Jingle Bells to you!

Omg I love this time of year!

Typically it is the only time in the year I get to travel home to Nova Scotia to see my family. Going a whole year without seeing family is awful.

Plus – listen I’m just gonna say it – I love food and presents. Just love them.

And I know, I know, the holidays should be about the spirit of connection and giving, but there is a 6 year old inside of me at all times that just gets so giddy about the thought of a surprise, a celebration, and something shiny to unwrap.

This year there will be no unwrapping – well unless you count diapers – but I doubt I’ll find anything shiny in those.

I’m not saying the holiday will be a bust, I’m just saying I’m real tired and my hubby and I had no time to shop for gifts. But I guess if you saw last week’s post, you also know we’re about to get the best gift of all – 3 days overdue and counting ….
Another reason why I love this time of year (yes the lights, the snow, the magic romanticism of it all, of course), but truly it is because of being around loved ones.

I’m not saying it’s always easy – and, in fact, I personally have ruined not a few Christmases (which is what my family celebrates) with my absolute teenage-ness. Even when I wasn’t a teen anymore I could effectively eff it up. Sometimes my mom and I really struggled to connect. It was painful for both of us.

But we’ve worked so so hard and love each other to bits. So I say the effort is worth it!

Whether you have a tween, or a teen…or sometimes you feel you regress into one yourself, here are some survival strategies to get through the holidays with family.

According to The Clay Centre for Healthy Young Minds there are a few strategies you can put into place to get through even the moodiest of moments this holiday season:

1. Choose your battles

No matter how important an event or tradition is to you, there is likely to be something more compelling that your tween or teen wants to partake in. Try to decide – in advance – what you will let them skip out on, and what you will put your foot down for (even if they roll their eyes the whole time).

2. Help out the less fortunate

So your kid is rejecting the spirit of your traditions, or downright questioning their validity? That can be painful. But rather than choose this moment to debate with them, why not help them shift their focus to what matters: Helping others who need help. Teens can be downright self-centred, but they also have huge hearts. Create a new tradition by helping out those less fortunate whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen or buying some gifts for children who won’t receive any. Your teens will snap out of their grump very quickly and will start to appreciate all they have.

3. Don’t let their mood affect the day

You know what? Your holiday celebration – no matter what it involves – is more important than your teen’s current attitude. If you cannot get them to turn tat frown upside down, just leave it. You have a right to still enjoy your day, your company, and everything else the celebration has to offer. Allowing your teen to see you so joyful even though they are being a stick in the mod might just help them snap out of it.

4. Let it go and don’t worry

In the wise words of Ellen Braaten, PhD, Director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program and actual Harvard Professor (!!) you should keep expectations low and let it go. Can’t afford something? Don’t buy it. Feel sad? That’s OK. Holidays are hard. Don’t force the good feelings. Burnt the dessert? Laugh about it. In 5 years a lot of this won’t matter anyway.

What will matter? That you still persevered and created moments of connection where you could 🙂