This time of year gets so busy with shopping, gift giving and houses full of relatives that sometimes its easy to lose site of the spirit of the Holidays. Here are five simple ideas for how you can make 2010 a Holiday Season to remember:
1. Bring back a childhood favorite. A few years ago my brother showed up at Easter with a pack of Shrinky Dinks—something we use to love to do when we were younger. We all went crazy for them and spent an entire evening coloring them and watching them shrink in the oven. My mom has a priceless picture of all four of us (ages 21-30) crowded around the oven and our little sister (then like 6) trying to see over us. So bust out your favorite game from childhood, whip something up with your Easy-Bake Oven, and let the memories roll.
2. Do something nice for a kid. The year our parents got a grill for Christmas our little sister got a castle. We took the box from the grill, painted it pink and purple, and thanks to 2 out of 4 of her siblings being professional artists our littlest sister got the greatest Christmas gift ever—-four older siblings slaving all day to create the most fabulous cardboard castle of all time—turrets and all. To our amazement she played in it until she was too big to fit inside.
3. Family Videos? You bet. Reminiscing about those old videos captured on VHS is a great way to spend some quality time during the holidays (if you still have a functioning VHS player, that is). Yesterday Josh’s sister surprised me with an entire bag of their old home movies, and seeing my future husband as an adorable 8 year old (yes honey, I really did think your huge glasses were adorable) was a perfect start to the season.
4. Volunteer, or do something that makes you feel good. For the second year in a row I’m making a point to provide Christmas gifts for a family that deserves them. While community programs that link you to families in need or toy drives are a great resource—if you just look around, you might be surprised to see a neighbor, family friend or other community member that could use your help. Actually knowing the people you are providing with Holiday Cheer? Priceless.
5. Don’t buy all your gifts. While everyone appreciates opening up the exact iPod that they had on their Christmas list, those aren’t the gifts you remember twenty years from now. Pick up a new hobby and give the gift of your creative side. I just started knitting, and while I’m far from skilled I couldn’t help but knit a tiny scarf for Stevie, my future sister-in-law’s dog. Have a service you can provide? Give the gift of child care, website development, photography or crafting lessons.