How to Enjoy Your Christmas: Three-Word Lessons

Have you ever finished a harried Christmas season wishing you had made some different choices or made some different plans that would have made the holiday much more meaningful to you and your family?

Early on in our family life, we had that experience one too many times. We had regrets about how we spent our time over the holidays, and we had a dull ache in our hearts as we watched our children grow. So, we decided to do something about it.

Here are three ideas, of about 25 we’ve loved over the years, that have made our Christmases very, very bright. You can even modify them to work for your family!

#1 Open Presents Slowly

The 12 days of Christmas might be your best friend.

What if, on Christmas morning, everyone only opens presents from other people, and just one present from you?

Then, every day following Christmas, for 12 days, we open a few gifts to stretch out the experience. When we do this, we find that something truly miraculous occurs. Instead of being quick to move on to another gift on Christmas morning, our kids began to appreciate each gift more deeply. So did we.

Why? We were giving both them and us time to appreciate the gifts, thank those who gave them, and anticipate the next day. You can imagine how much fun you can have both giving and receiving – and using anticipation to keep the excitement fresh.

Try it; you might like it!

#2 Kill the Electronics.

Even a Smart Phone can take a vacation.

Early on in your child’s life, declare to them and to the world that mobile phones and the non-present people attached to them, are not as important as those people with whom one is face-to-face in that moment.

From Christmas day through to December 27th, or even New Year’s Day (or modify the plan according to your situation), declare an “electronics vacation.” Texting, phones, video games, perhaps even the television (woah – you have to learn to love board games to pull that one off), can be a distraction from conversation and storytelling. Yes – parents are included in this as well.

When older folks like grandparents are present, hundreds of stories, over a lifetime, never get told because kids are texting when they should be asking Grandma “What was your favorite Christmas growing up?”

Susie down the street can wait – kill the electronics and make some memories with the treasured people in the room.

#3 Wear Those Pajamas.

A pajama day can score big time with the family.

A family tradition in our home is that every year, on December 26, we have what we call a “Jammy Day.” On Jammy Day, we remain in our pajamas all day long.

Meeting at breakfast in the morning, we assign each person in the family a one-hour block that day. During each person’s block, that person may decide what they would like the entire family to do with them for fun (within reason).

Imagine Mom playing the NFL Football video game, Dad playing with dolls, or all the kids sitting in one room with the parents, reading a favorite book. In our case, even a winter family walk is taken (usually Mom’s choice) with everyone’s pajamas on under their winter gear. Don’t break the rule – pajamas must remain on!

Then, order in dinner (Chinese food is our winner), and top off the day with a game night. You have hours to kill – play a few games that everyone loves. Grandparents can join the Jammy Fun too, and just think – you can make fun of what each other is wearing all day long.