Ever found yourself caught in the whirlwind of birthday or holiday preparations, hoping to create magical memories for your children but ending up with more stress than joy? You’re not alone. Family celebrations often come with sky-high expectations. We want our children to have wonderful memories of childhood and we put a lot of pressure on holidays and celebrations to provide those memories.
But what if there was a way to make celebrations with family not just more memorable but genuinely enjoyable for everyone involved?
In today’s post I’ll share my tricks to making a family celebration less stressful and including your child in the process. When you tap into your children’s bubbling joy about celebrating with their family, you’ll find yourself more energized, too.
Destressing Family Celebrations – The Essential Tip
The main thing people forget about family celebrations is that things do not need to be perfect in order to be special and memorable. Your kids are able to see magic where you see mess.
Think about it this way – you’re responsible for more things, so you’re probably tuned to the things that might go wrong. Fair enough. Your kids, however, are tuned to what brings them feelings of excitement and joy.
They’re not stressing about the details that you imagined but didn’t finish. They’re not stressing about the family memory you’re trying to re-create from your childhood. They’re in the Here and Now. Let this work for you.
Let go of expectations that don’t work for you and roll with what does.
The Secret to Making Celebrations Memorable for Your Kids
Here it is – the secret to making celebrations memorable for your kids is to let them contribute to the celebration. No, I’m not saying make it more stressful or complex! You’ll see that there are very simple ways kids can participate.
I’m advocating for finding any simple ways kids can put their mark on your family celebration.
By allowing your kids to actively contribute to holiday celebrations, you’re giving them a wonderful gift – the gift of realizing just how essential they are to your family’s happiness. Your child gets to experience how valuable they are to the family. They get to see your family enjoying something that they helped make happen. This makes for a more memorable and meaningful celebration all round.
Simple Ways Kids Can Contribute to Family Celebrations
1. Ask them to decorate for you. This doesn’t have to be complicated!
- They can draw pictures that you use as placemats or place cards set up on the table.
- You can ask them to create a centerpiece using items from nature, maybe some of their own toys, or seasonal items you only take out at this time of year.
- You could teach them how to make a paper chain out of strips of paper and a stapler and hand them construction paper with seasonal colors.
2. Let them put finishing touches on a special meal!
It might feel overwhelming to have your child cook a whole dinner with you, but maybe you can call them in and ask for help with parts of the preparation.
They could arrange rolls in a basket, sprinkle paprika on Deviled eggs, or toss the cherry tomatoes into the salad. You can find a little task to pass on and give them a great feeling of contributing to an important family occasion.
3. Ask your child what they look forward to about the upcoming celebration.
They might surprise you by telling you about the food you “always” make, which you’ve only made twice, or the family activity you did last year that you didn’t realize made such an impression. This can give you some insight into the activities that make a strong connection with your kids. Put your energy into those activities and worry less about the rest.
A Simple Celebration with Family, An Important Pause
Celebrating is a way to mark the moments that make our lives meaningful. Whether it’s a big occasion or celebrating small day-to-day victories, it’s worth it to take the time to celebrate. Taking that time to pause helps us build our family culture, make memories, and integrate changes and growth.
Involving the kids in celebrations allows them to deepen their sense of belonging and acceptance in your family. Their contributions can be simple, and still will make it more memorable and special.
Your kids don’t want perfection. They want connection with you. They want to feel valued. And hey, they’re kids – they want to have FUN. If we do what we can to loosen up and enjoy ourselves, we will definitely make holiday memories that our kids will treasure the rest of their lives.
More Ways to Celebrate with Your Family:
- 10 Unforgettable Birthday Traditions to Delight Your Kids
- The Artful Year – Creating and celebrating all year with kids
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.