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The 1st Day of Christmas: Starting out with Love
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The 1st Day of Christmas: Starting out with Love

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By: Rachel Doherty | Tweens 2 Teen

The first day of Christmas in my festive series is all about love. Unwrap these ten tips for creating a more affectionate family.

Christmas time is just what every family needs at the end of the year. A chance to pause and work out what matters. In our house everything slows down. There’s no rushing to school or work.

There’s less hassling too. Less pushing the kids to start their homework or do their chores. Now that we have teenagers, they tend to sort out food for themselves in the holidays too.

“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – Wt Ellis

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These 12 days leading up to Christmas are a time to unwrap the real gifts that this time of year gives to us. They are things we can give, but also receive. And this is what matters most in life. Not what the shiny paper hides under the tree.

So join me as I unwrap the first gift of Christmas.

The most important thing at Christmas time is love

Love. Affection. A deep caring for others.

When life gets difficult, sometimes the only thing we can rely on is the love of another, or love for them.

Life with teenagers can get pretty scant on the words of love. All that eye rolling and huffing and puffing can give you a sense that the last thing they feel for you is love. But Christmas is a chance to show love to our kids and see it returned. Even if it’s just a shadow of its former self.

Here’s ten tips for creating a more affectionate family this Christmas:

1. Laugh. There’s no hiding when you live with others. Your faults and mistakes are on show. Be willing to laugh at yourself and you’ll find the mood lifts for everyone. There’s nothing like a round of giggles to draw a family together.

2. Play. Having fun together builds good memories. Whether it’s over a board game, in the pool or in a game of crazy golf. Our kids get less and less time to play as they get older, so carve out some time to do things just for fun and all together.

3. Eat. Shared meals are the cornerstone of good family communication. But in modern life it can be hard to draw everyone around the table. The holidays are the perfect time of the year to eat together and linger.

4. Dream. We all have dreams that we’d like to see come true. Christmas is a great time to stop and listen to what our kids are dream about. Look for ways to encourage those dreams rather than trying to push your own hopes for your kids to the front.

“Hatred starts fights, but love pulls a quilt over the bickering.” – Hebrew proverb

5. Thank. There comes a time where most families imply their gratitude rather than talk about it. Reverse the trend and thank one another for being around, helping out and making life great. And be thankful for what you do have! In this consumer world, we need to stop focusing on what more we’d like or need and be grateful for what we have now.

6. Dance. There’s a lot of noise around us, but how often do you let the music get you moving? Cranking up the music can be good for the body and the soul.

7. Gaze.  Gather together and watch the sun go down. Or the sun rise. A thunderstorm rolling in or fireworks are perfect too. Marvel at the beauty of our world that we don’t often see when life is busy.

8. Learn. Find something you can learn together and share the journey as equals. It changes things up when we’re not the one with all the knowledge and power.

9. Smile. Work those muscles in your face and be generous with your smiles. The more you give away, the more you’ll get back. Even from teenagers!

10. Escape. Pack everyone into the car and do something different. A trip to the beach, a bush walk or a picnic. Head off somewhere that keeps everyone together and gives you all a chance to listen.

As you step closer to Christmas, take some time to think about how your family could show affection and build some moments of love into everyday life. Not just for the festive season, but to carry on into the weeks and months ahead.

Article supplied with thanks to Tweens 2 Teen.

About the Author: Rachel Doherty helps those living and working with young people, through supervision, coaching, speaking and consulting.