When the Holidays are Hard:
Ways to Keep the Magic for the Kids
When the Holiday’s remind us of loved ones we’ve lost or conjure up difficult memories, it can be hard as parents to bring joy and magic to the children in our lives. There are shows and performances to attend, songs you don’t want to hear again, crowds at the store and people in our lives who may bring disappointment.
However, we need to find a way to keep the magic alive for the kids. It’s not about the best gift or the finest food or even an elaborate trip. It’s about making the most of the time you have with the ones you love. It’s about stepping back from our needs and looking to the needs of others.
That being said, if the Holidays are very difficult for you emotionally, put some things in place to help you with your personal needs so that you can have the strength and energy to give to others. Use this time to teach your children about giving, sharing and helping others as part of the Season.
A True Story
I am reminded of a true story about a little girl who knew there would be nothing special about Christmas this year. She and her mom lived together in the city and there was just no money. Kids at school were talking about their plans and presents and she listened, knowing she would have to tell the kids she got nothing that year.
The thoughts may go to the little girl and her disappointment but don’t forget about the mother. I have no idea the struggles she faced, unable to provide even a special meal or small gift. A sense of family or magic. The Holidays were only a reminder that she couldn’t provide Christmas and that they were very alone. She was alone.
The happy ending to this story is that a local church knew the situation and on Christmas, delivered gifts and food and love. The little girl and her mother were not alone. There was magic and generosity and giving. The little girl talks about that Christmas experience now and has made so many thousands of people happy with her, over the top, generosity since that time. That little girl is Oprah Winfrey.
So, if you are feeling blue this Christmas; the best way I can think to cheer up is to find some way to give back. Teach your children the power of giving. It doesn’t have to be money. So many places need people to deliver gifts, wrap gifts, shop for them, sit and visit at the hospital or nursing home. There are so many ways to help.
I’ll never forget the times my family delivered gifts for the church as a child. I don’t think that we had bought them, but we wrapped and gave them to the families in need and they were so happy. Lots of tears of joy. Some people were shocked and even a little afraid to accept. I remember this as a 9 year old. Those lessons are powerful and can remind us all to be grateful. As a young parent, I also remember being on the receiving end when times were tough. Having a grocery gift card and some special goodies brought to your children during Christmas brought a lot of joy to us and filled a need.
You’ve Got This
One last tip for the Holiday Blues. If the haunts of Christmas past are strong, shut the door on them. Create a whole new tradition. Create YOUR perfect, imperfect Holiday. New traditions, new ornaments, new foods. And, it’s okay to let go. You don’t have to let go of the memories, but you can let go of the pain and sadness. Overwhelm the negative with a new attitude. Only you are in charge of that anyway. You can create that. You can create good memories for the children in your life. Yes… yes you can.
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