A Holiday State of Mind
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
That night, hang each stocking with a ribbon on your kids' bedroom doors and fill them with your swag of choice. Imagine how crazy with anticipation they'll be and then how ecstatic when they wake up the next morning to find their stockings filled with stickers and pencils and toys, maybe a homemade treat or two, some sweet notes from Mom and Dad and more. Whether you make this a tradition for full-moon Mondays, freaky Fridays or just the 4th of every month, everyone will savor the surprise.
Check the website of the movie you're seeing; it might have fun downloads for kids, like quizzes and coloring pages. Also, seize the opp for a fun learning experience by giving the kids a Hamm-style piggy bank (like the Toy Story character) to start them on the road to the world of finance, saving their pennies and maybe even giving to charity. And if having a lot of leftover sugar treats around the house sounds like a bad idea, just wrap 'em up in bandannas for friends, neighbors and co-workers. That's the spirit of giving in action!
Family dinners are a great place to start. Set up clear glass vases, one for everyone at the table. You'll be filling each vase halfway, with different colored sand—the kids will want to choose the color. Go around the table, asking everyone a question: What makes you happy? What's the silliest thing you did this week? What do you love most about Daddy?
With each answer, pour your sand into a large vase placed in the center of the table, making different layers of color as everyone around the table gets their turn. If you need to use a funnel, make one from the kids' gallery of art or a family photo; encourage the fam to keep adding to the centerpiece by adding to their answer throughout the meal. Put your own sand ceremony together, or buy the kit from Wedding Star, which offers a ton of different colors of sand and will engrave names on each vase!
If you're not sporting a hoop, a grass skirt from the party store will do as a visual contribution, or dig up some Lilo and Stitch masks for extra credit. Serve foo-foo drinks for the adult swim but pupu platters all around. If that's not enough, add flip-flop decorating activities via dollar store bling. Take the theme as far as you want, but just a little hula hoop silliness is enough to satisfy your laughter requirement. Just remember to insist everyone use the word "aloha" for hello and goodbye, as well as the shaka (the thumb-and-pinky shake that says "hang loose"). Yes! Hang loose!
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