“Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat, if you haven’t a penny a ha’penny will do if you haven’t a ha’penny, then God Bless You!”
The meaning of this traditional English children’s rhyme is to focus on being charitable at this time of year. Even if the child doesn’t have a ha’penny (half a penny/nickel) they can still be charitable by giving their blessing. This is the rhyme my parents used to sing to us when Christmas was on its way and we were preparing our living room for the tree and all its decorations and is one of my many fond memories of my childhood Christmases.
Our memories and traditions begin when we are small, but as children grow into young adults and they resist the family traditions, it can become an emotional inter-generational hotbed. Typically teenagers want anything other than what their parents want (or so it would seem) so decking the halls and trimming the trees, is something you may have to do without them!
So what is the solution?
If you live with teenagers and would like to enjoy your Christmas without the sulks, moans and groans, here are a few ideas to help make this holiday season peaceful and harmonious:
- Consider asking for your teen for ideas for a new family tradition and be open to their suggestions
- Give your teen a role so they feel a sense of responsibility.
- Talk to your teen about your experience of Christmas as a teenager and let them know you can relate.
- Be open to the possibility that your teen could surprise you with their ability to join in, when they recognize that you understand them.
- Let go of attachment and be open to other possibilities of being together during the holidays.
- Create and make something together. This can be a fun and liberating experience for you as well as your teenager. My kids may groan about putting up Christmas decorations, but they never fuss when it comes to treat making (and tasting).
- Express yourself so others know your needs. If you aren’t able to speak about what you want, how will you get your needs met?
An open heart and good communication is the key
There is a massive buildup during the holiday season and a tremendous amount of pressure on families to have fun, play games and enjoy each other’s company. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.
It is also a time of potential family disharmony, emotional disputes and rehashing unresolved disagreements. With a bit of understanding, an open heart and good communication, this could be a time where you learn how to spend the season with peace, love and unity. It could be viewed as an opportunity to develop a new tradition, one that sees family members valuing and respecting each other, and this includes the adults!
However you spend this season, bear in mind that buying the most expensive or popular gift may create temporary excitement, but connecting with your family and loved ones is priceless and can create cherished memories that last for eternity.