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Parents Holiday Stress Free Survival Guides
Don't Let this happen to you!
Christmas! Oh No, Not Again!
~ A survival guide for the holiday season ~
Sometime, we wish we could ignore it completely. The stores switch over from the usual canned music playing old Beatles to the usual Christmas ditties that promise us chestnuts roasting or Jack Frost nipping. We find ourselves humming along with the catchy tunes when we suddenly realize it is Christmas season again. We take a mental review of last year and remember that we haven’t payed off last year’s Christmas yet. That’s when the butterfly keeper opens up the cages in our stomachs and lets them all out. Right there on aisle three with a bright yellow smiley face looking on, we start to breathe heavier and we feel a little faint. The garden center suddenly springs to life with thousands of boxes of miniature lights and the outdoor furniture you were hoping to be able to sit down on, is missing. There, coming up the aisle dragging a clanking chain with presents and tinsel attached is the ghost of Christmases past and he is coming for you. You hurry out of the store only to have some odd looking person standing by a red bucket and ringing a bell, specially tuned to shatter teeth, wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. But what about Thanksgiving, aren’t you going to wish me a happy Thanksgiving too, or Halloween?
You are not alone. Millions of people, just like you, have the same panic about Christmas that you do. Why, oh why do we go through this every year, and then the reason reaches up and tugs at your hand and asks, "Daddy, can we go look at the toys." The biggest problem is that we have two Christmases every year, and the two have become so interwoven that we have trouble distinguishing between them. They are, the secular Christmas, that includes a Christmas tree, Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, White Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and those roasting chestnuts that hardly anyone has ever eaten, mostly because the Chestnut trees were all killed off by disease a hundred years ago. The other Christmas is the one that includes baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the three wise men, and the Christmas play at church. This is the part of Christmas that makes us feel the best, filling us with hope and joy as we say, "What the heck", and merrily empty our wallets in front of the yellow smiley face as we watch his manic grin get bigger.
The Christmas you have is entirely up to you. If you choose, you can say enough is enough and actually plan out a Christmas season that doesn’t have to leave you and your wallet feelling plundered. When you are making out the list of what you are going to buy your children, ask yourself this question. Am I planning to buy all of this stuff for them or is it because I didn’t get everything I wanted as a kid and I am trying to make up for it now by giving them everything I can? Believe me, when children make out their wish lists, they include everything they can think of, because they know that they may only get one or two of those items at best, so why not shoot the moon? This doesn’t mean you have to buy it all. I guarantee that a week after Christmas is past, your kids won’t remember or care a thing about what they received from you.
Let every one in the family contribute to the activities, but make each event special. This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take up a tremendous amount of time. What it does is make the family spend time together and interact together. As a suggestion, one night could be for a game. One night could be for making a popcorn chain to decorate the tree. One night could be to watch a Christmas DVD.
Also, insist that at least one of the presents be something the child has made. The craft stores are loaded with ideas and the satisfaction of making, wrapping, and giving something they have made with their own two hands can be the highlight of the season.
You get the idea. Be deliberate.
What I can promise you is that by taking charge of your Christmas and making it yours, it will bring your family closer together and help set the patterns for your kids when they have families of their own. Then they will remember their Christmases as a time of joy and family fun. Some day when they are old, they will be able to say, "Our Christmases were special."
Article Contribution by Edward Smith. Mr. Smith is an established sci-fi writer with real world views on life. He lives with his loving wife Virginia and his four cats in the Ozark Mountains. Read more at www.crystalpresence.com
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