Six Tips to Strengthing Family Bonds Over the Holidays

mehobbies & me time

I've been on a mission this year to help women. I overhear friends all the time who have a love/hate feeling with Christmas. I'll admit I fall into that same category. You might have read my post on Traditions, where I say just because you've followed certain traditions before doesn't mean you always have to do it.
I've decided this year to be different and not put as many Christmas decorations up. Of course, I want to do the basics, and I look forward to pulling out some special pieces that bring joy to our family. But with traditions, we can even be enslaved to them in the way we decorate. Am I trying to impress? Does my family really care that we stuff the house? And with baking, again I have to ask myself the same questions.


I'm challenging myself to a sweet, simple Christmas this year. When I find myself losing control, I want to
focus on what really matters.

How to Focus on What Matters Most Over the Holidays

Remember, it's being together that counts. It's not about how beautiful your tree is, how many cookies you bake, how many dinner parties you throw or attend, the perfection of your decorating, or a clean house.
  1. Focus on quality. Quality of guests and intimate times together, not chaos and noisy crowds of people who may not mean anything to you. The emphasis should be on quality of gifts for your family, not a contest of how many are under the tree.
  2. Keep it simple. There's no law that says  the mother in every home has to organize and plan formal sit-down dinners. Plan potlucks, delegate, or better yet— eat out (if you have the means).
  3. Focus on the conversation and getting to know your friends and feeling the "spirit" of the moment. (You'll probably be listening to Christmas music in the background, which is festive and really puts you in the mood).
  4. Enjoy "family." There's no rule that says that family has to all be together on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Spread it out - the week before Christmas plan events for your immediate family. Don't take family for granted. Be respectful and express in words and actions that you are happy to be together.
  5. Make it comfy and relaxing. No one wants to go to a party or dinner where things are out of control. Don't plan too much - don't pile too much on your plate. Don't forget as the hostess that you need to "experience" the season.
  6. Be flexible. When you look back at times together, you won't remember the food that didn't turn out or those who maybe didn't want to go out to Christmas carol or play games.  But you will remember the feelings you experienced. If you can't go with the flow, you will be miserable. Don't drag your family down with you. Create happy memories.
As I trim back on decorating, entertaining, and shopping, I want to think about the reason we even have Christmas, and the quality of relationships and blessings around me. I want to stay grounded. Will you join me?
What are ways you will strengthen your family this holiday season?
Sandy Coughlin is a mom to three active teenagers and is a popular blogger and author. Her book, The Reluctant Entertainer (Bethany House 2010), based upon her inspiring blog, restores the lost art of hospitality and in the process helps women break free from isolation and into connection and deeper relationships with others. "Great food and great decor," she says, "should be more than just about great taste and a great looking home. They should help us bless others with relaxation, comfortable conversations, and with new and deeper friendships—that's the heart and purpose of soulful entertaining."
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