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Lucky Seven Steps to Brighten the Holidays with Your Family

The holiday season seems to be on fast forward this year, and I have already received an early holiday gift.

As my daughter blew out the candles on her birthday cake I said, “make a big wish.”

She blew the candles out to cheers from the crowd, and leaned over and said, “I wished that you and daddy will always be my mommy and daddy.”

Like the candles on the cake, I was blown away.

Most children her age would wish for a pony, a princess, or a puppy. I was left wondering how I got so lucky to be the mother of such a loving little girl.

Don’t get me wrong, her holiday list is filled with toys she has seen advertised on TV, but somehow she already knows what is really important.

I want to freeze time and capture that moment forever.

In these challenging times, we as parents want to give our children everything they wish for, but that may not always be possible.

What we can give to them is our time, our attention, and our affection all year long and especially during the holidays.

Here are seven steps to brighten your holiday season this year:

1. When making a holiday wish list with your children, let them know that it may not be possible to receive everything on it, but they are loved and lucky for all that they do have.

2. Include your children in family holiday traditions such as decorating, shopping, wrapping, and filling out cards. Even young children can get involved. Little hands can create big treasures.

3. Read holiday books and watch special holiday themed movies together as a family.

4. Encourage your children to help others who are less fortunate by donating their gently used toys.

5. Teach your children to say thank you, even if they receive a gift they are not particularly excited about, such as socks from Aunt Betty.

6. As always, “find your lucky” and help your children to find what makes them feel lucky.

7. Try to minimize holiday stress and hold onto the meaning of the holiday season.

By staying focused on the true meaning of the holidays, you can remind yourself and your children that friends, family, health, and good cheer mean more than any gift, gizmo, or gadget that you may or may not receive.

If your child does seem disappointed about his holiday wishes not being fulfilled, take the opportunity to explore with him all the people and things in his life he has to be grateful for.

As you head out the door to make your children’s holiday wishes come true, remember you are their real holiday wish and that makes you very lucky.


Rebecca Perlman Coniglio received her Master’s Degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work. She is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and works with children, adolescents and young adults, ages 5-25, who are facing such issues as loss, anxiety, divorce and depression. Her new book Lily’s Little Life Lessons is available at select Barnes and Nobles stores and online through, and

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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