For some people Christmas is a painful time. Loneliness, fatigue and unrealistic expectations can ruin the holidays. Childhood memories aren’t always happy ones and this time of the year often reminds people of the past. Restore

RESTORE

I read an article once that said that Christmas was listed on clinical stress tests. The day itself counts for 12 points. When you add all the other activities during the holidays, like social and church activities, family get-togethers and eating more than our share of food, stress points can go up as much as 150 points.

The most important thing to strive for during the holidays is creating peace and harmony in your home.

SIMPLIFY

Silent…Make time for some quiet time with your family. One of the things my daughter loves to do is to light all the candles in the house. There is something very soothing and magical about candlelight and sitting in front of the flickering lights of the Christmas tree. On every very holiday, take the opportunity to create positive and strong family unity. Restore

Holy… Teach your children the true meaning of Christmas.

Calm…Keep it simple and learn to say no. Take care of yourself and don’t let others decide what’s important to you. Restore

SPIRITS

Bright…Christmas is even more special when you can do things for others. With your children, search closets for coats, clothing and toys and give them to the homeless and the needy. Hang mistletoe over doorways in your house to get and give extra kisses during the holiday season. Make time to ride around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. When you decorate the tree, tell your children about the ornaments, such as where they came from and what they mean to you.

Simplify…If you haven’t received a Christmas card from someone for two years straight, take them off your list. If you have a large extended family, propose to pull each other’s name out of a hat. Make your life easier by planning ahead. Keep a list of gift ideas, holiday supplies and things you need to do. Write everything down in a notebook and carry it with you everywhere you go.

Delegate…Let your family help you by allowing everyone to get involved with the preparations. Regardless of your children’s ages, you can always find something for them to do. Encourage your children often and you’ll be surprised how much quicker some of the jobs will get done.

Lower standards…Quit being so picky. So what if the ornament your child placed on the tree is not exactly where you’d put it. Let your children set the table and wrap some of the gifts. Remember that your goal is family harmony not perfection.

The best Christmas gift you can give your family is yourself. Keep a healthy perspective and enjoy your children.

Be happy…Remember that the holidays are a time for joyful celebrations.

by Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily or contact her at her Web site at www.redirectingchildrenrgv.org.

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