by Dr. Ken Canfield

This is always one of my favorite times of the year, as we just enjoyed Thanksgiving and now look forward to Christmas. I hope you were able to enjoy your grandkids last week, and like me, you’re anticipating more good times at the end of the month.

As we enter this season—which is described by many as hectic more than joyful—here are a few reminders for your grandparenting role:

Find Ways to Be Generous

We just finished a time where we focus on our blessings and give thanks. Shouldn’t that naturally lead us to be generous toward those in need? Even as we look forward to all our Christmas traditions and celebrations, I hope we can also find ways to help others—and get our grandchildren involved as well. It’s always a good thing to challenge them to bless others and remind them how blessed they are.

We can come up with shared projects with our grandkids, whether it’s donating items, money, or time to a local shelter or food pantry, or sponsoring a child or supporting an organization that helps kids in need. A vast majority of us have blessings far beyond our needs. Let’s figure out how to pay it forward—while giving our grandkids valuable experiences and life lessons.

Avoid Petty Disagreements

If there are many in our world who view the holidays as hectic, there may be more who view family gatherings as not worth the trouble. How did getting together with extended family members become such a negative, dreaded thing to do?

Every family has their own challenges, but sometimes holiday celebrations get off track because people lose sight of what’s most important. And yes, sometimes grandparents are causing some of the problems. Maybe Grandpa is offended when his children and grandchildren can’t make it to his house for Christmas Day. In his disappointment maybe he lashes out or he comes up with passive-aggressive ways to get back at the offenders.

Surely no grandparent reading this has done anything like that, right?

Let this be a reminder that our grandkids do pick up on those tensions in the family. We need to be mature and flexible and deal with hurts and disappointments honestly. We shouldn’t let minor issues derail our holidays with our grandkids—no matter when we get to celebrate with them.

Cherish the Moments

Maybe this has been a challenging year and you just want the holiday season to go smoothly. That’s fine, but as a grandparent, don’t coast through the events and traditions with your family. Holidays can bring fantastic opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren. Cherish them. Put your very best into them. Use some creative energy to make it meaningful. Take a chance. Make a memory.

No families are perfect, but I pray that we can all focus on the good and do all we can to encourage peace, harmony, and reconciliation if needed. And when it’s over, your grandchildren will remember a day that was full of good food and positive family fellowship.

What good things are you anticipating during the holidays? And how can you take an active part in making it happen? Check on what’s happening and share your insights on our Facebook page.