Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of joy and good cheer while simultaneously offering plenty of reasons to be stressed out and anxious — the gifts you haven’t wrapped, school finals, impending family gatherings, the pile of cookie exchange invites, the office parties… and the list goes on.

There are certainly plenty of have to’s on the agenda and a dizzying array of plans to keep up with. These seasonal happenings can be a great opportunity to connect and focus on togetherness and gratitude. With some practical tips, the stress that accompanies the holidays can be minimized for parents and children of all ages. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

This season is, for parents, associated with a lengthy school break and kids at home desperate to be entertained. This may be the perfect opportunity to create new traditions that everyone can count on and look forward to.  Keeping it simple can keep it fun – sharing a favorite meal, watching a movie marathon (The Santa Clause movies, It’s A Wonderful Life, Polar Express – just a few favorites), making homemade gifts and cards for loved ones and so on. As families change and grow, so do their Holiday celebrations. Maybe some teens want to spend more time with their peers or have outgrown some of the family rituals.

Involve your teens in planning, adapting or even helping create new traditions.  This year, why not start a new tradition that reinforces the spirit of “giving”?

Here are a few ways to keep up the spirit, reinforce togetherness, and occupy vacation time.

Cozy Inside Ideas and Outside adventures…

  1. Homemade Crafts: A gift crafted from the heart has value far beyond the baubles purchased at the store and have the uniqueness of the giver and recipient.
    1. snow globes: The awesomeness of a winter season filled with sledding, snowmen, and fluffy blankets of powdery goodness don’t seem to fade with time. After all, these snow-filled memories have long been written and sang about through time. Transforming a child’s first ornament into a snow globe is a great way to make a new memory with the old. What you need: canning jar(s), glitter, hot glue gun, decorative ornaments, water…presto!
    2. Greeting cards: With the internet, texting, and social media handling the bulk of communication these days, won’t it be nice for loved ones near and far to receive and hand crafted card… Download and print coloring pages http://www.coloring.ws/christmas.htm or print our preloaded card on cardstock and color them with the family. Download preloaded cards HERE
  2. Add a little flavor: Cooking and baking as a family can be a wonderfully messy adventure filled with opportunities to create new memories and bring back the old ones…
    1. Culture Night: Have the family pick a culture to learn about and create a traditional dish and project based on the research. (example: Culture – China; Project – Paper Lanterns; Food – dim sum) Learn something new and fun! Check out DuoLingo to learn some new words. https://www.duolingo.com/ Add to the adventure year round with a map of the world that the family can pin once the fun is over.
    2. Bake-offs: Grab the whole family and encourage the kids to bring in some friends on this one! Each participant will draw the name of a baked good from a jar and create a dinner and dessert special filled with laughs and fun.
  3. Take a hike and snap a pic: Create a photo album of holiday adventures with the family. Take a hike on the Hirschman or Independence Trail and take family photos in the beautiful scenery. The trails are ADA accessible and kid-friendly.
  4. Travel through time: The cultural history of Nevada County is known far and wide.
    1. Cornish Christmas – Enjoy the 48th annual Grass Valley Cornish Christmas Celebration – Friday Nights: Nov. 27 – Dec. 4, 11, 18, 2015 from 6:00 – 9:00pm Learn more… http://downtowngrassvalley.com/downtown-grass-valley-events/grass-valley-cornish-christmas/
    2. Victorian Christmas – Nevada City Victorian Christmas 2015 – Sundays – Dec 6, 13 & 20 from 1:30 – 6pm and Wednesdays – Dec 16 & 23 from 5 – 9pm https://www.nevadacitychamber.com/nevada-city-events/victorian-christmas/
    3. Empire Mine – Celebrate the holidays early 1900s’ style at Holidays at Empire Mine –Friday November 27th & Saturday November 28th, 2015 – Festive activities from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Free admission for children under 6 http://www.empiremine.org/holidays-at-empire-mine
  5. The gift of Giving: Families make the best of this time of year with what they have. Help your family embrace the people and organizations committed to generosity and learn about a charity, organization, or cause that may inspire your family to see if you can help. Even spreading the word about the efforts being done in the community is helping. Check out Giving Edge for a list and profiles of non-profits in our community. https://givingedge.guidestar.org/home.aspx

Regardless of family background, beliefs or stage of life, Family Traditions are important as they promote quality family time and lasting memories. Make each day count.