Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants
have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to
the end to find a list of links to the other carnival
What if we gave the children in our family our presence instead of presents? We will fly across the country this Christmas to be with beloved family members who have very different parenting philosophies. My tiny daughter will likely be exposed to more sugar, TV, videos, battery-powered toys, battery-powered games and cow dairy than she has ever encountered. And so it is for most normal families during the holidays. But we aren’t normal. We’re crunchy. We’re different.
I try to live by the Buddhist principle of “The Middle Way” in my parenting. Not too strict, but firm.Not too permissive, but fun and open.Letting some things go. Letting up on some of my crunchy ideals occasionally. And letting go is one half of what will help me to relax around the holidays with family. The other half of the puzzle is bringing the gift of natural play.
Some of my mama friends over at Natural Parents Network answered my cry for holiday play help with this very idea. I took it and ran. I got excited about spending time with my niece and nephews and having a way to engage my own child away from TV and sugar. We are bringing the children small handmade gifts from mom and pop businesses online, but I wondered how that could compare to handheld games most kids are asking for, chocolate and battery operated wheels? I want to bring something more personal…. I’ll hope be bringing learning, exploration and connection! I don’t get to see my niece and nephews much.
I hope to connect through these various activities packed in my suitcase:
Making Finger Puppets:various odds and ends to glue onto already hand-sewn cloth finger puppets. Ribbons, google eyes, pompoms, strings, patterned cloth squares. Because I have this stuff around, it costs me nothing. Then, we will put on a finger puppet show for the adults! Since these kids are young, it is sure to be wacky! Free.
Simple Holiday Painting. I will paint examples of snow people, menorah, dreidel and Christmas Tree. I will see what they choose to paint!. I will bring simple cut-out construction paper trees and menorahs for the smaller ones to decorate. I got the amazing Glob paint (which happens to come in small packets for easy traveling!). It comes from a small company and I bought it from a locally run children’s store. These paints are all natural, edible, smell amazing and wash out of clothing. $15 with paint to spare.
Journey to the Moon Game: a HABA game from Germany. Simple matching game of beautifully painted interlocking crescent moons and little elfin Sandman place markers. Something I can help four children all play together.
Holiday Yoga: Menorah (stand very tall on one leg with arms straight out and four fingers up on each hand. Christmas Tree: arms start as shown but move slowly from prayer to stretched out to reaching straight up and back down to prayer- all while trying to keep balance! Of course you can try to be a dreidel and a candy cane too along with all of the regular poses with animal names and sounds. Cat/Cow, Pigeon, Cobra.(Look out for my Kundalini Yoga for Kids post coming up late January on NPN.)
SnowPeople, Igloos, Snow Castles! Only if we’re lucky! We can bring back out Summer’s pails and shovels! I hope to build a little igloo or castles. The size of a dollhouse, with a door that little trucks can go through. Decorate with sticks and rocks.
My other inspiration for natural play as a gift to ourselves and our children was the Hands on Play Challenge. In November, we did the Challenge. 15 minutes of mindful play with a new activity or art idea every day brought to us by The Imagination Tree and Hands On As We Grow. Well, It was amazing. We are letting other people get gifts for our daughter this year. Instead, my gift to her is to continue the play challenge and play with her mindfully every day of December.
As I have been saying in all of my parenting workshops and to my clients: spending a mindful half-hour with your children without cell phones, Tv or computers helps build connection, avoid behavior challenges and assuage your guilt about the times when you can’t be as present. 2 hours is my personal ideal, together or broken up. For older children, you can ask them what they want to do and follow their lead. For younger children, it is great to start with an activity and then see where the children take it. When they move on…go along and play along with them instead of trying to keep them engaged.
We are the best gift we can give our child, and all of the children we know!
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
- Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
- Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
- The ABC’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
- The 123’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
- Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer’s series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
- Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here’s how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don’t quite work for their family.
- Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people’s needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can’t be changed and love whatever happens.
- Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
- Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
- A Light in the Darkness Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about overcoming holiday blues through the miracle of motherhood.
- Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
- Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
- Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
- Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
- Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
- 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
- Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
- Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against “the gimmes” and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge.
- Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
- The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
- Mindfully meditating on celebrations Dionna at Code Name: Mama hosts this guest post from Child of the Nature Isle about desiring meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
- What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!