting ready for the holidays can feel more like a mad dash to check off the endless to-do list than the most wonderful time of the year. How do you keep the holiday spirit so that it doesn’t become ho-hum? Find out >

Know what puts you into the holiday spirit. For some people, it’s particular holiday music. All they need to do is listen to a certain song or album and it changes everything. Other people love watching a classic holiday movie, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or A Christmas Carol.

Make time for meaningful holiday events. For kids, getting into the holiday spirit often consists of wondering what gifts they’ll receive. Expand on that. Teach them what you value about the holidays and see what catches their attention. Some kids and teens enjoy baking. Some like to attend a holiday party, show, or event. Others enjoy decorating. Still others like volunteering in some simple way to help others.

Nurture your spirit and your child’s spirit. You don’t need to be religious to nurture your and your child’s spirituality. What grounds your spirit? How do you connect with something larger than yourself? Find out more about how young people (of various faiths and even of no faith) nurture their spirituality through the Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, there are still many ways to spread (and find) holiday cheer. Learn more >

Slow down. Part of the difficulty about getting ready for the holidays is that everything speeds up and tempers can flare. Infusing the spirit into your holiday involves slowing down and savoring the moment. Maybe it’s listening to holiday music over hot tea and hot chocolate. Maybe it’s enjoying a delicious meal with your family and having a wonderful, laid-back conversation. Take time to slow down so that kids can feel the joy of the season.

As parents, it can feel like an overwhelming task to not only prepare for the holidays (in addition to everything else that you do on a daily basis) but to also get yourself and your kids in the mood for the holidays. Remember that the holidays are special, but the holidays are also regular days when the nitty-gritty of life still emerges.

So find moments to infuse the holiday spirit into your daily tasks while also reminding yourself of how much you’re doing during this busy, busy time of year.

1. Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff, Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007).

2. Jenny Friedman and Jolene Roehlkepartain, Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools, and Communities (Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2010).

3. Spiritual Life, ParentFurther.

4. Spirituality, the Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence

5. Image via Robert S. Donovan on Flick’r.

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