Although the holiday season is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, it can often be quite stressful. As the temperatures drop and decorations are hung, many families find themselves bouncing from one celebration to the next in a celebratory whirlwind. With so much happening at once, it can begin to feel like there’s barely a minute to catch your breath, let alone find time to create quality moments with your loved ones. Although the winter months can be hectic, in a season meant for celebrating, it’s important to ensure that you’re making the most out of this rare opportunity to spend more time with the people who light up your life all year round. Next time you’re feeling frazzled—an all-too-common side effect of busy schedules this time of year—remind yourself to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect on the true “reason for the season:” counting your blessings and basking in the presence of your friends and family.
SET ASIDE TIME
As most of us are well-aware, when it comes to spending quality time with your family, sometimes the only way to guarantee that everyone's in the same place at the same time is to schedule gatherings ahead of time. Designating a night once a week, once every two weeks, or even once a month as “family night” is a great way to ensure that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season doesn’t stop you from creating precious new memories with those nearest and dearest to you.
Be kind to yourself this December. Focus on the big picture: remember that eating that extra cookie won’t make or break your fitness regimen, and although it might be hard to believe it now, all this merry mayhem will die down eventually, leaving you with ample time to get back into your go-getter groove. So for now, just sit back, pour yourself your favorite holiday beverage (eggnog, anyone?), and do your best to embrace the chaos that is unfolding around you.
Allow these six simple traditions to inspire your creativity and guide the agenda for a fun, festive date with family or friends in the weeks to come. It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays, and we’re here to make sure that yours are full of love and laughter...
Nothing feels as good as giving back, especially when you’re doing it alongside the people you care about most. This winter, create an awesome new tradition with your family by dedicating a day to doing service together. Whether it’s volunteering at a local soup kitchen, donating to a holiday toy drive, or shoveling your next-door neighbor’s driveway, make it an event by getting your whole crew involved. With the right mindset, you’d be amazed by how many activities can transform from humdrum to holly-jolly once they become a whole family affair. Plus, the feel-good effect of helping others is sure to keep you and your loved ones feeling warm and fuzzy all day, no matter how cold it gets outside.
Before you decide that the last thing you want to do is a downward dog with your dad or attempt to focus on your breathing while your kids are messing around on the mat next to you, hear us out. Many people see yoga as a solitary practice, but that’s not to say there aren’t some pretty great perks to shaking things up and partaking in some poses with your favorite people. If your family includes little ones, try calling your local yoga studio to find out if any family-friendly classes are being offered. Especially around the holidays, many hot yoga studios offer unheated options in addition to their normal classes to better accommodate yogis of all ages. Flowing as a family is a great way to kick off your morning, round out your evening, or reinvigorate you and the rest of the gang for an action-packed afternoon. Also, since you got your sweat on, now you can eat that extra cookie (or three) with a 100% guilt-free conscience.
’Tis the season to indulge, and let’s face it: most of us don’t need a ton of convincing when there’s a perfectly valid reason to up our sugar intake. Setting aside a wintry afternoon to make holiday cookies with friends, family, or both is a sweet treat that is virtually guaranteed to be a blast for everyone involved. Crank up the Christmas tunes, the Dreidel Song, or whatever music makes you merry and break out the rolling pins and the cookie cutters. Homemade delicacies baked by the whole crew make for excellent holiday gifts in the office or around the neighborhood. Then again, nobody said you have to share them...
There’s no quicker way to get into the holiday spirit than having a good old-fashioned arts-and-crafts session with the family. Clear off the dining room table and set out whatever supplies you need to get the group’s creative juices flowing. Colored paper, Magic Markers, pom-poms, glitter, you name it—the more art supplies the merrier. Collaborate with your fellow crafters to make one-of-a-kind Christmas cards, or break out the scissors and a stack of white paper and start snipping snowflakes to hang in your front window. Kids especially will love the chance to create with you—especially if one of the things you bring to the table is a surprise batch of hot chocolate. Extra points for including marshmallows.
No matter what winter holiday your family celebrates, there’s just something about curling up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket on your lap, your loved ones by your side, and a classic Christmas movie playing on your television. If your family’s on the larger or more argumentative side and you’re having trouble deciding on a movie to watch, don't fret: a holiday movie marathon is never a bad thing. Of course, if time is a factor, one easy way to incentivize good behavior is to tell your kids (or your spouse) that whoever does the dishes gets to choose the movie.
BRAVE THE ELEMENTS
Sure, it might be a little bit colder than usual, but getting outdoors even in the wintertime is ridiculously refreshing—just don’t forget to layer. If you live someplace snowy, suit up with snow pants and mittens and take advantage of this limited-time opportunity to go rockin’ through a winter wonderland with your family. Classic ideas for outdoor adventures this time of year include strapping on your snow boots and building a snowman complete with a carrot nose, or taking your whole team to the nearest hill to go sledding. If you’re from a warmer climate, not to worry. Whether there’s snow on the ground or not, you can still make it feel like the holidays by taking a nature walk, then enjoying hot cocoa afterward.