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Reconnect Through the Holiday Spirit

The holidays are a time when adults tend to overdo things: cooking, decorating, spending, and hunting for that “must-have” toy of the year. It is also the time when we eat and drink too much and often don’t get enough rest. (See Building Blocks for a Healthy Future,Give the Gift of Time To Show You Care During the Holidays.”)

This year, welcome the holidays by focusing on reconnecting as a family and as a community. Take time to plan and show children different ways of celebrating and enjoying the holidays. For example, grandparents or other caring adults could tell stories of the meaning and traditions of how the holiday season was celebrated when they were children: games played; special traditions, including food and decorative items; or the manner in which they gave gifts. Storytelling allows parents and children to connect and appreciate their cultural and traditional beliefs during the holiday season.

Besides teaching your children your own traditions, take time to learn and investigate how other cultures or religions celebrate the meaning of the holiday season. Several holidays are celebrated during this time of year. Depending on the culture or religious belief, the same holiday may have different expressions, practices, and historical meanings, but it may still have significant practices in common, such as lighting candles and displaying ornaments and decorations.

Exploring other cultural traditions helps children focus on the similarities between people and appreciate cultural differences. This experience allows children to grow up to be tolerant and respectful adolescents and adults.

Happy holidays to everyone—stay safe and healthy! The resources below provide parents with tips on ways to stay safe, as well as on various volunteer opportunities, during the holiday season.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Holiday Health and Safety Tips” identifies 10 tips for parents to keep their family safe and healthy during the holidays.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Holiday Stress” helps people cope with grief, stress, and depression during the holiday season. Numerous resources are listed for educators, families, and mental health professionals.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
How Parents Can Keep Children Safe While Shopping and
Traveling This Holiday Season
” educates parents about what they should be telling their children to keep them safe while shopping and traveling this holiday season.
Get Kids Volunteering! Why and How to Make a Difference” identifies ways and programs established for parents to get very young volunteers involved.
Volunteering: How Can I Make A Difference?” provides simple ideas on how to include young children in volunteering during the holiday season.

Tips for overcoming holiday anxiety and stress” offers parents and caregivers advice for enjoying the holidays without stress; for many families, the biggest source of holiday stress is family relationships.

Making the Holidays Safe” alerts parents and caregivers about potential hazards and dangers during the holidays. 

U.S. Product Safety Commission
List of Top Holiday Safety Tips” tells parents and caregivers what’s safe for children during the holidays.

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Updated on 11/16/2012