Category Archives: family connection

7 Tips for a Truly Meaningful Family Holiday

7 Tips for a Truly Meaningful Family Holiday

It’s that time of the year that as children we awaited excitedly, but as adults we somewhat dread it: the holidays. It is a wonderful time of celebrations AND a time for great stress over whose house to gather and how much money to spend. We promise ourselves every year that this time will be different, only to make the same mistakes again and then some. The biggest mistake? To try and please everyone but yourself. The result is that you end up feeling depleted instead of grateful for what you have and the ones you love. If you’re ready this year to make good on your promise of having more appreciation in your holiday take a look at these ideas for a meaningful family holiday:

7 Tips for a Meaningful Family Holiday

  1. Find Your Own Meaning of the Holidays: We grow up with a handed-down notion of what the holidays are supposed to be.Traditions are followed and never questioned. Now you have your own family so how about making new traditions with them. If you have children allow them to give their input on what they like about the holidays. Share your memories to create new ones by doing more of what makes everyone happy.
  2. Make a Plan: All good ideas start with a plan. If you wait until the last minute you will just repeat last year’s path. Set a time to discuss with your partner personal expectations vs. family expectations. The idea is not to blow off everyone. Set your limit to what you are willing to do with your time and communicate ahead. Avoid surprises when family expects you for dinner every night from Thanksgiving to New Year.
  3. Take Care of Yourself: For all the work you will put into having a meaningful family holiday you deserve a break. Assign time for attending to your needs. Take that longer bath, sleep-in another hour, be lazy and order take-out. You preferred way of recharging could be among your loved ones or some alone time. The important part is to do it your way
  4. Express Your Gratitude for Each Other out Loud: That can be done as a “holiday game” of saying a positive thing about another person before desert or as a couple’s enrichment exercise of expressing their admiration for each other.
  5. Be Intentional in Your Gift Giving: This a cliché statement, but it’s so true: it’s not about the money! Giving a gift is not about you or how much you can afford. It is about the person receiving it and realizing you “get them”. You and them will get the year-long satisfaction that you communicated love and affection through a gift.
  6. Make Your Own Cards: As beautiful as the Hallmark cards are they’re also impersonal. Your time and love put into a handmade card can communicate more than words can convey. Express what you’re thankful for about the other person and what you wish for the future. You will also be teaching your children that putting effort into the gift is more important than what it costs.
  7. Volunteer: Making a holiday meaningful can include giving to others less fortunate. You can spend time visiting elders, serve a hot lunch at Thanksgiving or donate goods to a family in need. Your children will benefit from learning that not everything that matters in life comes in pretty packages..About the AuthorPatricia Cochran is a marriage counselor with The Marriage and Family Clinic. She is passionate about helping couples and families to feel connected again. In her spare time, she is busy with her toddler and enjoying friends and family time
Presence over Presents – Living this December Intentionally without Going Crazy

Presence over Presents – Living this December Intentionally without Going Crazy

  December can be an amazing and busy time of year. Filled with fun activities, this time of year can also come with party invitations, special events, and out of the ordinary obligations. Add to that the stress of shopping for the perfect gift, cleaning your house for your in-laws, and coming up with new… Continue Reading

Anxiety and Your Teen – Black and White Thinking

Anxiety and Your Teen – Black and White Thinking

Everyone experiences anxiety sometimes. Anxiety can be feelings of uneasiness, worry, nervousness, or even dread. It’s natural and healthy for your teen to experience some anxiety at different times. Sometimes, anxiety can even be motivating; like if it encourages your teen to study for that science test! But teens can also experience unhealthy and troublesome… Continue Reading

Can You Hear Me?? The Importance of Validation

Can You Hear Me?? The Importance of Validation

Validation can be the difference between happy and unhappy relationships but is sometimes one of the toughest things for families to show and communicate to each other. One of the most common things I hear as a counselor is “they don’t hear me!” Couples come in and describe wanting to be heard by their partner,… Continue Reading

Mental Health and Your Child Part 2: Questions to Ask Your Future Therapist

Mental Health and Your Child Part 2: Questions to Ask Your Future Therapist

Making the decision to take your child to counseling can be overwhelming. In part 1 of this series, we talked about how and where to find a good therapist. Now, let’s narrow it down to finding a good fit for you, your child, and your family. When starting out on your search one of the… Continue Reading

Five Family Therapy Exercises You Don’t Need Therapy to Do

The first couple sessions of family counseling can be difficult as you navigate a new relationship with a counselor and share your families’ struggles. Once in family counseling all of that hard work clears a path for new ways of communicating and re-building those relationships that you have missed. But as a family counselor, I… Continue Reading

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Family

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Family

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday for couples to celebrate all of the things you love about each other. There’s nothing funner than to celebrate the love you share between one another and all the great things you share in your relationship. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be for lovers. Valentine’s Day is… Continue Reading

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