As soon as I post this, I am off to the mall to finish my holiday shopping. It will be a leaner Christmas for the Schafer’s, but mostly because I bought myself a $1,000 emergency root canal last week. I can’t blame the economy on that. I did share my thoughts on how to handle the money crisis and the upcoming holiday with children in yesterday’s Globe and Mail. You can read it here if you’d like more information on the how to have the “money talk.” (Gee, and we thought talking about sex was difficult!)
Frankly, I am happy to do some consumer downsizing and spend more of my energies on the other traditions that surround this season. Here is some of what our family does:
- I have bought each of my children a goat to give to another family through Free The Children. This is an organization my daughter is involved with, and a goat is a really tangible thing that they were thrilled to “get” for these other children. (Yeah, I already told them. Couldn’t wait till the 25th!)
- Last year I asked my daughter to give something to the families in Darfur (South Sudan) as her gift to me. That meant she had to do some research, and she was really moved but what she learned. It was a gift to us both, really. She was really proud to have sent her own money to their aid.
- Every year my husband and I ask our children for something they have made themselves.They are 13 and 14 years old now, but I still keep this tradition going. Last year, I got a wonderful scrapbook that my daughter compiled called, “The 100 things I love about you.” The year before, I received a tin box with a glass front, and inside the tin was a note that said, “We blew 100 kisses each into this box for you,” so I could have a kiss any time I needed one.
Be creative yourself in your quest to have the best holiday ever with your family. If you really want those presents under the tree, see if Christmas lasagna could become a new tradition! I think I spend more at the grocery store than the mall anyway.
However you go about it, remember that all of our stresses are in fact self-inflicted miseries. I refuse to indulge myself that way. You always have the ability to control your attitude, regardless of how dire the situation. Enjoy your family. That is all that matters.
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com