Gift shopping, Christmas parties, and out of town trips all fill up our schedules during December, and chances are the holiday rush will take its toll on our families in one form or another. That’s why most people say that in as much as the holidays are a time for celebration, it often becomes the stage for family conflicts to arise. Of course, we want to avoid setting up a Royal Rumble match at home, so here are some ways we can keep our families calm, grounded, and remain loving this season, more than ever!
Whether we like it or not, Christmas is essentially all about gift-giving. Oftentimes, we get too caught up in our wish lists for the latest gadgets, the newest toys, and the biggest and the flashiest stuff we can surprise others with. While that can’t necessarily be avoided, it would also be best to remind each other that the shine of material things does wane over time, but the personal touches we give makes more of an impact. When you are all running around like crazy while shopping in the malls for your last-minute exchange gifts for the kids’ classmates and all your monitos, check yourselves and be generous with affection. Give more hugs, take more time, and just be each other’s sanctuary after each hectic day.
When you can, do take a break and go outdoors. This might be just as simple as a quick morning hike or a bike ride around the village, but the point is, never underestimate the power of nature and endorphins. This is a good way to collectively take deep breaths as a family and let out all the toxic energy that the Christmas rush just naturally pulls in. This could serve as your literal breather from all the fast-paced activities of the holidays. Who wouldn’t want to see more green when you will be spending most of the day stuck in traffic trying to shuttle between malls and parties?
You have parties almost every weekend, and it will really be difficult to fit it all in. Schedules are unavoidable and always pack a lot of punch, but if you can, weed out those events that you can omit, instead of just accepting everything–when in reality, you need to split your body in two just to make it to every party. If you don’t, you might end up attending events but not really being present and enjoying all those Pinoy Henyo games that your relatives love.
A great way to stay grounded together as a family is by involving each other in your activities. Most kids enjoy arts and crafts, and while they do tend to get messy, it would be a good move to ask them to help out with gift wrapping or labelling presents. That way, you can have a few laughs together and casual conversations as you wrap the presents (the right way) and they also try to do it as best as they can, their way. You can also put together a Christmas calendar that you can all look forward to ticking off as a countdown to the 25th. It could also be a nice touch to personalize it with stickie notes per day, where a member of the family can write down anything that they are thankful for on that day. You could also involve them in party planning, as kids do have moments of brilliance that tend to surprise us as parents. For all you know, your ideas of games and activities might just be verging on being outdated, and the younger ones do have different tastes as well so it would also be best to take that into account.
As we grow older, we tend to think our family traditions are corny and outdated, but hey… they have become traditions for a great reason, and that’s to bring the family unit together. Some families have a hard time keeping the simbang gabi tradition alive, but if you would observe, this is actually a good idea to keep a routine going. When routines are in place, it reminds us of how we want to start our day, and for those that practice going to morning mass during the holidays, it does help to keep you sane and grounded throughout the day. Whatever tradition you wish to keep–may it be organizing a family outreach program, or going to a theme park, or exchanging gifts on a particular day–it is a set schedule or routine that helps our minds zone in and zone out of the loud buzz of the holidays.
While you’ve made plans, changes are always inevitable. Remember that things don’t always pan out the way you initially wanted them to, and that includes having the ideal harmonious family holiday. Family activities almost always come with disagreements, and the fact of the matter is, you do not always have to agree on everything. Remember that you are only responsible for yourself and how you behave, so do be mindful and respectful of everyone, so that you can contribute as much positivity as you can. When stressful situations arise and holiday anxiety sets in, it would not be best to be The Grinch and distance yourself from everyone else. Teach your family how to handle these scenarios through communication and open-mindedness. Teach the kids how to count to ten before getting angry or reacting, and remind yourself and your husband to do the same as well.
With all the mad rush, a good way to keep yourselves grounded is to remind yourselves where you belong and who you belong to. At the end of the day, family is still the most important thing in our lives, no matter what the season. The holidays are a great chance to be thankful for the year that was, as well as appreciating the most important people in our lives. We may be going to so many parties and events, or running around buying gifts that would make them happy, but at the end of the day, a healthy family relationship is still the best gift we could ever enjoy.