Archive for December, 2011


Dads, Traditions and Christmas

What does Christmas time mean to you?  Aside from the religious celebration, for many families the time around Christmas is when they press pause on the busyness of life.  Many parents are keen to return to a more meaningful time, redefining how this time will be spent, starting new traditions or revisiting ones they had as children.

In my family, it is the only time we can get leave from my husband’s home business.  We choose to go camping to physically get away from the business.  Our focus is on relaxing, being thankful for the past year and spending all our time together, making for great memories.  Going camping has the added advantage of reducing the need to consume too much of everything – presents, food, alcohol (we simply cannot take a lot with us!) – as well as relieving the pressure to see everyone on Christmas Day and completely exhaust ourselves in the process.

When we return from camping, we make time to see our extended families and really enjoy the time rather than feeling stressed or rushed, trying to do everything in one day.

This year, Cath and I attended the 2011 National Men’s Health Gathering in Perth and had the privilege of attending a workshop by Scott Hall about dads, kids and play.  He asked us to write down the things we remembered as our best times during our childhood and the feelings we experienced when we were doing them.  What was overwhelmingly clear from the group, was that not one of those times involved an expensive toy and all of them involved being outside and being adventurous.

Think back to the special times in your childhood – how did you feel at the time?  Ask your partner about her experiences.  Then think about how you could include something similar over this year’s Christmas break with your own family.  You will probably find yourself much more relaxed and connected with your children.

If this is your first Christmas as a dad, you’ve probably spent a portion of this year with a pregnant partner, you’ve spent time at prenatal classes and you’ve supported your partner through the birth of your child.  Now is a great time to start thinking about what traditions you can create for your family or revisit from your childhood.

There are many fly-in, fly-out fathers who are rostered to work over Christmas.  So what can you do to make this time special?

  • Can you book your annual leave well in advance so that you are home?
  • Can you celebrate Christmas on a different day, when you are not working?
  • Is Skype available from your work so you can speak to your family on the day?
  • What else can you think of?

For some families, for whatever reason, changing the existing family tradition of seeing extended family on Christmas Day becomes difficult.

My accountant has devised a great plan by forming a cricket match at their local park.  This way, people can drop in during the day, have a hit, some food and a drink and then head off.  He says it is so popular now that most people just come and stay and it gets bigger every year!

Cath’s family celebrate Christmas Eve with her parents and Christmas Day with her husband’s family.

So how will you spend this holiday period?  What ideas do you have to make this Christmas a special and memorable time for your family?  Not a perfect Christmas, just special and memorable – and how will you reduce stress so that you can focus on what matters most?

 

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