Two kids with an American flag

Photo: Thinkstock/Jupiterimages

1 of 5
Along with patter of little feet comes a relentless litany of questions, often along unshockingly similar themes: When will Santa come again? Is the Easter Bunny coming this weekend? Can we light sparklers and smoke bombs again tonight? If you're a parent, you probably already have your canned response down, "It takes Santa all year to make toys for all the good boys and girls, sweet pea," or "Honey, the Easter Bunny is with his family." But the appeal of the event isn't the man in red or a large, chocolate rabbit—it's the family togetherness, fun and surprises that make kids love these holidays so much (along with the alleged grown-ups).

Just as one day someone decided that Fat Tuesday kicks off Mardi Gras, let's declare our own personal days to embrace a holiday state of mind—whether it's Wednesday or Thursday or whatever-day. Just for once, when the agents of stress and distraction start buzzing in, don't take the call. Instead, focus your precious energy on heartfelt ways to connect with your family. Create your own ritual celebrations that everyone will look forward to—part love, part laughs and a large dose of attitude. Here's my formula: create, interact, appreciate and add a little surprise. The only rule is to lead with your heart.

Here are some supremely simple ways to start: 
Create stocking stuffers for all seasons
Interact with a little bit of movie sugar
Start a family sand ceremony
Host an aloha party