Today’s parents are busy people, often juggling family responsibilities alongside work, household, social and other obligations. With so much going on, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just trying to make it through each day. However, devoting a little extra energy to celebrating the rhythm of the year may actually leave you refreshed and better equipped to handle your hectic schedule!
Below you’ll find five simple ways your family can embrace the seasons and holidays this year:
1. Create a monthly or quarterly ‘bucket list’ for your family. Want to take the kids to a u-pick-it farm, ice-skating or picnicking this year? Feel a strong urge to send homemade valentines to friends, attend your city’s annual exhibition or bake holiday cookies? Choose the seasonal events that are most important to your family and commit to them in writing. Then, immediately schedule upcoming activities on the calendar to make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle of daily life.
2. Start a seasonal book collection. Consider collecting stories related to Valentine’s Day, Fall, Christmas and everything in between. Swapping one season’s books for the next will help build excitement for upcoming events and provide a welcome change of pace from Goodnight Moon and The Cat in the Hat. If you don’t currently own many seasonal books, plan a family outing to your local library or book store to choose a few selections about Fall, St. Patrick’s Day, Hanukkah or whatever else you have coming up.
3. Match your music playlist to the calendar. Many families own at least a handful of Christmas albums, but did you know there are kid-friendly compilations for Valentine’s Day, Easter and summer as well? Seasonally-appropriate music can be enjoyed during playtime, car rides or even meals to help create a festive atmosphere. Last year, we spent the entire month of October listening to the surprisingly enjoyable album Kidz Bop Halloween Party. You might prefer to introduce your child to Celtic music in conjunction with your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, or patriotic tunes during the weeks leading up to Canada Day.
4. Mark significant dates with special food. Even the busiest families need to eat. Why not make a special dish or even an entire themed meal to commemorate an occasion that might otherwise pass without recognition? While I wouldn’t say the beignets I attempted were a smashing success, it was still nice to acknowledge Mardi Gras in some fashion. Of course, special food items need not be expensive or even homemade. If you don’t have time to whip up paczki to celebrate Dyngus Day (a Polish holiday), you can still read up on the holiday’s history online and then pick some up at a bakery.
Incorporating locally-grown produce into your diet is also a great way to mark the changing seasons, since the selection will vary throughout the year.
5. Dress up your house with homemade decorations. It’s not always feasible to buy and store decorations for every special occasion. Fortunately, your family can easily create a festive atmosphere at very low cost. Paper snowflakes, chains of felt four-leaf clovers and printable holiday coloring pages all provide cheap and easy sources of seasonal cheer when hung on a window or refrigerator. Don’t stress over perfection, just have fun with your kids.
I hope these suggestions will help your family enjoy special moments every single month. Make 2015 your best year ever!
Michelle is an attorney, freelance writer and proud mother of one. She writes about family, travel and seasonal events for many different parenting publications.
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