Year-end Holidays can make wonderful experiences and memories for dads, daughters and stepdaughters. They can also be stressful, and fly by incredibly fast. Here are a five things to keep in mind for making the most of your Holiday. (We’ll have five more next week!)
1. Presence always trumps presents. More than any transient toy or other physical object, your kids crave your time and attention, so let them bask in your presence. If you’re a live-away dad, be with her through personal communication and traditions (see below), rather than trying to “make up” for your situation with a flood of presents.
2. Give her a “Time Machine.” Instead of the latest electronic gadget, give your daughter time (and be sure to keep the commitments you make). Here are a few examples:
* A simple trip together
* A commitment to spend one hour of one-on-one time with her, once a week, all year (for dozens of great ideas, check out The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship
* Make homemade decorations together
* Build a project together
* Bake Holiday cookies and regale her with stories from your childhood Holidays
* Learn some new things which make you a better Dad for her like learning to coach or practice “her” sport with her or reading articles on www.daughters.com.
* Pick one day between now and the Holidays to just watch her non-judgmentally all day. Just be aware of how unique and special she is. At the end of the day write down everything you love about her and then go share the list with her as a Holiday gift.
3. Redefine interactive. Nowadays, interactive seems to mean a toy or machine that “interacts” with us people. Remember that what really builds families is interaction between people and other people! Make room for a feast of personal interactivity this season–like a neighborhood Football Romp to exercise away those extra calories and catch up with the neighbors!
4. Consider “One In, One Out.” To relish the giving nature of the Holidays, some families use a simple and powerful tradition: For every present a family member receives, she or he donates one of their previous possessions to charity. It’s a concrete way to live the Golden Rule—and cuts down on clutter, too!
5. Make your own presents. Regardless of age, almost any daughter can work with her stepdad or dad to make gifts—from homemade crafts to certificates for services to be rendered (e.g.: “Mom, this certificate entitles you to one month of me vacuuming the house”).
Look for 5 more tips right here next week!
Joe Kelly is the best-selling author of Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter and 5 other fathering books. He is also Co-Founder of New Moon Girls.