Give your kids the gift of a stress-free holiday

By Contributor
December 1st, 2010

 With homes lit up, trees decorated, fresh snow on the ground, and the anticipation of gifts and visits from friends and family, Christmas can be a magical season for children and their parents.

But beneath the traditional music and glitter may be enormous stress. Too often, partners’ and children’s expectations, built to a fever pitch by interminable marketing of “must have” gifts, are out of step with a family’s ability to meet them.

No holiday will ever be anxiety-free for everybody, but there are things that anybody can do to make Christmas easier and more enjoyable.

“Parents can help children, and themselves, with Christmas anxiety by focusing on activities and time spent together,” advises Christine Lummis, Child and Youth Counsellor at Castlegar & District Community Services (CDCSS). “Activities done together become part of the experience, rather than the ‘preparation’ for some big event.”

Even, or perhaps especially, very young children can help with tasks that contribute towards everybody’s enjoyment of the season. They can make simple tree ornaments, for instance, that not only brighten the tree this year but become a family tradition, proudly hung year after year.

“Get kids involved,” says Lummis. “Decorate the tree together. Let them stir the batter and lick the beaters if you’re baking; cut snowflakes for the window, light candles. Use activities like these to slow down the rush.”

Need more ideas? Magazines are full of seasonal recipes and other household activities that kids can take part in. You can find them, free to read and borrow, at the public library.

It’s not all work, either. In winter, in Castlegar, it snows, so take the kids outside and play in it. Build snow people, build snow villages. Make snow angels. Go tobogganing, skiing, snowshoeing. Have fun together; it’s cheap or even free, and it makes you all healthier and happier.

Castlegar & District Community Services CDCSS) helps families. Please respond generously when you receive the annual fundraising letter, coming soon to your mailbox.
To find out more about CDCSS programs and services, call 250-365-2104 or visit the office at 1007-2nd Street.

“Better still,” says Board Chair Roberta Hamilton, “come to the Open House on Dec. 14 between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. and enjoy some seasonal goodies.”


The CDCSS Board, Staff and Volunteers wish everybody and every family in our community a safe, peaceful and joyous Christmas season.


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