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How to Enjoy the Holidays by Slowing Down

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Did you miss my article over at Military1?

I was walking through Target with my 8-year-old son when he turned and looked at me with true confusion in his eyes. He asked me why there was so much Christmas and holiday décor on display when we hadn’t even made it through Halloween yet. I smiled as I walked alongside him and did my best to explain consumerism to him in simplistic terms.

Days later, his words were still with me. I began to think about all of us who rush through life and get caught up planning the next big thing.

Stop and smell the pumpkins

Some of us are not truly living for today. I know that I’ve struggled with slowing down to enjoy the seasons to their fullest.

Take a moment to consider the past few weeks of your life. Did you fully enjoy October, or do you hardly remember the weeks that passed? Did you slow down and take in the turning leaves, the falling foliage, or the crisp cool air in the evenings? Did you pay attention to the children wearing their Halloween costumes or the time spent picking out and carving the perfect pumpkin?

Think about life before you had kids and those things that you couldn’t wait to participate in. How many of those activities have you been able to do successfully year after year? How many traditions have you been able to start and fulfill?

No matter your answers, the good news is that tomorrow is a new day and a new holiday is just around the corner. It doesn’t have to take long to really soak in a moment – it can all start with being aware of what’s going on around you. When you notice a small moment, pause and reflect or share your observations with others.

Make traditions happen

Next, start penciling in dates and events on your calendar to spend with your family. When you actively plan family time into your schedule, it’s highly likely that you will follow through with the activity. I always say to shoot for quality, not quantity. If you’re looking for some new traditions, here are a few fun activities I’ve found:

  • Send out Thanksgiving letters. Instead of Christmas letters, let everyone know what you are thankful for around the Thanksgiving season.
  • Visit a tree farm. Many pumpkin patches turn into winter wonderlands with sleigh or hay rides, hot cocoa and cider and more. Kids have so much fun at these places.
  • Buy or make an annual ornament. Pick an ornament that represents what each child is really into for that year. Make sure you label each one with the child’s name and year so you don’t forget as time passes by.
  • DIY magnetic advent calendar. Get the kids involved and fill the calendar with stickers, clues for family activities and more.
  • Take full-moon walks. Spend a night out looking at the stars and use it as an opportunity to discuss what’s happened lately and what you all would like to do in the future together.
  • Participate in a day of service. Get the family involved in giving back to others. It provides a great sense of satisfaction for children who can make a difference in another’s life and encourages them to be a little more grateful for all their gifts.

Whatever you do, spend time as a family. Slow down a bit, and don’t forget to take pictures and write down all those memories.

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