Madison
35° F
Overcast
Overcast

5 ways to celebrate family during holidays

Published On: Dec 08 2011 05:40:39 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2014 10:36:13 AM CST
family next to Christmas tree

iStock/Deklofenak

During the holiday season it can be all too easy to lose yourself and get caught up in the wrong things.

Often, there is more attention paid to the price of the gifts, the elaborateness of decorations or the decadence of the food. But the holiday season is the perfect time to focus on family.

Here's a charge: Instead of focusing on the things that will only matter for a day or two, focus on building better relationships with family or celebrating the family's history.

Trust us, those gifts will still be there under the tree when you're done.

In that spirit, we've collected five things that you can do to celebrate family during the holiday season. First on the list is to do something special with a kid or a few kids in your family ...

children cooking with mother

Day with youth of family

If you insist on gift-giving during the holidays, give the gift of your time. Tell a family member who has younger children that you are going to relieve him or her for the afternoon, although all day would likely be better.

This will give that family member some adult time to relax and rejuvenate for the little one's return. If the child is younger, consider an age-appropriate outing such as Disney on Ice or a kid's movie. Some type of athletic event will make any youth excited, too. Consider even playing a few video games together.

Baking cookies or a cake could be a blast. Arts and crafts, too.

For children who are preteen or teen, a meal at their favorite restaurant will also offer an opportunity to eat and have good conversation.

But while there is a need to focus on the younger ones in the family, there is a definite need to focus on the older family members ...

seniors watching tv holidays

Wisdom found in matriarch, patriarch

A lot of times, families forget about the fountain of wisdom and knowledge that older relatives have.

The holiday season offers a perfect opportunity to show love and respect to one of the elders in the family and to also gather important family stories.

While many things in life remain the same, there are many things that change. Elders can provide a firsthand account of how things used to be. They also contain information that, if they should die without telling, will be forever lost.

According to Kimberly Powell, a professional genealogist, a few questions that will provide invaluable information are: What was your house like? How were holidays celebrated in your family? How is the world different today than it was when you were a youth?

All of this information should be recorded or written down.

Once gathered, it's important to keep it and pass it to a person of the next generation who is responsible enough to keep the family history ...

Family photos, senior, grandfather, pictures 640x360

Family history in a box

Once important family history and facts have been gathered, there are a few other things that should be collected during the holidays.

The elder should be asked to produce any old photos of even older family members, if possible. While a current video can definitely be shot, ask the relative if there is any historic footage of the family or family events. This will make great conversation.

If there are any letters, newspaper articles or other documentation about the family, include it.

Put everything together in a box.

One or two people should be appointed to maintain the family records. It's always better to have two copies of everything just in case.

Don't let this discussion cause any dissension in the family, however. But if there are any estranged or quarreling family members, the holiday season is also a time to put it to an end ...

sisters fighting over Christmas gift

Stop fighting family members

There are sparks, arguments and sometimes even fistfights in families, but the holiday season is a perfect opportunity to make things right.

A "gnawing feeling" indicates that the matter should be handled so that it doesn't continue throughout the holiday season, according to Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc and author of "Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger."

"How strong is your reaction to that person?" he said. "If it's strong enough, you want to deal with it."

Gorkin added that sometimes it may be a pattern of small things that are said and done that may make a family member uncomfortable.

However, the key to resolving family disputes is to use good communication skills by telling the family member how something makes you feel and asking that he or she stop.

And after quarreling family members are back to being lovey dovey again, it's time to start a tradition that can be carried out each year ...

Christmas tree with stockings and presents

Start new family tradition

Every family should have something unique to its celebration during the holidays. And if you do not have one, now is the time to start one.

The tradition should fit the family, of course. For some families, a toast can work as a tradition. For other families, a prayer may be better.

Because families have gatherings during the holidays, it may be a good idea to get a professional photographer to take photos or a video.

In families where names are drawn to buy gifts, notes should be written to other family members. After all, it's the thought that counts.

Not all families are affectionate. To show love more, family members can begin a tradition of hugging or kissing every family member at the celebration.

But no matter how you and your family choose to celebrate the holidays, don't get caught up with things that are fleeting. Focus on family.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.