"the holidays are coming finding meaning"Run, they’re coming – those holidays that make our blood pressure go up and cause us to spend large amounts of money that we may not have, in order to make EVERYONE else feel special and happy.

Must we put ourselves through this another year? Isn’t it time to stop and reflect on what these holidays really mean? Can we be brutally honest with ourselves and understand that Thanksgiving is all that it says – being thankful for all we have. Christmas, doesn’t mean to spend money we may not have, nor does it mean we must fill up our baskets at our favorite stores, on things our children really don’t need. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and giving to those who may not have anything. Hanukkah is the time of celebrating and remembrance.

Holidays are lessons, not requirements. When we celebrate them, with the pureness of what each of these holidays represent, we are not putting ourselves in ‘crazyville mode.’ Baking, preparing of the food, and decorating the home should be a time when our family comes together and feels ‘happy’ about what they’re doing. Yet, we may force things on them, expecting them to jump on board and when they don’t, we end up feeling resentful and sad.

What if we sat down and had a family discussion about the upcoming holidays and expressed what each individual wants to see unfold (not a gift list but ideas of how they want to spend the day with the family, within reason!!!). Have someone write down everyone’s opinion and then when the meeting is over, let each person know what they’re responsible for in making this holiday exactly what they want it to be.

It’s not about decorating the house as if we were going to be on the cover of a magazine or even having hundreds of gifts under the tree. It’s about sharing, feeling and allowing everyone to participate.

We have given our children a world of entitlement, and it may be the right time to help them understand that there are children who may receive nothing because they are homeless or their parents may be incarcerated. Let’s inspire them to look beyond their nose and see that they could inspire another child. Have them save up their allowance and purchase a gift for a special child from a local church or other organization.

Holidays were meant for peace, kindness and generosity. They weren’t designed for us to stress out, spend money we don’t have, or to feel the pressure of performance. Relax, laugh, and enjoy every second of this amazing time of the year. After all, isn’t it really all about celebrating family?

Lisa Hein is the author of a parenting resource called THE BOOK, “I’m Doing The Best I Can!” (They won’t always be cute and adorable), co-author of ‘Ready, Aim, Excel’, former radio talk show host of ‘Everyday Parenting,’ and is a motivational speaker. For further information about Lisa visit www.LisaRHein.com .

This an other seasonal articles can be found in the 2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide  (PDF). You can also read the Flip Version .