This year we are preparing for one of the most different Christmases in our lifetime but I have been looking forward to Christmas more this year than any other, mainly just to relax and enjoy the holiday season.
During a normal year there are plenty of activities we enjoy as a family, such as the Polar Express Train. This year we are focusing on simpler holiday traditions. We have already decorated our tree and put up outside and inside Christmas decorations. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology decorating earlier tells your neighbors that you’re accessible and people view that as being friendlier.
Giving back to the community is another way that can brighten your mood. Research has shown people who volunteer are more satisfied with their lives and in overall better health.
Recently our 4-H members contributed to Samaritan's Purse. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization whose mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their communities. Last year our clubs collected 180 boxes and then set a goal of 360 for this year. We are proud to say they exceeded that goal and collected 442 boxes this year.
Other Christmas ideas for the family:
- Receive a gift, give a gift. I’m a huge proponent of giving some toys away for the holiday season AND keeping things tidy. This way you can do both!
- Make a healthy Snack- A fruit Christmas tree or Santa fruit skewers can be healthy and a fun activity.
- TV time! Really? – I know TV time can have a negative impact, but I think there something special and positive for a family to sit down as a group and watch a funny Christmas movie together. We recently watch “Home Alone” one night and “Christmas Chronicles 2” another night. During this time the kids enjoyed hot chocolate and a light snack.
- Family Christmas pictures- This is definitely not for the faint of heart, especially if you have young children, but once you get some good picture of the family you can cherish those forever. I recommend setting a time limit on pictures. Don’t overdo it.
I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Zach Davis, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension