Create a wonderful holiday experience for your family

It’s all too easy to get swept up in the consumerism of what’s supposed to be ‘the happiest time of the year.’ Kita Spzak offers three simple ways to make the season truly magical for you and your loved ones.

Hallowe’en is like the doorway you walk through, only to face the onslaught of the holiday season as it comes at you from all directions.

It’s relentless: no doubt you’ve noticed the remaining trick-or-treat candy being methodically replaced by Advent calendars – as if anyone knows what they really mean anymore – the red, green and everything in between tree decorations, Santa & reindeer colouring books, Christmas and Hanukah cards, Victorian-style trinkets, requisite scarfs, socks and gloves, candy boxes, soaps – and this is just a quick glance down one aisle of a typical Shoppers Drug Mart.

Whether shopping in a mall, listening to the radio (those stations playing non-stop seasonal music for two months are truly amazing!), watching TV or driving the car, you can’t avoid the holiday atmosphere that’s slowly weighing all of us down like a foot of snow. Time to step back, big time, and reflect: What do I want this season to be for my family and me?

What is important to you this season? Presents, family and friends, quiet time, physical activity, spiritual reflection, holiday traditions? Whatever you focus on, your kids will take their cue accordingly. The fact is consumerism has overwhelmed the essence of the season, and if you want the warmth of a magical time back, then it’s up to you to reclaim it by setting the tone within your family – especially with your little ones.

There’s immense pressure to conform and follow the dictates of holiday season expectations driven by media, retailers, and collective opinion. And if you’re not careful, you’ll be swept up in the frenzy of what’s supposed to be the “happiest time of the year.” Here are three steps you can take to create a wonderful experience for your whole family.

1. Simplify. Whether it’s putting up one set of lights instead of three; buying some of your holiday baking; initiating alternate family visits instead of trying to see everyone or limiting excessive gifts, these wise changes will ease the strain to do it all.

2. Share. Tell your children about the things you did as a kid during this special time of year. Perhaps there are traditions you want to introduce or maintain. Share, and see what piques their interest. Getting a tree, singing carols, reading the season’s favourite stories, seeing a holiday play, playing road hockey with the neighbours, cuddling in front of the fire, setting out cookies and milk for Santa, or talking about the “First” Star.

3. Give. Give of your time to your kids – this is the biggest present you can offer them. Head off to the park, walk, pull the sled, watch Frosty the Snowman, decorate the gingerbread house, play their new video game with them, or have hot chocolate together.

By simplifying, sharing and giving, you will receive the greatest gift this season can bestow: love, the one expectation this special time of year grants us all.

Wishing you a magical family time and the very best for 2018!