If things are not working out well around you and you have life challenges, either economically or family based; the holidays can put a great deal of stress on you to try and create life long memories.
If your holidays are not happy and things in your family are not working at this time like you would wish or they used to be, take heart. The span you have to get through is only 24 to 48 hours. You can do it!!!
Others are counting on you to do it, so, suck it up and take a few tips listed here. Turn up the music and scream sing, no one wants to tell you to stop so have a free license to sing it out. Yes, you can do Mariah and the ‘Biebs’!!
All around us is the countdown to Christmas and that was in ‘days’. Now all you have to do it make it 24 ‘hours’. You can do it and here are a few tips. If you have a timer on your cell phone or other kind of timer, set it and let it tick down. See, told you time marches on!!!!
If you do not have the funds to purchase gifts and other items for your family and friends, take heart, you are not the only one and you will be o.k.. Enjoy the day off, celebrate the true meaning of the day.
- Find something that they treasure and I.O.U. it to them. Tell them they can borrow the item if they wish when there is a need. When you no longer are connected to the item and can give it up, you will give it to them.
Example: a teenager who wants to ‘borrow’ your jewelry and you are not ready to ‘give it up’. Or something of a family member that has passed and you are going to hold on to the item as the emotions are too tightly holding you. Share the item with another person that would like to continue to hold the person’s memory and lend it to them for a special time. Works great with divorced families, such as a mother holding on to a gift she got from the father of a child. After divorce, emotions are not so attached and sharing allows the children to feel a connection that was important to their parents.
Warning: do not attach negative thoughts with the items, nor share the negative connections at all costs. It is not up to you to direct the other person to also continue the bad karma. Smile and share. It will come back to you. The children will remember you did not ‘diss’ the other parent and that is important to them, regardless of what you think now.
- Have each person draw a picture of each of the other people in the family. Share these pictures and have a great laugh. These will be something that will allow everyone to feel connected, no matter what. The pictures can be stick people with big heads, or magic marker circles with eyes and no mouths. It really does not matter what is on the page, rather, everyone had to think about what they put down on the page.
Keep these for years and bring them out year after year. Be sure to scan these into the computer and email to yourself and the family members. Keep them in a file on your email page. No matter what the years bring; natural disasters, moving, fire, or other catastrophes that may occur, you still have something you can access online, no matter where or when.
- I remember when the kids were growing up; I did not give them lots of junk food. However, at Christmas time, they were allowed to run the grocery store and find one food that they loved and did not have much and one crazy cereal that I would never buy. These items would be considered their ‘stocking’ items.
On Christmas day, we did not bother to have a big dinner, just small special items and they could have their stocking foods. It kept them busy and believe me, after eating the whole box of sugar cereal; they did not want it again until the next year.
- Draw a picture of a tree on an interior window, not the front of the house, with crayon soap which you can buy from Wal-Mart. Let the kids draw on ornaments every day. You can wash it and start all over again. Give the kids the free reign to write all over the shower and bath walls, it washes off. Great to take up creative time.
Here are other ideas for gifts and to help the day pass with memories. Be sure you do not think about the present things you do not have, rather, just have fun with what you do have.
- Old towels cut into squares then put in a pillow case for a great dog or cat bed. Write with a sharpie on the pillow case to personalize it. This is perfect for repeat laundering unlike the usual foam purchased beds.
- Old bracelets or other jewelry items that can be cut off of cords can be restrung to make new items for children or teens. Also, beads can be added to small earring loops. Don’t forget, teens getting piercings could use your lone earrings that fell into the jewelry box. Boys also can take the single earrings and not have to purchase others.
- Pots and pans can be pulled out of the cupboards along with plastic containers and utensils. You can have a family band and play on and on with various items. You have the day off from work, so be silly with the kids. They will remember this more than the toy or dress, this I do know.
- Take out cups and saucers or fancy stemware to enjoy tea, hot chocolate or water with fruit. Make the event fancy and they will carry that memory forward. I still do drink my water out of champagne glasses and our everyday glasses are wine glasses. It is just fun.
- Turn up the music and dance fast and long. Not every adult can tell you about the day they danced with their parents when they were a child. It is just fun.
- Collect all the change in the house to buy one item of food to eat in the car and take sippy cups in the car of hot chocolate or drink. Now have everyone in pj’s and drive around the area to look at the lights. By the time you get home, all will be ready for bed and the day is done. Yahoo!
- Let everyone stay up as late as they can on the holiday eve and let them sleep late on the holiday itself. The day will seem shorter and the emotions will not seem so heavy if you choose to carry them.
- If the kids, teens and young adults want to go to a friend’s house for the holiday, let them. It is hard to not be a total family when things are hard, but it also much easier for all if at least they do not add guilt or anger to a hot situation you may have at your house. There will be other holidays and the tighter you reign in the ‘rules of our house’ the harder the day will be. Do not hold so hard to what you used to do or the beliefs and dreams you are thinking of and let it be. Cherish all the people that are around and move on. The clock is ticking and time truly does move on. Most important, by letting others off the hook, per se, you can ease up on yourself and not carry the extra guilt luggage. This coming year will not allow baggage, so give it up now.
- If you are alone or not in the space you want to be, just sleep the day away. Who the heck told you that you couldn’t? You may be working as hard as you can and that is a day off, take it for yourself. You will be able to handle the next few days easier if you are not exhausted and cranky. If you happen to have a few days off, reverse your days and nights. Stay up late and sleep into the day.
Do something you want, something that is exciting, and something that everyone has an opinion about and you truly do not care about. Be a rebel, challenge yourself. Eat pancakes at 2 a.m., do a juice fast for a few days, eat only popcorn for days, whatever you believe will tickle your heart and lighten your load. Simply no need to ‘have to’ follow the rules if what you really want for the holidays you are not in a place to experience.
- Make a dream board. Think about things you would like to see come into your life next year. Clean out a few drawers of papers and books and cut out words or pictures that would be what you enjoy. Tape them to a piece of poster board or just tape them to your wall or closet door. Look at them every time you pass the area.
You may find you really would love to see that next year, or you may find what you put there is someone else’s plan for your or an old dream. Take that item off and create another. See what is exciting and explore new options. Be careful to not just put things, like cars, boats, money, etc. up there. Put feelings, longings, emotions and life goals. It is important to think outside the box, this is a dream that may become your reality. Miracles are for real, but if you do not dream them, they will never materialize.
- If you have a box of ornaments, take each one and write a story about it. When you got it, what was going on in the family at that time and who you would like to share that ornament with. Take a picture of the ornament and add it to the page. When the pages are done, make a little book of them of paper if you do not have a computer.
If you have a computer, you can make a book online and share with the family members where ever they are. There are many free book sites to create a book, www.lulu.com is an example. Do not attach any negative emotions to any of the ornaments, it is essential that you do this correctly; you do not want others to repeat your ‘baggage’ every time they put them on their trees later in life. This is a fabulous gift to newly married children, a box of a few ornaments and the book describing its history.
- If there is a medical situation in anyone’s family and there are teens as relatives, see what the teens are good at and have them volunteer at the needed home for the holidays. However, the teens must agree to leave the cell phones off and the computers off during the needed assistance times. This is very good if there is a family member that has a terminal disease.
Visitation is priceless and the extra assistance to relieve other caretakers is also priceless. Also, if the medical condition is a new one and there is a need for information about the condition, the teen may be used to help research on the computer, since the teen know the in’s and out’s of the internet. Take the talents of some and share them with others.
- If you have young children, limit their time with people who are not doing well, physically and emotionally. Ask the person if there is a time to allow the youngsters to see and enjoy their company. While it is sometimes taxing for elders, it may be the only time to get a ‘picture’ of the youngsters with their older family members.
I can tell you from experience, these pictures are worth all the gold in the world in future generations. Just be sure to scan them into the computer and email them to other family members. Do not keep them just on the computer desktop, as when computers crash, these are lost, but email them and keep them in a folder there.
The holidays are just a marker of time; they are not daggers to our life and hearts. As my husband always says, ‘it is just a day’. While I hated that phrase, it is time to say, yes, it is just a day. Celebrate the meaning of the holiday, celebrate what you do have and forget the rest. Don’t take in what does not make your heart light. Watch ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ a hundred times, the cartoon, if you have to, if that is the only way you can ‘get it’. Have a fabulous 24 or 48 hours. Tick tock, tick tock!
Push over on the couch, I am there with my popcorn and slippers, heck, I may not take a shower for two days, ugh, can you imagine that? Never, they say, oh, maybe I say!! Ha-ha, have fun!!