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Qulaity Family Holiday Time Together

Reflections of When Christmas Wasn't Stressful

Alternatives to Store Bought Christmas Gifts
Teaching Children the Value of Making Presents

I was asked to write a note listing some ideas of ways to reduce stress during the holiday season. As I let my thoughts wander back to my early memories of Christmas some 60 something years ago, I tried to remember what the stresses were. I couldn’t find any!

The war had just ended and in the mid -western farming community where I lived, disposable money hadn’t been invented. Yet in these hard times the joy and anticipation of Christmas filled the air and warmed our hearts. I supposed we could have been stressed considering the circumstances of our time, but that just wasn’t the case. The difference was that we had each other and could count on each other to be there through anything life could throw at us.

The difference was, we didn’t stress over Christmas, it was a time of joy rather than a time of commercialism. Because there was little money, parents and children alike found ways to use available resources to make gifts for each other. The secrets were kept for weeks, as we worked on our surprises.

The anticipation of giving our handmade gift filled us with joy and delight. With adult help, many children developed the foundation of hobbies and skills they would pursue through life. Girls learned to sew and cook out of necessity because "store-bought" was for special occasions and Sunday. Boys learned to manufacture, with their own hands, toys that would fire their imaginations for years.

During those days, we had to make do, but today it is a different story. Today money, and credit, are available and we can just go to the store and shop. The difference between yesterday and today is the amount of thoughtfulness that went into Christmas presents.

Here are some shopping ideas.

  • Make a Craft ~ Rather than just toss the usual bath powder and socks in the cart for Grandma and Grandpa, take a trip with your child to a craft supply store. There you will find dozens of fun things to do. Perhaps you will discover a perfect a little wooden box on which a child can paint or paste gems found in the shirt decoration area. A final touch would be to line it with velvet to make a jewelry or trinket box.
  • Give Photos ~ Another idea would be to give each child a disposable camera. At the next family event, like Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthday or recital, let them take pictures. Help them create scrapbooks and give them as gifts. Who knows, you may help create a future photographer.



  • Write a Handwritten Letter ~ Finally, ask or teach your child to handwrite a little note to go with the gift. Who knows, many years later when you find an old note in the bottom of a box and you recognize a childish scrawl that says "Merry Christmas Mommy, I love you".

    Like me, you may have to take time for a tug in the heart and a tear in the eye. Most importantly, enjoy them now. They grow up too fast.

    Happy Holidays!

    Article Contribution by: Virginia Smith

    Virginia lives in Chester , Arkansas with her four cats and loving husband. She is also the loving mother to Chuckles and Buckley ~ Santa's Hospitaltiy Elves


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