Northeast Ohio offers no shortage of family-friendly events, especially during the already busy holiday season. It’s certainly wonderful to have so many options! But it’s easy to feel pushed to do everything.
With my toddler more curious and fun than ever, I was gung-ho this fall, thinking about all the events and places we would go, pumpkins we would paint, treats we would bake and memories we would make.
We ended up having a fairly low-key fall. We avoided the crazy busy pumpkin patches and festivals, made it to just one event in our costumes, and spent our fair share of cozy afternoons at home.
And you know what? We had a blast.
So I’m taking a page out of our fall playbook for the holiday season, too. I know some people wear busyness like a badge of honor and insist on being always on the go. But really, our kids just want to hang out with us and there’s no reason to put so much pressure on specific events to make memories.
If you’re on board with slowing down this holiday season, here are a few tips:
- Go outside. We spent a morning debating which fall festival to attend and ended up scrapping the entire idea for a hike around the Blue Hen Falls area. Way better. Winter hikes can be just as fun as long as everyone is dressed appropriately. Older kids can probably handle a mile or two. With a toddler, I suggest letting him or her take the lead. And we tend to repeat a small section of the trail several times to avoid a scenario where we go too far in one direction and have to carry her back. The baby goes in my k’tan wrap and alternates between looking around and snoozing.
- Pick one thing. You don’t have to do everything. Find one event that looks like the best fit for your kids (and their schedule) and go with it. Most likely, it will be even more special in their minds because they aren’t being dragged around to half a dozen of them.
- Get off social media. It’s a comparison trap for everything and this is no exception. It only exacerbates FOMO! You’ll go crazy trying to keep up – and for no reason.
- Lay off Santa. Parents, Santa is scary sometimes, especially to our younger kids. Please don’t push just for the photo! Offer, sure, but there’s no reason to force it. Last year I took the photo holding my daughter next to Santa. And it was fine.
- Remember the goal: family togetherness and memories, right? But sometimes the best times together are the simpler ones. Getting your pajamas early and turning on a Christmas movie on a cold afternoon instead of dragging everyone out of the house. Writing letters to Santa together instead of forcing the photo with him. Strolling around in nature instead of battling for parking at the “hottest event” of the season.