During the holiday season, there can be a lot of stress. We're overscheduled, our budgets are tight, and we're dreading that family visit that includes old Uncle Harold and his distasteful jokes. Despite all of that, we can come through this holiday season with stronger family relationships if we try. We just need to create opportunities to disengage from electronic devices and promote face-to-face conversations.
Stronger relationships won't "just happen." We have to work on them, and we have to be purposeful about it. Here are a few tips for doing that:
1. Plan a favorite family activity. Our family enjoys snowshoeing, card games, and game nights. None of those costs much, they don't require much planning, and they all provide opportunity to talk to each other. Some of our best memories have been made while snowshoeing when we're taking in beautiful views and laughing about something one of the kids said. Find an activity your family enjoys, and be sure to do that during this holiday season.
2. Try something new. Take a cooking class together. Try downhill skiing. Check out a museum you haven't visited before. While we love our familiar favorites, sometimes it's nice to try something we haven't done before. Doing that as a family provides an opportunity to work as a team, get vulnerable, and help each other be successful. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll make memories.
3. Volunteer together. Nothing builds a family bond like doing good work together. Whether you take a shift serving lunch at the homeless shelter or simply decide to shovel driveways in your neighborhood, you'll create a bond with your family while helping other people. Working together to make life easier for someone else forms a bond like nothing else.
4. Give Secret Santa gifts to each other. Sometimes we focus so much on what we're getting that we forget how giddy we can feel when we give. If that's the case this year, draw names and start a Secret Santa program in your family. Simply give each other tiny gifts for a few days in a row. Your family will bond while thoughtfully choosing gifts for each other, and when you reveal who the Santas are, you'll have lots of laughs and great discussion.
5. Deliver cookies to friends and sing Christmas carols on the way. For this one, you'll spend time together while baking and decorating the cookies, and you'll get time together in the car while you deliver them. Christmas carols add to the festive atmosphere, so turn them up loud and sing along. Having fun together as a family is a great way to build a bond. Don't feel pressure to make it perfect though. If buying cookies and singing along to Stone Temple Pilots is more your speed, do that.
These ideas should help you think of ways to spend time with your family while promoting stronger relationships. Choose an activity you all can enjoy, and utilize it to start having conversations. You'll laugh together and create memories for years to come.