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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
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
U.S. Product Safety Commission
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Updated on 11/16/2012