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Frugal Family: 5 Ways To Refresh Your Family For A Happy, Healthy New Year

Each week Marietta Patch’s Frugal Family offers creative ideas for family living. Whether it’s couponing, 2-for-1 deals or affordable family fun, we scour local resources to save you time as well as money.

The week after Christmas can be challenging for everyone in the family. Parents are overtired and overspent. Kids, in spite of the fact that they just got presents, often claim to be “bored” during this particular week and they, for the most part, are certainly over-stimulated at this point. In short, the entire family is stressed, even if it’s “good” stress. This week Frugal Family offers simple suggestions for enjoying the rest of the holidays, maintaining or creating new family traditions and reenergizing the body and soul for the upcoming New Year. What better way to do this than by focusing on pleasing our “senses:”Sound, Taste, Touch Sight and Smell? Read on for interesting, affordable ways to jump start your senses and starting 2013 with a fresh “palette”?

Enjoy The Gift(s) Of Music. (Sound)

There are so many ways to enjoy music: by yourself, with a friend, with a group. It enhances one’s feelings and emotions so play it to relax, uplift, energize—whatever you think you are lacking right now.  I can be in the middle of a stressful day, put on Stevie Ray Vaughn and for a moment just get immersed in the blues. Instead of feeling “blue”,  I just wail those blues out of my system and instantly feel better.

Music can also provide great bonding experiences with mutual “likes.”- the mutual admiration of a song or artist gives you at least some insight on a person not expressed in words. There are numerous free concerts around town. Go online to find to find the ones that suit your preference, group or family.

“Hobby” Cook Or Prepare For A New Year’s Eve Celebration. (Taste)

Cooking and eating great food can be a fun relaxing hobby if done for pleasure. To create “something” tasty and beautiful because you want to feels much differently than grinding out a quick meal in a hurry because the kids need to eat healthy. It is also a great way to spend quality time with a friend or the family. In lieu of cooking, take the family to a favorite restaurant or one you’ve always wanted to try.

You may choose a gourmet recipe you never had the time to try.  Start a new family tradition by creating a dish for New Year’s Eve and let everyone in the family have a task to contribute to the process. The taste of great food is way up there on the list of what pleases our senses the most.  Eating with others just spreads the holiday cheer!

Spread The Hugs Around. (Touch)

I am going to be careful about this one. This is a family column and common sense rules. Having said that, hugs-for or from-can do more for your emotional well being than any words could ever accomplish.

Watch A Movie. (Sight)

Watch new Christmas movies on DVDs, TV. “The Santa Claus” series is a crowd pleaser. Holiday classics like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” are family favorites. And if you want to get “out” for a while, Check out “Parental Guidance”, a family comedy opening Christmas Day at local theaters.

Light a candle or enjoy the aroma of food (Spaghetti is a good one for evoking a good memory or feeling). (Smell)

The multi-million dollar “aromatherapy” business says it all. It has been scientifically proven that whiff of a particular scent can evoke the feeling, memory or pleasure of an event that you’ve had in your lifetime. For example, Crayola Crayons may inspire a childhood memory. Juicy Fruit or Doublemint chewing gum may make you think of your mother or grandmother. The scent musk is supposed to evoke sensuality. What aromas make you smile?

These a just a few ideas you may want to incorporate into your family's routine this next week. It makes perfect "sense" that if all of senses are pleased, we are happier, healthier people. What better way to begin a fabulous 2013?!




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