Could you benefit from a useful parenting tip with practical applications? Most parents can. As a mother and a business owner who has worked with hundreds of moms over the past few years, I often hear the same thing.

"This year, it will be different," these overwhelmed moms sigh as the holiday season draws near. "I won't let my family do so many activities. It won't be such a blur! We're going to have a sane holiday this year."

Starting to sound like a New Year's Resolution, isn't it? Great idea...if only you could pull it off.

Well, this year you can.

I have been parenting for over 26 years. As a mom, I know how crazy the end of the year has become for our whole culture. Not only is there an abundance of activities for adults, but our children have been pulled into the madness as well, with nearly unlimited opportunities of their own. To top it off, most of these activities are good, even excellent.

Feeling a little overwhelmed just thinking about it? Me, too.

So here's a parenting tip with long term consequences: let's get on top of this situation now, while the season is still in front of us and we actually have time to plan. Pull out a calendar and ask yourself how you really want your holiday season to be this year.

For example...

-- do you enjoy having an activity every evening?

-- do you enjoy activities away from home or at home? Or a mix?

-- do you want your kids to primarily do activities with their friends or with their family? (I really hope you're choosing family!)

-- what traditions are most important to you? Baking cookies? Sending cards? Caroling? Helping in your community? Serving in your house of worship?

-- do your children even understand *why* this time of year is so precious? Do they understand the religious and historical backgrounds of the holidays you celebrate?

So what's the bottom line here? Stop trying to do everything and concentrate on one or two activities that are truly meaningful to your family. YOU decide the important messages you want to impress upon your children this holiday season. You can choose from the long-established traditions to teach those messages or create brand new traditions that your family will love embracing.

Making family memories is what will stay with your family, year after year. It's what your children will take with them into adulthood. It is what they will form their own family traditions on.

They won't remember all the hectic activities. But they will remember things like this: that every year, on the weekend after Thanksgiving, we get the Christmas decorations out of storage, snuggle up with hot chocolate, and fondly reminisce over the history of each ornament. It's the story of our family, remembered and added to each year.

That's one of my children's favorite holiday traditions. Pretty simple, huh? But my grown sons speak fondly of this tradition so I know it has been important to them. And I continue it now with my daughters.

Do you see what else is going on here? Besides the warm fuzzies, I am now much more aware of the powerful influence I have as my children's parent. And it makes it easier for me to *intentionally* use making memories to teach them what I believe is most important for them to know.

So what is my most excellent parenting tip for you this holiday season? Stop going with the flow. Instead think, plan and create your family's holiday memories this season. Be intentional with your family's limited time (and energy), and encourage peace, laughter and thoughtfulness during this blessed and holy time of the year.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at . Visit her website to get the parenting tip you need today.