Tis the Season to celebrate in a big way. The culmination of a year of hard work and dedication to family, coworkers, romantic relationships and our kids all comes together with a little time set aside to strive for quality bonding time. Whether it is piling on the couch rewatching the annual holiday favorites (You’ll shoot your eye out!) or rolling up sleeves to bake something that didn’t come out of a box, this is the time of year we go a step farther and actively try to make memories with the ones we love. We tapped a few local experts for advice on how to make the holidays a success for blended families, parents of teens and stressed out mamas in our Health and Wellness department.
As a helper in that regard, we pulled together not only our regular monthly calendar full of fun family events and activities to enjoy around Orange County, but two additional features to tip you off where you might spot the Jolly Old Elf himself or snap a selfie or two and of course, a holiday classic — the beautiful Nutcracker ballets. In fact we had so many options when it came to those two categories that what you will find in print (Where’s Santa p42 & Sweet Nutcrackers of OC p44) is just a fraction of what is out there. You’ll also find our monthly calendar peppered with charity toys drives and opportunities to give back to those less fortunate. Visit www.ParentingOC.com for the full listing and descriptions of how to make these part of your December.
Naturally, a much-anticipated element of every December issue is our Annual Holiday Gift Guide. We search far and wide to track down out-of-the box gift ideas you might not see on your average trip to the mall, with a few favorites tossed in. Luxury stocking stuffers that prove big things come in small packages, tech for gamers to sports fans, dolls that celebrate OC’s diversity, outdoor fun options to get the whole family to the park…there should be idea starters for any holiday gift list. And if you fear your child’s giving/receiving balance is off by the holiday haul, I leave you with these great tips by Jan Pierce on how to keep their little hearts full of gratitude over grinchiness.
Teach Kindness and Compassion
The holidays are a perfect time to teach generosity. Choose a reputable organization and help provide for the needs of the poor in other countries. Give animals for sustainable living, clean water to a village or adopt an orphan. Let your kids help choose the project so that it feels more meaningful and personal to them.
Tell Your Stories
In today’s materialistic society, it’s nearly always true that we adults received fewer and less expensive gifts when we were young. Take the opportunity to teach your children about the practices of earlier generations. It could lead to reviving old traditions for a more meaningful holiday.
More Than Material Things
While it’s normal for children to want toys and gifts, don’t underestimate their ability to understand and embrace a generous lifestyle. Kids love to make things for others, and they can rise to the occasion by showing their appreciation for the intangible treasures in life—friends, family, health, time spent together and more. Engage the family in creating a list of those intangible treasures and turn it into a wall hanging or framed picture. Children often understand more about life than they’re able to express in words.
Resist Peer Pressure
Do you feel your child’s heart will break if he doesn’t get that expensive electronic toy for Christmas? Probably not. In fact, that little disappointment can be turned into a means of understanding the real needs of those less fortunate and putting wants into perspective.
However you celebrate, we at Parenting OC Magazine would like to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season!