by Tashica Jacobson
With the start of October we are now in the last quarter of the year, which always seems like the busiest part of the year. Cold weather is setting in making last minute yard and house work a must and preparations for the two biggest holidays have started. These two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, while extremely family focused do not always seem to bring the family together like we hope. So before the full blown holiday crazy sets in, and you still have spare time to read a random blog article, here are some thing you can add to your to do list to keep the focus on the family this season.
Make an Intentional Effort to Spend Time with Family
The Pew Research Center did a survey on what people like most and least about the holidays. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they enjoy spending time with family. Thirty-three percent of respondents said that the most disliked aspect of the holidays was the commercialism and materialism that appears during this time of year. Another survey examined the holiday season and the activities that people engage in. Researchers found the people actually spend more time engaging in activities that they don’t like. There tends to actually be a decrease in the time spent with family and friends, and an increase in shopping and decorating.
People can honestly identify the things they like and dislike but their actions don’t correspond. So what is the fix for this? Focus on what matters most: family and friends. We need to be intentional about our family time. Figure out what works for you and yours and go with that. There is not a one size fits all solution for every family.
If forgetting about the decorating will stop your one year old from pulling ornaments off the tree, then cut back this one year on the decorations. I’ve heard of families who do a no gifts Christmas to direct their focus on one another or the birth of Christ. Find what works for yours. Share your vision for this season with your family. I know of many mothers who have an ideal Christmas scene in their mind, but don’t bother to let their husbands in on what they hope to accomplish. This leads to confusion and conflict.
Holiday depression is a reality, which makes sense if people are spending most of their time during the holidays engaging in activities they don’t really like. It is also a difficult time of year for those who have suffered a loss.
The Mayo Clinic published a list of things to do to prevent depression during the holidays. At the top of the list is acknowledge your feelings and seek help. If you’re lonely or stressed reach out to someone you trust. Reaching out to a family member for help will bring you both closer, which after all is what people want during this time of year.
So as this joyous but also difficult season starts, keep In mind that spending time with family is what you really want to be doing. All the decorations, gifts, travel, carols, and food would mean nothing if you didn’t have anyone to share them with. And while it still may be one of the busiest times of the year it doesn’t have to be the most stressful.