Keeping the holiday spirit alive in our homes and hearts

You don't need a tree and carols to bring good cheer to your family. You can keep that warm family togetherness year round.

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  • Now that the holidays have ended, does life seem drab? Do you miss all of that warm-hearted time with your children and spouse? You can continue to spend quality time with your family even now that the holidays are over. Read on to get ideas on how to keep the holiday spirit alive in your home and heart all through the year.

  • Continue celebrating

  • Just because Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day are over, it doesn’t mean we have run out of things to be excited about. You can explore celebrations in new cultures and create new traditions of your own.

  • For example, my husband and I decided after our second Christmas together that we are going to celebrate Epiphany, or the coming of the three gift-bearing wise men to Christ. This is a popular celebration in Spanish-speaking communities, and given my husband’s fluency in Spanish, it seemed like an obvious choice. We make a variety of Mexican food, eat traditional desserts, exchange gifts, and invite our friends over and refuse to take down our Christmas decorations until after Jan. 6.

  • Maybe your family can make a big deal out of Chinese New Year, President’s Day or Black History Month. Whatever you choose, these celebrations give you something else to look forward to as well as quality family time. That’s worth celebrating all by itself if you ask me!

  • Do service

  • Many people celebrate Christmas by serving others. For some, that means singing carols in nursing homes. For others, it means helping to serve dinner at a homeless shelter. I’ve always thought that train of thought was a little flawed, however. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that loneliness, hunger and the need for generosity goes away. So hang on to the good feelings that holiday service projects give you by offering your time and attention year-round.

  • My husband and I have talked about making one date night a week into aservice night, even if it just means that we babysit for a friend. We hope that by making service a part of our family culture now, it will become a part of our future children’s characters later.

  • Make goals

  • Resolutions are a buzzword at this time of year, but how often do we get the entire family involved? If you’re reading this article, chances are that you would love for your family to make a point of spending time together. You might consider instituting family game night, exercising together or even starting a DIY project as a team.

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  • My husband and I both love to read, but we realized we were not doing it as much as we wanted to. That’s why we made it a goal to turn on an audiobook every Saturday night. An audiobook allows us to cuddle or wash the dishes, depending on our needs. It’s a very easy way to share the same book, which allows for interesting conversations later. It also means that as we are flexible about our book choices, we develop a taste for books we wouldn’t have thought to read on our own.

  • Even if you don’t choose reading, you can choose a specific, realistic goal that accomplishes the same thing: regular togetherness. This togetherness is one of the sweetest, most rewarding parts of the holiday season and an important way to bring the good cheer of togetherness into your home all through the year.

  • Keep the holiday spirit alive all through the year as you celebrate the joy of being with family, trying new things, giving to others and becoming a little better every day. Let this holiday season be a starting off point for renewed commitment to your loved ones. After all, you get a new Christmas every year, but you only get one family.

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Sara Hagmann is a stay-at-home wife and writer who loves traveling, cooking, and kissing her husband. A lot.

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