Home for the Holidays

After the Thanksgiving celebration, we begin to prepare ourselves and our homes for the holiday season. We look to family traditions to create a space in our home that feels warm, inviting, and festive, whether we are in our permanent home or temporary housing.
 
When building lifelong memories with your family, location doesn’t really matter. Memories can be built anywhere when time is spent together. You might make a few modifications to what you’ve done in the past, or you might do things the same way in your temporary location. Either way, being together will make any space feel like home.
 
Decorating your home is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. Put up a Christmas tree or other holiday decor as a family, while listening to your favorite holiday playlist. Have some favorite holiday movies on hand to watch together on the weekends leading up to Christmas. Sit down together and write a letter to Santa while sharing some thoughts about gratitude, or start a new tradition by camping out in front of your Christmas tree one night, leaving the lights on as you read favorite holiday stories.
 
Despite your current circumstances, the holiday season is a time to give back to your community and to others who might be struggling with bigger challenges. Volunteer your time as a family to a local food bank or soup kitchen to help families in need. Make cookies and treats and deliver them to your local fire station, police station, or hospital since most of them work throughout the holiday. Help needy animals by collecting bedding, towels, food, and toys for a local shelter.
 
Continue to make the same entree on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or a side-dish that is part of your yearly tradition. The familiar sights and smells will be a warm welcome in your new location. Bake with your children, and allow them to get messy and have fun. Find a new cookie recipe and test it out—they will enjoy the treats so much more when they become involved.
 
Step out into your community. Take a drive and see the lights in your area or enjoy an outdoor activity with your family. Bundle up and go ice skating or sledding, and you are sure to see big smiles. Attend local festivals, plays, and gatherings to celebrate the season.
 
Begin new gift-giving traditions, especially if money is tight and space is limited. Draw names with your immediate family and make a gift for that person, set a spending limit to keep costs low, or do a White Elephant gift exchange. Embrace the true meaning of Christmas and the value of love and togetherness, over materialism.
 
Gifts can be forgotten or lost, ornaments broken, and cookies eaten, but the memories made with those most precious to you will always last. During this holiday season, wherever you are, make it about family. Spend time talking, laughing, and sharing. Delight in your blessings and work toward a new future together.