Sue Atkins gives half a dozen tips to make this year's family Christmas something to remember for all the right reasons.
A friend of mine is having trouble sorting out the arrangements over Christmas Dinner with her ex. I thought that maybe I should encourage her to refocus her priorities, by reminding her of something important. Right now she is creating a blueprint of how she handles this magical time for her kids - and she is in the process of making and creating memories for them that will last for their lifetimes.
So often people focus on the stress of Christmas but I like to focus on the positive things in life. You can leave creating a great time and wonderful memories to chance, or you can weave the magic tapestry of a wonderful experience of Christmas with your family through great design and planning.
Here are six ideas to conjure up that extra bit of magic in your Christmas, or holiday time:
IDEA 1: Imagine it
Just take a little time now to close your eyes, take in a couple of deep relaxing breaths and visualise in a perfect world how you'd like your Christmas to look... and sound.. and feel... make the picture really colourful, brighter and really up close to you... and perhaps you could imagine just stepping into the picture or film that you have running in your head and really imagine being in there. Imagine I have waved a magic wand and have made things just as you would really want... and do this over and over again until it feels real. You'll start to notice the difference in how much more relaxed you immediately feel and you'll start to notice what seems to unfold as if by magic from now on!
IDEA 2: Capture the Memories
Take lots of digital photos during family get-togethers. Upload the photos to a family photo-sharing site (I recommend: http://www.dropshots.com/ ; it's safe and secure, and photos are not shared publicly or indexed by search engines) and send the link to everyone.
During your get-togethers have family pictures and albums available from previous holidays. They can stimulate conversations and warm memories of Christmases past and - of important people who might no longer be around anymore.
IDEA 3: The Sound of Music
Get the music cranked up and blaring in your house! From Christmas Carols to Slade or Leona Lewis! And ask everyone in your family what their favourite songs are and go online to i-tunes, find the songs, download them, make a copy for everyone to keep as a great memory and a personal little pressie to give to them. Everyone's favourite Christmas holiday music all captured on one CD - what a special gift and memory!
IDEA 4: Box O' Wishes
This idea comes from Oprah Winfrey... place a small box at everyone's place setting containing an index card for each person. Ask everyone to answer one or more of these questions about each person there and put the answers into their box.
Example questions are:
• What I love about you is...
• Thank you for...
• My Christmas wish for you is...
Everyone will leave with perhaps the most meaningful gift they have ever received—a box of love and good wishes from everyone at the party. This is really a lovely moment as it also sets the tone and frame of mind for your entire time together!
IDEA 5: Box O' Questions
Everyone thinks up and writes down 2 to 3 questions on topics they would like to know about each other or, as host, you can create a list of questions. The questions need to be general enough so they can be answered by anyone.
Put all the questions in a box and pass it around to each person to select and answer.
Example questions are:
• What is your favourite childhood memory?
• What is the most important life lesson you learned from your parents?
• Who was your childhood best friend and what made them so special?
• What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects?
• Who were your childhood heroes and why?
• What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
• What is your most important goal for the next 3 to 5 years?
IDEA 6: Time Versus Trinkets
For your close family and friends, instead of marching through the shopping centres to find the "perfect gift," the most meaningful gift you can give is your time. Along with a card filled with thoughtful sentiments, enclose half-a-dozen experiences you are giving for them for the coming year.
• A picnic at a special place.
• A trip to the beach or the snowy mountains or a lovely river.
• A football game, a local fair, a film, a special lunch outing at their favourite restaurant, etc.
• An entire day when you will do anything they want you to do or accompany them anywhere—without complaint!
Explore, get creative and relax and I really wish you and your family a warm, wonderful and especially meaningful Christmas holiday!
Have a magical time!
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best selling book "Raising Happy Children for Dummies" one of the famous black and yellow series and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She has also just launched her 1st Parenting Made Easy app for iPhones and iPads.
She is currently writing a new book for Random House called "Parenting Made Easy" which will be available in April 2012.
Sue offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children from toddler to teen.
She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and is the parenting expert for many BBC Radio Stations around the UK. She has a regular monthly parenting phone-in on BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
To receive Sue's free ebook bursting with practical tips and helpful advice from toddler to teen log on to www.theSueAtkins.com and download it instantly today.
You can also follow her on twitter @SueAtkins.
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