5 tips for a happy holiday for the whole family

The holidays are a time for getting together with family, but they also can be stressful. Read our top expert tips for promoting positivity and gratitude throughout the holiday season for your kids, your spouse and yourself.

By Monika Roots, MD

November 24, 2021

5 Tips for Everyone

Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with family and eating a wonderful meal.  With the pandemic, however, this holiday may still look different than previous holidays.  COVID cases continue to fluctuate depending on location; vaccination status varies from person to person; and family composition may have changed if you’ve lost someone to the disease.

However, family does not have to mean blood relatives.  Studies have shown us that during these times of the pandemic, reaching out for support from loved ones including friends was correlated with a greater sense of well-being. 

The same is very true for teens and kids.  Connection and gratitude for others is an opportunity to help their mental well-being, and it’s also valuable to stop and think about their experience during the holidays.  Kids and teens are frequently expected to go “with the flow” of the holiday plan.  However, feeling a loss of control can put kids and teens at risk for something called the “holiday blues'' due to the stress of the season.

In fact, the highest rate of child psychiatric hospitalizations occurs in the winter. There are ways to plan ahead to support your teen and child during this time to lessen the stress and promote feelings of positivity and gratitude. Here are our top five tips for a happy holiday for the whole family:

Thanksgiving is a moment to stop and reflect.  Not just on how you are doing as a parent, but also a time to connect with your child or teen.  It is also a time to respect how they may be feeling and finding ways to help them through the holidays, which can be stressful for them as well. We hope these tips result in an even happier holiday for your family, and we’re always here to help if you need us.


1. Brown, G., & Greenfield, P. M. (2021). Staying connected during stay‐at‐home: Communication with family and friends and its association with well‐being. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 3(1), 147-156.).

2. Graham, A., & Nutton, G. (2021). How are the kids doing?: Children's self-regulation, self-awareness and their wellbeing. Australian Educational Leader, 43(1), 24-28.)

3. Maciejewski, D. F., van Lier, P. A., Branje, S. J., Meeus, W. H., & Koot, H. M. (2017). A daily diary study on adolescent emotional experiences: Measurement invariance and developmental trajectories. Psychological Assessment, 29(1), 35.)

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