'Tis the Season to Simplify

It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us already. Smiling faces, decorated stores, and the general holiday hustle and bustle fill the air. How can you and the girls celebrate the season, keep traditions, share cultural differences, and end the year with good vibes?

Keep It Simple, Sister

Here's a holiday K.I.S.S. to help you and the girls plan for the holiday season:

Keep it Reasonable

Planning ahead is what's needed to keep things manageable. The girls may want to go holiday caroling, but do they really have the time to spend the next six weeks practicing? Hanging holiday decorations in a children's hospital ward or a nursing home takes one afternoon and is appreciated and welcomed by many! Take a close look at time constraints as you and the girls plan for the holiday season.

Involve the Girls

Everyone loves a holiday party, but keep in mind that the definition of "party" can vary. Ask the girls how they want to celebrate the holidays as a group. Do they want to cook and prepare their favorite holiday dishes for all to enjoy? Or is swapping holiday cards over a pizza more in line with how they would like to spend their time?

Spend Time Together—or Not

Ask the girls whether they want to stay connected over the holiday break or not. If not, the first meeting back can be a great opportunity for everyone to share holiday experiences. If the girls decide they want to stay connected, are they thinking of IM-ing and e-mailing or taking trips with parents to the mall to use their gift cards?

Set the Tone for the New Year

Take this time to have girls plan for the post-holiday season. Ask the girls if they want to come back together when school resumes—or do they want a longer break? After what may have been a hectic holiday season, an informal post-holiday season party can be a great way to come back together in the New Year.

Remember: the goal is to reduce holiday stress, have time to relax, AND have fun! So K.I.S.S. your way through the season—both with your Girl Scout group and at home!

Ages and Stages

The Girl Scout handbooks and guides for leaders or advisors have great activities, service projects, and party ideas for girls of all ages. Here are some suggestions for the holiday season—and beyond.

For Girl Scout Daisies

Community Cards: Have girls make a list of people in their community who might be alone this season. Make greeting cards to brighten their day.

For Girl Scout Brownies

The Gift of Gorp: "Gorp" ("good old raisins and peanuts") is a trail mix made with peanuts, raisins and M&M's, and is a traditional snack for Girl Scouts. Have the girls place the gorp in decorated canisters—a nice gift-giving idea or party snack.

For Girl Scout Juniors

Piñata Party: Have the girls make a holiday piñata stuffed with little trinkets or handmade friendship bracelets. The piñata would be a hit at a residential facility for children.

For Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors

Mix n' Match: Do the girls want to put on a holiday fashion show? Organize babysitting services for neighborhood families? Help girls develop activities of their choosing.