As we wake up from our post-holiday comas and embrace 2014, now is the perfect time to take ten minutes to write ourselves a letter or list the things that worked best this holiday season—and those that did not. We learned about this idea in our Parent Ed classes at La Canada Presbyterian Church, and we’ve found that writing down reminders while the memories are fresh in our minds helps us build traditions and improve the season each year. The Parent Ed program has been around for decades and is, we think, one of the best resources for parents in the area, ranging from classes for newborns all the way up through the high school years and dealing with every aspect of parenting with hands-on solutions and excellent handouts. Parent Ed is open to all religious denominations, by the way, and is inclusive for both moms and dads.
We both enrolled in classes with teacher Nanette Brown, a very present, hands-on mama who managed to raise five awesome kids and, the joke is, bake her own bread. Each year, just after the holidays, Nanette asks her class to fill in a pre-addressed form with lessons on how to better navigate the holidays the next year. Nanette collects the letters and holds onto them. Come Halloween, the parents receive by mail what became for us one of the most helpful mama reminders ever. You always think you’ll remember how many holiday cards you really need to order or what gifts you’ve given your kids’ teachers or to buy presents for your husband’s best friend’s kids—but the truth is it’s much easier to forget. We haven’t been enrolled in Parent Ed class for years, but the lists we’ve continued to write to ourselves have proven to be golden. Soraya’s usually go something like this:
1) Order 250 cards next year (plus whatever Mark needs for work people)
2) Buy girls tights early in the season.
3) Don’t forget _____’s kids!
4) Dial down the holiday schedule. Too many things on the calendar this year.
5) Start looking for fun White Elephant gifts early.
6) Plan open house brunch-y thing on Christmas Day. Stay in PJ’s all day.
Soraya slips her list into her box of Halloween decorations, which she pulls out just in time to benefit from by Thanksgiving. Yasmine stores hers in the notes section of a mid-October event in her iPhone calendar, so it pops up on its own. However you decide to deliver yourself a note in the future, we promise that the ten minutes you spend writing it now will pay off next year. Feeling slightly more organized than ever before: that’s a great way to kick off 2014.
With seven children ranging in age from one year to seventeen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.