Appreciating family can be hard during the holidays because it can be a difficult time. A time when family members with wildly different morals, values, and political opinions are all in the same place. Or a time when old grudges come to the surface and old wounds are laid bare.
It’s also a stressful time as the need to “win” Christmas takes over and we end up in some weird competition with ourselves to have the best Christmas ever. All of this comes to a head-on Christmas Day and it’s easy to forget to appreciate your family. These tips are meant to help ground you and help you appreciate not only the holiday, but your family too.
Slow Down and Smell the Poinsettias
Despite what media and societal pressures might be telling you, Christmas isn’t a competition. It won’t be ruined if you don’t get your hands on whatever the big-ticket item of the year is. Try not to get stressed out about Christmas shopping. And, if you find that being out in crowds is the part that makes it all stressful, shop online. Most importantly though, remember that Christmas isn’t about the presents. Christmas is about celebrating life, the Lord, and appreciating family.
Ban Politics and Don’t Engage
While you may not have a large crowd this year due to COVID-19. chances are that no matter your family makeup, there is going to be someone who disagrees politically. Even if you don’t realize it, there is someone in your family with different political views. Allowing political talk at Christmas is a sure-fire way to make people unhappy and uncomfortable at Christmas. So simply ban it. Get all of the adults together now while heads are still level and layout the rules then. No talk of politics or anything that is politically charged. That kind of conversation will only make someone uncomfortable and unhappy. Further, it will make them dread the next Christmas.
Have a Gratitude Tree
This is definately one of my favorite tips. I’m guessing it has a lot to do with the year we’ve had, but it’s just a beautiful thing to do. On Christmas Day and the days leading up to it as family arrives put up a gratitude tree. It can be a simple Christmas tree with lights. Have next to it a table with construction paper cut into the shapes of Christmas ornaments along with a pen where people are invited to write down why they are grateful.
Be sure to warn everyone that it will be the children reading these out loud, so keep them clean. In reality, everyone will go around picking ornaments at random until they’ve all been readout. Be sure to tell people not to put their names on them when they’re writing them. It makes it a little more special that way.
Ask Everyone to Share a Favorite Christmas Memory
As everyone is sitting down to enjoy Christmas dinner get the conversation started on the right foot by asking everyone to share their favorite memory of a previous Christmas. Each answer has to be unique as you go around the table. You never know what stories will come up but it is sure to bring all of you together and foster the importance of appreciating family.
This year more than ever we should be intentional about appreciating family. So many have lost loved ones right before the holidays, and it is tough. I hope you incorporate a few of these tips with your family on Christmas. Happy Holidays to you and please be safe.
LaToyia, The Motivated Mom