As a child, the thought of looming holidays gifted me unexplainable joy. It was better when celebrations fell on weekdays, and I didn’t have to go to school. Those were days spent ignoring homework and lounging around the house like a cat or spending the day with my family in places I didn’t get to visit regularly.
Now, holidays are a headache and the best part of it is the days off work. The streets are packed with an added number of bodies that would otherwise have been at work. All fun places are turned into madhouses with little space to sit and children wailing at the top of their lungs. Vendors take perfect advantage of the opportunity by elevating the prices of products and services. It is a nightmare.
I wonder how our parents did it. How did they balance all these factors and still make the holidays the time of our lives? I do not have all the answers to this, but I do know some of the things they didn’t do.
Plan for the Holiday last minute.
As an adult, you know this concept is an impossibility if you want to get anything done. Our parents definitely called restaurants or funhouses beforehand. They either made direct contact or went through their website to find out about the opening and closing hours as well as any other information they needed to know.
Do not make reservations minutes before the actual outing. It is doubtful that you’ll get an opening where you prefer.
Go out all the time.
Sometimes, I wondered why my parents didn’t take me to certain places, but compensated by throwing a house party. Of course, parties for us then simply meant lots of food and drinks, music, games and a party dress. Decorations weren’t so important to us then. As long as our friends were invited, I was happy.
I found out later on that sometimes in order to cut the holiday budget especially specific holidays like Children’s Day, my parents had an arrangement with our neighbors and friends’ parents. They each had a budget in mind and when all these funds were pooled together, it served for the house parties. It was twice the fun, twice the crowd; and the next year someone else could host it.
Have no Budget.
Sometimes, I remind myself that something is not on my budget when the shopping ads flash through my phone. Other times, I shrug, search for the best price with the details I have archived and buy it. The difference is the budget. Holidays are the same.
Sometimes my parents took my siblings and me to certain places and other times they didn’t. This is because they had a budget on the amount to spend per child, and that pizza house might be above it. Having a budget set earlier in the month for the holidays helps plan the kind of holiday it will be.
My childhood was fun. This was because weekends were different from holidays. On some weekends, I could predict where my dad would take us, but holidays were always a delight. This is because I knew we are going to do something we didn’t do the last time, and it was the perfect coercion card my mom played.
If you wanted to be among the lucky children to go to the ‘super special’ place this holiday, you’ll do your laundry, homework so well you’d get good grades. And because we knew it wasn’t something we had experienced before, we conform.
Although we knew better than to slight the Big Bosses at home, we also knew we had an open space to drop ideas without being scolded or dismissed. For me, I always wanted to go to places with food, and if my classmate told me about a place her parents took her to, be sure I’ll bring it up when my parents asked for suggestions of where we wanted to go.
It gave me a feeling of pride when we went somewhere I suggested and everyone had a good time. It also made me unafraid to explore. Give your children room to air their preference of how they want to spend their holidays; it makes it more appreciated.