The past few years I have been living in three different countries. My homeland does not always feel completely like ‘home.’ Not because I dislike something about it; on the contrary, it is a great place. It’s just that I’ve seen so much outside its borders, made memories and friends, that I can’t feel whole. I’m a citizen of the world. Canada, or lets call it my second-home, is where I spent my teen years. It holds a special place in my heart. For over ten years, I have spent every holiday season in this beautiful country. Canada is home. But this year is, well…different. I’ve been living in The Netherlands for over a year and this Christmas it is my home.
When I started thinking of Christmas and how to keep my sanity through the New Year, I somehow thought of all this moving from one place to another. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I collect (it’s hell of a lot of work when you have to move)! This year, therefore I am in support of a “less stuff, more time” philosophy. I will give you some ideas below.
Lets start with the kids. They bring us the biggest excitement. Toys are great. But have you been into a room full of toys? All that clutter is exhausting. More is not always better. I find that kids quickly lose interest. And just like me feeling overwhelmed when I enter a room like this, children probably feel overwhelmed too. One solution: give away the extra stuff you don’t need and free up some space. Your place will also feel more pleasant.
Of course I’m not saying to stop buying gifts. I love gifts. What I love even more is giving time for what I love. It really is more valuable that anything you can buy. Make time for your loved ones. These will probably be some of your dearest memories. So put your cell phone away, close the laptop and focus completely on your children, your other half, parents, grandparents…There is plenty you can do together.
Some ideas to start with:
- Family vacation
- Play board games
- Sports – maybe ice-skating?
- Go to a museum
- Watch movies or even make your own
- Go to a concert. I have a tradition to watch ballet with my parents every Christmas holiday and I love it.
- Extracurricular activities for the children. Depending on their interests, help them develop their talents.
So amidst the madness and our hectic lives, pause for a moment and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Count your blessings and be thankful. The time you give is important.