Archives for December 2014

It’s about PRESENCE…not presents

gingerbread houseAt this time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season and the frenzy of shopping sprees.  Is there any home with a little girl that doesn’t have a Frozen themed Elsa doll wrapped and ready to go?  Or a home with a little boy that doesn’t have a Lego building kit under the tree?  (I’m sure there are, but the toy companies would have us think otherwise).

Every year I say I’m going to opt out of the madness and make room for relaxing evenings, slow dinners, and hours of listening to the Elvis Christmas Album.  I envision me and the boys sitting around the den surrounded by twinkling lights, sipping our hot chocolate, laughing and sharing memories of seasons past.

Yet, as the holiday season rolls around, there are school dinners and concerts, sports banquets, plays, party invitations, and shopping for the kids and loved ones.  Not to mention, end of semester final exams, basketball tournaments, and end of year personal and business financial reporting.

What happens is I wind up surviving the holidays, rather than enjoying the holidays.  I regret to say that for many years I’ve let out a huge sigh (that I’ve been holding from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) and thought, “I’m glad that’s over!”

 Can you relate?  Are you rushing around to get everything ready for the holidaysand missing the holy days in your life right now?  Are you sprinting from store to store buying presents for your loved ones and missing the opportunity to snuggle up at home and gift them with your presence?

What do you think your kids will remember twenty years from now?  The doll or the time you spent together making a gingerbread house?  The Lego kit or the time you spent together baking cookies, or stringing popcorn, or eating the popcorn and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas?

I recently read an article where the author was a long-time teacher and over the years she had asked the children in her classrooms what their parents did that made them feel loved or happy.  On the Top 10 List she compiled, not one thing required money.  They all required time and presence.  Examples: tuck me in and sing me a song, give me hugs and kisses, cuddle under a blanket and watch TV, tell me stories about when you were little.

So this year, I finally made some progress.  I got the tree up and the home decorated early so we had more time to enjoy the twinkling lights. I got the Elvis Christmas Album (cd) out and popped it in the player.  I made hot chocolate with little marshmallows.  We’ve sat down to a leisurely dinner (with fresh baked cookies) several times this week.  We’ve been connecting and spending time together and I’ve been saying “no” to other distractions. THIS feels like thrivingduring the holidays, rather than surviving the holidays!  I invite you to give it a try!


Carve out a little time each day to spend with each child (one-on-one if possible). This is especially needed during hectic holiday time.  Stress is contagious….but so is calm presence.

Click here for my gift to you…a cute collection of “tickets” that your child can use for more time and connection with you.  Just print the sheet, cut out the tickets and staple them together to make your own Ticket Booklet.  Stuff it in a stocking or wrap it up and give the gift that your child will cherish all year (not just play with for a few days and toss in a corner).