Make the most of family time during the holidays

Life is busy. When trying to find time to fit everything into your schedule, it can be overwhelming. Often it feels as though you never have time for yourself—let alone quality time spent with the ones you love and care about. This holiday season, find creative ways to let your family and friends know that you care about them and appreciate the role they play in your life.

Make time for family dinners: Sharing meals with your family creates an opportunity to provide memorable conversation and a time to genuinely reconnect with one another. Studies have shown that families that spend more time around a dinner table have had significantly better results in the development of their children and teens. It has been proven to improve their self-esteem, increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, teach them a variety of foods, and make kids less likely to smoke, drink, use drugs and get into fights. It is important that TV, cell phones and other electronic devices are turned off and replaced with positive conversation during dinner time.

Embrace family traditions: Continue the legacy of holiday traditions you did when you were younger. Whether it is going on a Christmas tree hunt, making gingerbread houses, going Christmas caroling, providing cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer—whatever it may be, keep the tradition going. Ask grandparents and other relatives how they spent their holidays and enjoy hearing stories from their youth.

Make meals together: Instead of putting the pressure on one person to do all the cooking, find ways to get everyone involved. Not only will they enjoy the extra help in the kitchen, but you will also be able to teach others your cooking secrets.

Make mornings run smoothly: Mornings often set the mood for the rest of the day. Avoid unnecessary stress by following a routine each morning. The night before, prepare what you will need the next day and plan accordingly. By planning ahead you will feel better prepared for the hectic holiday season.

Make the holidays less materialistic and give back: Although one person can’t do everything, everyone can do something. Give to others by using your time, resources and talents. Often with a little sacrifice comes a great reward of realizing there are more important things than instant gratification. Volunteer at a local shelter, visit a nursing home, donate to a child in need and make cards for those who aren’t able to make it home for the holidays, such as deployed U.S. troops. Give gifts that mean something: Remember that it’s not necessarily how much you spend, but rather the quality that counts. A meaningful gift of time can often be worth much more than a gift with a high price tag.

Have a family date night: If you can find time to go on a date with your significant other, then you can find time to have a night specifically centered on spending quality family time together. Prepare a few activities in advance that everyone will enjoy and set your idea up for success. Find something that your family members will enjoy—be it a game, a movie, a favorite food, a favorite restaurant or a favorite activity. Have fun creating memories you can look back on—you might even start a new tradition.


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Make the most of family time during the holidays

by Kristen Phillips time to read: 2 min