First thing to address today is emotional health. Holidays inevitably bring family into our lives, and with that can come baggage from previous abuse. Additionally, family members might not have changed their habits since your childhood and are ready to engage your children in the same unhealthy dynamics. What can you do?
This homeschooling mama provides more ideas on how to prepare children for the influx of potentially toxic family members during the holidays:
Here's another helpful post on how to prepare for family gatherings:
And I have to highly recommend this book if you are struggling to heal from a toxic environment and hoping to provide something better for your children. This link is NOT monetized or sponsored:
What if you suspect the dynamic is too unhealthy to expose your children at all? Walk through this guide and answer the questions w/ an open heart:
If you're looking for more resources on healing from childhood and breaking the cycle for your children, check out our page Survivor Parents.
Next thing we'll address: smells. Yes, smells. Smell is a big thing when it comes to the holidays, and companies know this. Our olfactory sense triggers memories. But what is in that smell and where is it coming from if not Granny's fresh pie or the live pine on the back porch?
What's that smell? Find out here:
Take a look at what happened! :O Ack!
Obviously, even if the synthetic stuff needs to go, you still want to smell nice! What can you do?
An enjoyable article that talks about freshening the air in the winter:
Speaking of scents, The Scented Candle makes a huge debut during the holidays. What do you need to know about candles and how can you still enjoy them in a healthy home?
So you're all like, staring at my page and thinking, "Hot damn! Now I can't even have candles for the holidays? This blogger gives POSITIVE solutions:
You might consider starting a new holiday tradition: making your own candles. What a great hands on activity for the children!
More info on candles and safe alternatives:
This article goes through each part of the candle, and also mentions that the wicks can contain lead!
And of course the most obvious danger when it comes to candles...fire. Remember to supervise your candles and protect young children from them!
Speaking of flames, let's remember to stay safe around fireplaces and woodburning stoves:
In addition to NOT burning wrapping paper, here is a list of other things to keep OUT of your fire:
Woodburning stove safety:
This amusing response also provides the real reasons to NOT burn wrapping paper this holiday season:
Some might feel the warnings are a bit exaggerated when it comes to burning Christmas trees, wreaths and other pine related decor. But the important thing IMO is to make sure people know ahead of time what might happen. These items are highly flammable and can spit or explode.
A burning tree is no joke. Take a look at how fast this turns into an emergency:
While we're talking about fires, let's not forget another holiday toxin: carbon monoxide poisoning:
A lot of people know about the kind of poisoning glamourized in V shows where you go to sleep but don't wake up. What about those cases where you survive your poisoning?
Here's a site that works through various conditions, symptoms and testing options. (As an offshoot of the carbon monoxide poisoning topic):
Another gas, this time from the new holiday products you bring into your home:
This mama talks about throwing away a plastic baby doll that was offgassing. Would you go this far? It highlights the need to prevent unhealthy things from coming into our house in the first place, an often difficult feat during the holidays:
"Avoid off-gassing children's products such as PVC-containing toys or soothers. (instead use non-flexible plastic, wooden, or organic, untreated cotton toys)"
Thankfully change is happening when it comes to specific types of chemicals. That being said, any large operation like this comes with loopholes and delays. Some people point out that the toys were not all removed/destroyed, but "sold through" meaning they might still be available for purchase:
It wouldn't be an eco-holiday if we didn't discuss secondhand toys. Have you considered bargain shopping, bartering or even making your own gifts? This guide also provides tips on avoiding toxins:
More on remaining toxins:
Maressa shares 5 tips on safe shopping:
What about something new this year?
I'm dreaming of a...green Christmas? What are your eco-friendly ideas to celebrate your holiday without toxins and waste?
Link is NOT monetized or sponsored:
Feeling some anxiety? This article is great! Reasonable, thorough and talks about my favorite thing: BABY STEPS. ( Mission Crunchable)
Ways to cut waste:
Ah, the wrapping paper! What is your favorite alternative?
So, let's take a look at the tree (and other faux plant products such as wreaths and garlands):
Alternatives are discussed here:
We're not trying to get caught up in anxiety-ridden ideology here. This article talks about ways to make eco-conscious decisions, whether buying a cut, living or faux tree:
Obviously, organicgardening opposes faux trees lol:
More on organic:
This is the option we've chosen for our family, but I think the reason it works well for us is that we have young children so we can begin a new tradition with them and don't mind a small tree. To be honest, I don't see how this would work with a tree larger than maybe 4 ft, and you'd need ample space afterwards to plant it.
Natural, traditional = safe? Think again when it comes to lead:
I've already received comments about how we can just let lead slide for Christmas. It's just one cute photo. It's just one time out of the year. What's the big deal? Surely the amount is minute. I'll wash my hands afterwards.
Unavoidably, people ask how to detox lead when I talk about it.
What can you do to prevent absorption?
(On a side note, I want to point out that people often recommend heavy doses of vitamin C to detox from lead. Please remember that vitamin C is not benign. AND high doses at the beginning of pregnancy could cause congenital defects or a miscarriage, and high doses at the end of pregnancy can cause maternal hemorrhage. Bathing your teeth in vitamin C is a good way to ruin them, too.)
More on lead:
Think it's adorable and precious to wrap your baby up in a string of lights?
Vegan/veggie Thanksgiving meals:
Things to look out for:
A discussion about turkey choices:
Paleo Thanksgiving (Video)
More paleo recipes:
Speaking of Autism, what are your tips on preparing your children for the holidays and the many social traditions/expectations that come w/ these celebrations?
This parent blogs about how they discovered Christmas-Autism style:
Maybe family members need to read this?
A father's story:
NT ( Weston A. Price Foundation) meals:
Food Renegade is listed here, too:
Don't think you have to give up your special holiday times with family and friends...
Gluten AND sugar free (please do watch out for fake sugars):
Not even Santa is protected from today lol! I'll start w/ this post since it doesn't outright stomp all over the magical Christmas most people adhere to when it comes to Santa:
When Santa is for discipline:
In other words, it isn't all about Santa, but using Santa within a parenting paradigm:
A blogger shares her opinion:
They elucidate pretty well:
Here is a thorough academic paper on Santa Claus and alternatives. We've taken the road for our family of: not focusing on Santa, not promoting Santa, and just enjoying the story as my daughter learns about it from others. She knows Santa isn't real.
She does have quite a theory on the reindeer, though, and says that they get magical strings to tie them together, and this is what lets them fly. And since they don't like to be tied, they get special reindeer treats as payment. O_o Whatever strings your needle!