Scheduling Time For Family At the Holidays

A little father son bonding during Sesame Street.

It’s the holiday season! Holidays are all about family, festivities, and endless plates of cookies, right? It’s a time when you see loved ones from near and far, spend hours sitting around a fire sharing stories and memories, and gather together to celebrate.

It’s also the time for stretched bank accounts, hectic travel hiccups, increased end-of-the-year work demands, decreased availability of babysitters, and jeans that seem to have mysteriously shrunk in the dryer. The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but they can also bring about a lot of stress and headache if you aren’t careful.

Throw kids into the mix and all of this seems to increase tenfold. Even though Cullen is by many standards, still just a baby, we’re already thinking and talking about how we want our holidays to look and feel as a new little family of three.  What sort of traditions will we carry forward? What is most important this time of year? And how will we make sure that with everything else going on, we still make time for each other?

Our plan is exactly that – to HAVE a plan. It’s too easy to just wing it through the holidays and busy times, and then suddenly when they are over you look back and realize that you missed doing a lot of things you’d hoped to do.  So this year, I’m planning things in advance. I want to go see the lights at the zoo, but instead of just wanting to see them, I’m planning a night for it and putting it on our calendar. We want to go see the Christmas carol boats down at the marina, so I have already looked up the days and times they are docked, and it’s on our weekend agenda. And I have already asked visiting grandparents if they are willing to babysit so that Casey and I can go to the movies for the first time in fourteen months.

Speaking of movies, we’re planning to kick off our weekend with a holiday movie night! We’ll be queuing them up on our new Xbox 360, and snuggling in front of the fire. It’s not to not have to deal with hooking up our laptops to the TV anymore!

I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t make concrete plans, too often things go undone, and opportunities are missed.  In the busy day to days of parenting – working, laundry, shuttling around, meal planning, and more – it’s easy to pass over what can feel like “extras.”  But family time is not extra, it’s essential.  Make sure your holiday season includes plenty of time with your loved ones!

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