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The Best Intentions

We approach the holidays each year with the secret hope that our life will be transformed. Somehow, our home will become picture perfect, professionally decorated and worthy of a magazine spread. Our homemade gifts will be the envy of the neighborhood. Our children, perfect angels, will be serving the poor, and certainly never fighting or ungrateful.

We, of course, will look and feel fabulous, basking in the warm glow of the season as we greet our guests. I find I have to remind myself repeatedly throughout the holiday season that my happy mood and time with my kids are much more important than my vision of all I could “give” them. Holidays don’t have to be stressful for families. Quite often the solution lies in balancing your needs with those of your children and being intentional with your time.

Here are some of the best intentions you may consider this Christmas:

• Live the spirit of the season by giving to others. Grow healthy by feeding your hungry heart through acts of service and giving to those on the margins.

• Take the time to plan as you go into the new year about the ways you want to make your life different in the future. Keep it simple and look to change one important habit.

• Prioritise connecting with your family. Decide what’s really important to you and just say ‘no’ to everything else. Be honest with yourself about what you can actually handle.

• Reject commercialism. The pressures of commercialisation do a disservice to the sacredness of Christmas, to our wallets, and to our children.

• Create traditions that make merry, make meaning, and bring your family closer. Children love tradition and ritual. If the things you do every holiday don’t reflect your values, why not re-evaluate your traditions?

• If you go away for a holiday, be sure it recharges and reconnects your family. Forgo screen time in favor of family time.

• Give experiences not things. One of the most remarkable findings from positive psychology research is that spending money on experiences brings more happiness than spending money on ‘stuff’.

• Encourage your children to write a thank you note. It may regard a present they received or expressing gratitude to someone for their influence over the year.

• Give the gift of time. There may is no gift more appreciated by your children than time. It costs so little, yet is so hard to give generously.

Wishing all our families a most joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Conor Finn
Dean of Formation
finnc@atc.qld.edu.au

Our Vinnies Christmas Appeal runs until Thursday. Please send in your donations of non-perishable food items and place them under the Christmas Tree in College Reception.