Moving to a new home is a difficult transition. Regardless of the distance, moving during the holidays can be especially tough. (Now where DID I pack the star for the top of the tree??) When the members of your family are probably craving the way things used to be, moving around the holidays can present opportunities to reinforce family traditions or for adding new ones….especially if the moving vans are lagging behind!!
Family traditions, around holidays or just in general, are more important than we sometimes realize. We know how important routine can be for kids, especially kids who have experienced a transition like moving into a new home. Holiday rituals provide the safety of a routine and reinforce for our kids that things will work out OK. Sometimes, mixing things up a bit can give your family a fresh perspective on holidays in a new location.
Pick a night during your traditional holiday celebration and have each person in your family light a “Remembrance Candle” to recall something they remember about holidays past, old neighborhoods, and old friends. You can send a holiday box to family or close friends who you left behind in the move. The box can contain things about your new place that describes what life is like in your new location.
Shifting focus from our own “holiday misery,” can provide some welcome relief as well. Send holiday greetings to our troops overseas through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes info (click here for more info) or volunteer at a local soup kitchen or family shelter. Temporarily creating this shift focuses your family on what you can be thankful for as well as serving a need. It’s also a great way to meet others in your community.
Put some laughter into your holiday cheer by creating holiday mad libs with traditional holiday songs. Write down your favorite holiday-inspired tunes and substitute a few words. Your family will probably dissolve into laughter before you reach then end of the first verse of “Dashing through the jellybeans in a one-horse open jet ski….” You get the drift. Not the creative type? Look here for a Christmas Carol Mad Lib book.
Who doesn’t like a good scavenger hunt? You can create a spin off of the “Elf on the Shelf” idea and hide small holiday trinkets all over the house. Each night place a clue or riddle to the location of the item where your children will find it the next morning (think under pillows or in the cereal bowls). Your kids will start looking forward to mornings rather than dreading another day as the “new kid on the block.” If your budget (and the weather) permits, turn up the heat in your house, put on your bathing suits and have a “Tropical Holiday Celebration.”
At the end of the day, all these activities and any others you can dream up serve to strengthen the family bond and strengthen resilience in your children to help them deal with future challenges.
Most importantly of all, get that “picture perfect” Currier and Ives ideal out of your head. Holidays are, by their nature, wonderful yet stressful. Cut yourself (and your children) some slack and enjoy this holidays season in a new home for what it is..the beginning of another life adventure.
No parent should move without a game plan.
For more information about the Moving Families Initiative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.