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Holiday Hints: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Christmas is a wonderful, but hectic time for families. We love the magic and goodness of the season, but sometimes the preparation can be overwhelming.

Here is one Mom’s predicament:

The school has a fundraiser going so Mom needs to bake cookies for her daughter to take to the classroom. The church holiday party is next week, and Mom promised to help. The lady in charge wants her to paste little cut-out snowflakes on two hundred programs to make them look fancy. Some of the neighbors have already brought plates of Christmas goodies to the house, and the pressure is on to reciprocate. Mom is planning on making several batches of her award-winning toffee. She still has to get all the gifts for her own family.

The kids have been pestering to put up decorations, read the library books they checked out the other day, and play the new game Dad brought home from his business trip. Mom puts her daughter off when she wants to hang up the Christmas lights because Mom is trying to get the cookies made for school. Mom turns to her daughter with desperation in her voice and lists all the things she has to do in the next several days.

Daughter looks at Mom and stomps her foot. “Everything else is more important than us.”

Mom sits down at the kitchen table with her head in her hands and starts to cry.

What happened to the fun of the holiday? How can Mom find joy in the season?

Remember, relationships and the fun you have with your family will be the lasting gift of the holiday. When I was young, I made cookies and caramel corn with my grandmother to take to friends in the area. We laughed and talked together, and I still cherish those memories.

So how do you focus on making lasting memories and passing on the love you feel for those around you?

1. Recall your own holiday childhood memories and recreate some of them in your own family.

2. Decide what messages you want to give you family about the season.

3. Turn these messages into an action list and prioritize it.

4. Find ways to make the love of the season last all year long.

Let’s go back to our harried Mom who is trying to spread herself too thin and see how she solved her problem.

1. Mom and her daughter made cookies for the school fundraiser together. The cookies weren’t as perfect as Mom would have made them by herself, but the two of them had fun working together.

2. Mom went to an office supply store and bought paper with snowflakes on it and took it to the lady in charge of the church program.

3. Mom and her kids made crispy rice treats interspersed with a few pieces of her special toffee which she cooked quickly one evening while Dad read to the children. The entire family sang carols and took the goodies to friends and neighbors.

4. The family blocked out an evening to put up their decorations and play the game Dad brought home.

5. Mom and Dad worked together to purchase the gifts. Mom also bought as much as she could on line to save shopping time.

6. Most evenings the family took time to read a book before bed.

7. As often as they can, Mom and Dad take a few minutes and put their feet up to enjoy the Christmas lights.


“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” ~ Michael J. Fox


Enjoy your family this season. Remember, the gifts that last are cherished memories.

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