We are in the throes of the magical holiday season, a time filled with family and friends and lots of opportunities for memory-making. It’s likely that you (or someone you love) is traveling to spend the holidays with family and time is condensed as you cross the country to get to a relative’s home.


So, how do you make the most of your holiday and the time you have to share with family members, especially those you may not see frequently?

Here are some ideas of ways that you can ensure you truly connect with those you love over the holidays, even if you’re short on time:

Put Down Your Device
Use your phones or cameras to take pictures to document all of the fun times your family has together, but limit your device usage to that if you can. Instead of checking your e-mail, scrolling through Instagram, or texting friends, set your phone aside for in favor of really engaging in a conversation with a family member. Your messages and feeds aren’t going anywhere, so turn your attention to your loved ones and cherish the time you have to connect in person. 

Do An Activity Together
While it can be super relaxing and enjoyable to all hunker down in front of a movie, consider trying a new fun activity as a family unit. This can be as simple as preparing a traditional holiday meal together (whether that’s the show-stopping Christmas ham or the sugar cookies that will be enjoyed for dessert) or doing a puzzle in the family room. It can even be something that takes place outside of the home like attending a musical, exploring a local museum, or going for a hike.

One specific idea: prior to the holiday, have everyone e-mail you a light-hearted fact that no one in your family knows about and compile all of the answers in a document. On the day that you’re all gathering, pass out the sheet to family members and have them try to figure out which response belongs to whom. This is guaranteed to not only spur on a lot of laughter but also to allow everyone to learn new things about each other, proving to be a fun memory and bonding experience to reflect on for years to come.

Learn About Your Family Tree
Over the holidays, we’re more likely to be spending time with members of our extended family, giving us the chance to reflect on our family tree. Ask older relatives what their childhoods were like, allowing them to share stories from their youth and giving you insight into your heritage. Soak up their wisdom and listen intently, asking them about parts of their lives you’ve never learned about before, like their weddings or careers or years spent raising children. You will learn so much about your background, and you’ll come away with a renewed appreciation for your family tree.

How do you make the most of short but sweet time?

Image via Deerily on Flickr


  1. Thanks for the lovely reminder to prioritize relationships! The rush of every day often obscures the importance of intentionally pursuing our friends and family.

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