Take Back the Holidays: Tips for Family Bonding

photo: Andrew Malone, Creative Commons

photo: Andrew Malone, Creative Commons

Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks! If you’re a parent, you’re probably already noticing that your kids are counting down the days to their holiday break. School breaks are meant to be times when families take a break from their hectic schedules and find ways to unwind together.

However, it can be easy to get swept up in the holiday rush.

Before you know it, your daily schedule is even busier than the average school day. The holiday breaks can quickly get packed with parties, activities, shopping, traveling, and simply playing catch-up. Sometimes it can even feel more stressful and overwhelming than when the kids are in school!

This holiday season, find time to bond as a family and enjoy time with your children!

Here are four ways to take back the holidays:

1. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re a Grinch!

Many families get caught up in the season and say yes to every invitation and activity that comes their way. This can lead to schedules that are more packed and overwhelming than the average school day. Having too many scheduled activities can take the fun and relaxation out of the holidays.

Sit down and prioritize all invitations and activities to find the ones most important to the family. Politely say no to the rest! You will be so surprised to see how much more enjoyable the season is without having to rush from one activity to the next.

2. Turn chores into bonding opportunities. 

Getting the house ready and making sure everyone is fed during the holidays can be overwhelming as well. Get the whole family involved and find ways to make the typical chores fun.

Divide the chores and give the children age appropriate tasks to do. This is a great time for older children and teens to begin to learn the ins and outs of doing laundry. Add some festivity by singing along to Christmas carols. Make chores fun by introducing prizes or rewards to the person who gets his or her task done the fastest. Never underestimate the motivating potential of a candy cane!

3. Create new family recipes. 

Some of the best holiday memories involve food. Create memories by involving your children in every aspect of the cooking process: plan the menu, find the recipes, and design the table decorations. Have your children decide what they want to prepare and allow them to help in the kitchen.

Let go of the need to have perfect meals and accept your children’s best efforts. A crowded kitchen gives families the time to catch up with and learn more about each other. Take fun pictures and videos to archive the experience of cooking together. Who knows, you may even create new family traditions and fun memories!

4. Relax!


Remember what the holidays are all about. Find time just to sit with your family and talk about all the wonderful blessings you have. Go around the table and have each person say what they are thankful for. You can even have each person say one thing they appreciate about someone else in the family. Reminisce about the past year and talk about your favorite memories from previous years. Sit, relax, and enjoy a moment of celebration with your family!


Laura Lebovitz

LLebovitz@ GROWcounseling.com