, Salem, MA


December 6, 2013

Column: 25 tips to increase holiday joy

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. And, yet, regardless of whether families are intact, blended, broken-blended or single-parent families, in reality holidays can bring out a range of intense emotions in people. Here are some tips to make things easier for your family during this holiday season:

All families

Holidays are ripe for miscommunications. Practice sharing only what is kind, necessary and true.

Emphasize values of gratitude, family, giving back and the importance of moderation. Engage your family in such activities as donating toys or food to local causes or serving others in need.

Have realistic expectations. Holidays are not panaceas for disappointments and failures during the rest of the year.

Trust your judgment more than your fear. Try not to give in to your last-minute panic about not having bought “enough” food, gifts, whatever.

Emphasize etiquette as a holiday virtue to be practiced all year long. According to Emily Post, etiquette means “treating people with consideration, respect and honesty and being aware of how your actions affect those around you.”

Parents as individuals

Stick to your self-care routine.

Don’t take too much on. Just because it’s the holidays does not mean there are suddenly two of you!

Your kids still need quality time, and the good news is that engaging them in holiday projects is quality time. From ages 5 up, there are things kids can do to help; two more, even small, hands can help you.

Intact families and parents

Communicate. Nothing dampens the holidays faster than parents fighting about the expectations that weren’t met. Make time to communicate regarding the decisions and expectations about gifts, decorations, vacation time, meals and extended-family logistics.

Your partner may not have your perspective on the holidays; keep an open mind.

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