December 9, 2009

Simplifying the Holiday Season

By Kathryn Graver
Community Education Coordinator
Child Abuse Council

Once again, the hectic holiday season is approaching. The season is meant to be a time of fun, family, and relaxation; however too often it becomes stressful. This year, everyone needs to consider simplifying the craziness during this season in any way they can. Many families are truly pushed to their limits by trying to do too much. Undoubtedly, by including our children and grandchildren in the discussions, they can help us simplify the holidays as well as provide new ways to connect. The following are ideas on how to accomplish this:

  • Know what is important – Prioritize things that are most important to you and your children and grandchildren. Choose only the activities that are meaningful and memorable, while leaving other less important activities for later. Try not to over commit to every party and holiday invitation you receive. Put your effort into seeing those who mean the most to you.
  • Develop a theme – Have family members help you develop a theme for the Christmas holiday (for example, a white Christmas). You can have the children make homemade decorations, including cutting out paper snowflakes.
  • Delegate items to the younger helpers in the house – Have them do simple tasks that will help you prepare for the holidays. Be sure to make these tasks fun and exciting. They can help decorate the house, make homemade gifts, and cards.
  • Bake once – If you can, bake all your cookies, cakes and pies at one time. Include the children in baking, as it is never too early to learn new skills.
  • Have a child’s perspective on the holiday season. The simplest and easiest things are often the most cherished by the children. Remember, you do not need to spend a great amount of time or money to have a great holiday.
  • Simple entertaining – For some people, entertaining can be a major holiday stress. Before we reach the next holiday, we’re bombarded with images of decorations and holiday recipes. With these standards, a simple party can become a giant task. To make entertaining easier, help your children put on a holiday play or talent show.
  • Teach the importance of giving back. Help children prepare gift boxes for the homeless or donate gifts to less fortunate children. This can be done jointly with a few families and is a great way to teach them to appreciate their good fortune and instill values of community service and kindness to others.

In the end, the most important thing to remember during the holiday season is to simplify. This will help ensure the holidays are less stressful for you, your children, and grandchildren. Include the whole family in as many aspects of the season as possible. This will provide new ways to connect and will make the holiday a more enjoyable and memorable one.

For more information about the Child Abuse Council’s prevention and education programs, you can visit us at or contact us at (309)786-1466 or contact me at