How to Enjoy the Spirit of the Season together as Family

The holiday season is a time to spend with loved ones. For some people that mean that you celebrate the holiday with family members that you haven’t seen for a long time or maybe spending time with some individuals that you have issues with.
We all know how that feels and how much stress that can bring.
But research shows that families who spend quality time together — during the holidays and all year round — have a stronger emotional bond. Spending time as a family is also associated with better communication amongst family members and children. Children who actively spend time with their parents and other family members do better in school and are less likely to have behavioral problems.
Amid the busyness of the season, it is essential to remember that the most important part of the holidays is spending quality time with those you love.
Following are some ideas to help you enjoy the spirit of the season together as a family.
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Cook Together — With many meals and treats to prepare for holiday gatherings, including everyone in the process is a great way to enjoy time together. Making favorite family recipes is an opportunity to reminisce and share family stories. This is also a perfect time to teach children about cooking and nutrition. And it is a great way for children to keep their math and reading skills sharp during their break from school as well as learn science concepts through various cooking techniques.
Shop for Gifts — While some items may need to be purchased without family members present, shopping is another great way to enjoy seasonal activities with each other. Children can help brainstorm creative gift ideas, and as a learning opportunity can keep track of spending and budget remaining.

Create Holiday Greeting Cards — With children, write cards or letters to family members who are out of town. This is a great opportunity for children to practice their handwriting as well as promote grammar, spelling and creative writing. It is also a great way to keep in touch with distant relatives.

Explore Your City — Every city offers opportunities to enjoy the spirit of the season and time together as a family. Many local zoos feature light displays and other festivities to celebrate the season. In addition to enjoying holiday activities, visiting a local museum, seeking out historic sites or seeing a play at a local theater are other great ways to spend time together.
Play Board Games — Playing games during holiday get-togethers is a great way to bring families closer and enjoy quality time together. There are many great games that are fun for all ages and keep friendly competition alive into the evening.
And every day . . . Read — Literacy is critical for student success and families are the key to the development of children’s literacy skills. Winter break is a great time to visit your local library. And reading with children is a great way to spend time together while helping them achieve academically.
While shopping, cooking, decorating and gift wrapping, remember that the most important part of the holiday season is spending time with the people most important in your life. And when gathering together, enjoy quality time with one another. The holiday season is a time to celebrate special traditions together, create new memories and grow closer as a family.
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