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Readers Respond: What do you do to find peace?

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What techniques do you use with your family to manage the stress of the holidays and to find peace during the holiday season? Share your ideas

Non-custodial dad Christmas traditions

My brother was a non-custodial dad, but he got to spend time with the kids over the holidays. His tradition was to have a scavenger hunt with the kids. Days before the kids arrived, he would wrap small individual gifts for the kids. Then he'd set out the gifts with sequential clues for the kids to find them. Often the hints alluded to wonderful memories of time spent together (for example: go to where we found Fluffy the kitten. Be sure to take Fluffy the now 5 year old cat with you so you don't get lost). As the kids got older, the clues got tougher (for example: using your boy scout compass, go N-NE to the nearest spot where you might find a squirrel's nest). The kids always looked forward to this hunt, and my brother had a blast setting it up. Even when money was skinny for him, he could still give the kids a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas all, kiss your kids for me.
—auntiecolleen

Make a plan

I plan my day in advance so that I have activities that fill the day. If it is possible that those activities involve others, it's even better because you then feel a commitment not to let the other person(s) down. Some examples of activities: going to my local library, making homemade stuff (like soap or cookies, or origami decorations and can also involve crocheting, baking and so on), writing end-of-year letters to loved ones, taking a walk, cleaning the attic or (re)organize personal files or create a new filing system for the next year (this can take several weekends), engaging in a DIY project (nothing complex really, can be changing the color on one wall or the dining chairs), re-organizing the furniture (I do this every couple of months and it really changes the way I view my home.
—Guest Kay

Religious Observance

The best thing we have ever done is attend church service on Christmas eve. It brings peace to the actual day, even if the rest of the season has been crazy.
—TopDad

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