Holiday Cheer: Staying Focused and Content

imgresHoliday Cheer, what exactly does that mean? Why did someone start saying this in the first place? I imagine it was first used as an advertisement slogan, but on the other hand, it might have been first said by someone who saw a bunch of grumpy, unhappy people enduring the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas and the hectic schedule of doing school, going to activities,  buying gifts, and spending Christmas with extended family. School can become an irritating event and the lack of focus can be great during this month. If you plan ahead for the month you can find joy in this season instead of rushing through it and having school be one more item to check off your To-Do list.

Prioritize

Make school your first priority and modify if necessary. School doesn’t have to be all workbooks. You can incorporate holiday activities into your school routine. How about having your children make cards and write a message to someone on your list? It used to be that I got a lot of Christmas cards. I used to think, “That’s nice.” and not really look at the card again after I had read it once. With the advent of electronic media and communication I receive very few cards any more and it truly is a treat to receive a card.  Studying fractions? What about having your mathematician double family holiday cookie recipes? Handwriting can be included as they can write out the grocery list for the supplies that are needed to buy the ingredients.

Set an Example

Are you finding that your children are getting restless and can’t stay focused? Part of that is the excitement of the season and activities, but part of it can be how you are acting and responding during this time. If you find that you are losing your patience and catch yourself responding in short, clipped sentences or raising your voice about a spelling test, take a quick inventory. Find out what is causing you to be annoyed and a way that you can eliminate it. I have found that if I stayed focused and worked alongside my children we got more accomplished in a shorter amount of time.

Focus on Others

The holidays can make you get all wrapped up in what you need to do and not look to see what other people need. “The others “can mean your family or could it also mean a person who is struggling during this season. There is nothing better to help me gain perspective than to see the needs of others. See if there is something you can do to bring a smile to your family. If you have household chores, can they be pushed off to the side for one day? How about writing a quick I love you because note and leaving it on your child’s pillow or the dashboard of your husband’s car? If you want to help others you can volunteer at a local event or you can send a card to a serviceman. Don’t have the extra time? Another idea is to donate to a charitable organization. Have the children get involved by choosing what you will do. In the past I haven’t had extra time to do something so we sent money to the Salvation Army or World Vision. Other years when we have had more time we have purchased gifts for a giving tree or dropped off cookies to neighbors. What if you don’t have extra money? A phone call or an electronic card would be a great encouragement to people and you can brighten someone’s day by letting them know you are thinking of them.

May this season be one of joy and peace for you and your family!

~Lisa

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