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December 2009

A Conscious Family Christmas

With all the holiday hustle and bustle, it might seem impossible to practice conscious parenting. Don’t give up. A little Christmas spirit is all you need.

What are your favorite Christmas memories?

When you stop and reflect, do you conjure up scenes of snow-covered hills, crackling fires, hot cocoa and sugar cookies? Do you see a family gathered around a bejeweled Christmas tree, with colorfully wrapped packages piled all around? Can you hear the sounds of caroling; or the music of children’s laughter?

For many of us, these are the images of a perfect Christmas. But here’s the rub: For most of us, the images are not an exact match for our real-life experiences, past or present. (Are you thinking, “Not even close”?)

How was your Christmas, this year? Perhaps you felt disconnected from your children, spouse or other relatives. Was someone tired and cranky all day long? (Was it you?) Perhaps you are now feeling torn between a week of festivities with the family and a week of mind-numbing, year-end, something-or-other at work.

Maybe you just missed out on the magic of it all.

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Finding Christmas

On being grateful, no matter what the holidays bring.

Well, it is Christmas Eve and the local police and fire department just left my driveway.


We are all safe and sound. The soup pan that had been boiling away on the stove while we were all locked out of the house is resting comfortably out in the snow. My house did not burn down (although it’s rather stinky), despite my seemingly best efforts.

Thank You God.

So here is the chain of events: We came home from a lovely Christmas Eve service and the boys asked to stop over at the neighbors’ house, where a party was underway. I went home, where some leftover soup from dinner was sitting on the stove. I thought, “That looks good. Why don’t I just finish it off?”

I turned on the stove.

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Checking in on Christmas

Conscious parenting tips for the busiest time of the year.

Seasons greetings from our family to yours. I just wanted to check in on all your holiday festivities. How’s it going?

As I write this, I am sitting in front of a crackling fire. Our tree is lit and my beloved older son just made me a steaming cup of hot cocoa. In a Santa Claus mug.


This is not to suggest that everything is done. In fact, there were some anxious moments in the Brown household this past weekend. I lost the keys to the “gift closet”. All the Christmas goodies are locked in that closet and after two days of fruitless searching, we were all getting a bit frantic.

It should be noted that both boys admitted to trying to pick the lock in the past. (I think) I am happy to report that they were unsuccessful. Still, they might have saved me a few hours of craziness...

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The First Snow

"Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do - or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so."    ~ Stanley Crawford

For many of us, this weekend marked the first real snow of the season. How lovely!

Of course, it was also the day that we discovered (once again) how much the boys have grown over the past year. Nothing fit. We will need new snow jackets, new ski pants and new boots.

For now, though, we are making do. My older son is layering sweatshirts and a down vest. My younger son is wearing my jacket to school (and it is scary, how well it fits him.)

Mostly, we are just enjoying the snow. Everything looks fresh and white. The air is crisp and clear. And thankfully, the sun is shining again. If conscious parenting is about paying attention to small joys and everyday miracles, this is a great day for it.

We are starting to get ready for Christmas, but trying not to rush. I am consciously allowing myself to experience each moment of the season this year. This includes only doing what feels like fun -- and making sure that I am enjoying my time with my children. 


On that note: I've been working on a photo project for the last couple hours. More like fighting with a photo project. My camera, the SD card, my computer (this website)... nothing is cooperating. So, I'm done.

At least for now.

In lieu of some beautiful pictures of this year's first snow (please just imagine those), I offer last year's ice storm, which was also quite lovely in its own way.

I'm heading out for a walk in the snow. Time to clear some mental cobwebs and absorb some holiday spirit. 

I hope you will do the same.

Related Posts:

For more ideas on how to practice conscious parenting during the holiday season, see "Easing into Christmas".

Holidays can be stressful for caregivers. For some creative ideas on how to take better care of yourself, please see, "The Perfect Gift".

Ready for some quality time with the kids? Check out "Bedtime Stories for the Holidays". Enjoy!


Conscious Parenting Tips for Multitasking Families


I-tunes, Internet, texting and television... increasingly, all in use simultaneously... is multitasking good for our children?


What happens when you add family dinners or homework to the mix? Is anything really getting done with quality? Is anything really getting done, period?


In today’s hypertasking society, should we be placing a greater emphasis on teaching our children how to successfully complete one task at a time?



The truth is, our human brains don’t actually multitask. We’re not wired that way. What we really do is toggle back and forth between multiple activities, while keeping track of where we are with each. We can do this more or less effectively, depending on the complexity and familiarity of the tasks involved.1


(Which is why walking and chewing gum at the same time is far less dangerous than driving a car while sending a text message from your cell phone.)


Multitasking is by definition inefficient. All that toggling back and forth is overhead. It slows you down. If you and your family are multitasking to “get more done in less time,” you’re not.

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