Now that I have started a family of my own, the holiday season has become a trip down memory lane for me and my husband. We get to relive all of our favorite childhood traditions as we share them with our son. Decorating the house, recreating delicious recipes, and traveling to visit family are all things we enjoy doing this time of year. My aunt has taken it upon herself to learn every single cookie recipe that exists and all of her nieces and nephews are her test subjects. Not a bad way to pass the time! Logistics are tricky with beloved family members living in at least four different states.
We've learned that being with family is important even if it's not on the actual date of a calendar holiday. The challenging part, however, comes every time I turn on the TV, walk through a department store, or just have a chat with friends. All around us are advertisements for the newest and best toys out there. While my son doesn't yet have a concept of what's a "must have" toy yet, it's difficult for us parents to not get swept up in the glitz and glitter of all the pretty ads out there.
Our strategy has been to make a conscious effort to focus on experiences for our son rather than things. We go see the parade, drive around and see the lights, make s'mores around the fire – memories that will (hopefully) stick with him (he isn't yet two years old, after all!). We also offer suggestions (when asked) to family members about how they can celebrate the season with him – a new book, contributions to his college fund, an interactive toy that he can learn from. Family members also love sharing their own holiday traditions with him, which is fun for us (especially when it involves cookies!). This year, I'll be working on soaking up every moment and trying to relax a little bit.