Let's face it, although Christmas is a wonderful time of year, it can also be stressful. The truth is that some people are more depressed during the holiday season than any other time of the year. This is sometimes due to loneliness but many other times it is related to feelings of powerlessness or complete failure when one is not able to provide the gifts or the Christmas that they feel their family deserves.
The good news is that the focus of Christmas doesn't have to be on gifts at all - instead, it can be placed on a nice tradition of getting together with family and loved ones. Just enjoying time together, having a nice meal and conversation can be a very nice way to celebrate the holidays.
As for the children, that can be very easy. Begin with fun things like doing simple craft projects. My family has always used Thanksgiving to mark the beginning of the Christmas holiday season. After our traditional dinner, the children gather around the table and write their first letters of the season to Santa. I say first because they usually end up writing two or sometimes three.
You know how that goes - the kids change their minds as time goes on and they worry that they will be on Santa's Naughty List because of some bad behavior so they write another letter to explain it away.
Another wonderful tradition is decorating our home. Once again the kids get in on the action. They enjoy making ornaments and other items to adorn the house. They proudly point out to visitors the things they have created.
By instilling these basic traditions in our children at an early age we are teaching them that there is more to Christmas than simply what is under the tree. In fact, one of our traditions is for the kids to make Christmas cards out of construction paper for the residents of a local nursing home.
We draw names for each of us in the family and the idea is that we have to 'make' the gift that we give. This has been a lot of fun for everyone - and even though the gifts are simple and sometimes, lacking the expertise needed to make them what they should be - they are extremely special because they were handcrafted just for us.
We also play silly games on Christmas Eve where the winners get a prize from the 99 cent store. It's good family fun.
By using your imagination and creativity you can find ways of making Christmas special. How about having your children receive a genuine letter from Santa direct from the North Pole? This inexpensive gift will become a treasured keepsake and you will cherish the delight on the kids' faces as they read the letters again and again.
I will be posting more ideas as time goes by so keep checking in!