The Best Things At Christmas Are Free!

“It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”
— Mother Teresa

So many parents are genuinely concerned about the current economic crisis. It has infiltrated our television and newspapers and provoked a huge degree of unease. Many of us are having trouble making ends meet this Christmas, so let’s try to reduce the stress that comes from having to buy presents. Here are some tips to spend less time and money on shopping in crowded stores and reduce the stress that is related to it.

Christmas can be a time to inspire you and your child in two ways:

The first is to let the creative spirit come out! Children seem to become much more creative at this time of year. They arrive home from school so proud of their angels made from paper plates. Making fun and exciting things together with your family is a great way to decrease Christmas seasonal stress. The second way is to give what you have created to others, including people outside your immediate family so that your children can have more perspective about the world.

Encourage and assist your child to create the Christmas dinner centre-piece or an arrangement that can be put on the mantle. Fill a vase with berries, (holly berries or cranberries) and water. Make an arrangement by placing green leaves, a large sprig of rosemary, or whatever you have, into the berries. This will set the red and green holiday spirit. Continue to add any flowers that are also red or deep pink. They can even be artificial flowers. If you don’t have a glass vase, you can use a couple of small glasses on the table with a red candle in between. Add a beautiful piece of ribbon around the outside of the glass or put leaves inside the glass and the berries on the outside.

Perhaps you can string popcorn or cranberries for your tree, or for an outdoor tree, or for a tree in the woods where you can go and see if the squirrels or the deer come and accept your Christmas offering. Take a special walk somewhere you’ve never been before. You can start a tradition so that every year you go on a walk somewhere special, in a park, through farms on a walking path, along a canal, by the river or sea, but somewhere you’ve never been. Let your child look up a book in the library of walking paths and let them plan the walk. Find a new place each year so that it becomes part of your Christmas tradition. This website offers wonderful places to enjoy refreshing winter walks: There are even places specifically designated to take your dogs for invigorating walks in the country side:

As a parent, you and your child could give the gift of service by helping to serve in a soup kitchen so that they become more aware that others have less than they do. Let them look through their belongings and give some of their toys away to charities, so they are not just focusing on what’s in it for them.

This holiday season is a time to have your home come alight with colour and warmth. Creating shared memories with your children today will last a lifetime for you and for them together . They will remember the joy of being together and how they felt loved by you. Home-made gifts are always much more fun to make and you can’t buy them in a store.

Try not to over schedule yourself and slow down over the holidays. There will be glitches, and things will not go perfectly, but try to laugh instead of getting stressed about it. Here are a few things to do that don’t cost money:

  1. Snuggling up together by a crackling fire
  2. Pets by fireplace
  3. Looking at the starry sky waiting for Santa.
  4. Laughing and telling jokes together.
  5. Baking delicious treats with your child and when they feel valued for their contribution, their self-esteem will rise at the same time that the cup cakes do! You can also give a package of your goodies you’ve made to a local charity or nursing home.
  6. Singing Christmas carols together.
    Prairie dogs singing
  7. Making Christmas cards and giving them to others to whom they can bring joy and cheer. You will have to look online to find out where to send them, such as our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, or hand carry them to your local charities of your choosing. Your child will feel proud that they have made someone at Christmas feel a little more special!
  8. Making pine cone ornaments for the tree.
  9. Reading The Night Before Christmas to your child.
  10. Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” together on TV.
  11. Making popcorn balls for Christmas morning.
  12. Sharing visualisations and relaxation exercises with your child at bedtime. Click on this link and scroll the page down to find the Santa Says Game. This is great to read to kids with ADHD to help them settle at night via progressive relaxation and focusing on the breath.

I would like to thank each and every of one of you for signing up to receive my Motivational Monday Newsletter. Please pass the newsletter onto your friends and family so they can also share in this experience.

Also, let me introduce to you my newsletter co-editor and co-writer, Patricia R. Sullivan, PhD. Dr. Sullivan is a parent, a journalist/writer and a teacher who has worked with students, teachers and student-teachers for over 30 years in schools and universities.

Have a peaceful but fun-filled holiday break and we look forward to connecting with you again in the New Year. We wish you many creative moments and the joy of giving your home-made gifts to loved ones and others outside your family!

Thanks for taking the time to read this Monday’s Motivational article.

Please feel free to email me any comments on this article or your own stories you wish to share, or post your comment using the comment form below.

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