The A/C was on just last week and now it is time to start hauling firewood to heat our house. How quickly the seasons change. And with fall comes the beginning of several holidays. Does that warm your heart or begin a panic? Now is the time to begin preparing so the holidays are wonderful family times and minimal stress.
So, let’s get the big picture- what is important about the holidays? That is different for each family and even different from year to year. What is it this year for you?
- family time
- volunteering and giving
- time off work
- and the list goes on…
Deciding what you and your family will be doing, where you will be going and how to pay for it all is where to start. Depending on the age of your children, distance to family, financial situation and work obligations each of us will answer the question differently. But knowing the plan and obstacles will make planning easier and the outcome just better.
For example, when we had young children we wanted to stay home so they could have holidays in their own house. And my husband had to work at the holiday time. For 2 years he had to be in charge of the consessions for a women’s college basketball tourneyment over Thanksgiving. For us to spend time together as a family we had a hot dog together at the basketball game for Thanksgiving dinner. My kids thought it was so cool. I could have been incredibly disappointed, but chose to see it an opportunity to just take the day off cooking and be together. Who can say “no” to free hot dogs and popcorn?
Then we moved to a farm and found that it is a lot of work to get someone to care for all the critters for us to be out of town. We have to start planning a lot farther in advance. There is no vet that will board 40 sheep, 20 chickens, 2 bunnies, etc. We are so thankful for neighbors who trade chores with us. We plan to travel this year, so I am working on this NOW. We also have more time to get good rates on travel and accomodations by starting early.
As our parents ( and kids) are getting older, we cherish times together. Our oldest 2 kids are in college and next 2 in high school, so the days of writing letters to Santa before bed on Xmas eve are over, but there are still precious Xmas memories made each year. For several years we have volunteered to feed the hungry in our communitty on Xmas and Thanksgiving. Time together is a priority.
It is not to early to gather the family and see what others have in mind for the holidays and see if you can make it happen. Planning ahead will make it easier in the long run.
Next time: Gifts? For whom, how much, how?