As a mom of 3 boys and mommy blogger, reading about how to apply football plays to family life definitely caught my eye. This is adorable, on target, and will help your family score a touchdown…together…this holiday season! Enjoy — Amy

The holidays bring a heavy dose of family togetherness, and this list of tips uses sports strategies to navigate the potential pitfalls. Pastor, football referee, and author Dr. Travis Collins, parallels officiating games and calling leadership shots as a useful paradigm to families struggling to navigate the holiday frenzy.

He explains, “The marathon-like pace brought about by the holiday season often takes a toll on individuals and their loved ones. In an American Psychological Association survey, about two-thirds of participants reported feeling stressed and fatigued during the holiday season. Financial woes exert extra pressure this year as Santa’s elves may keep production low, and households across the country may find their worries taking a toll on family harmony this season,” he said.

Tips Provided by Dr. Travis Collins
Author, Tough Calls: Game-Winning Principles for Leaders under Pressure

1. Call unsportsmanlike conduct. Working as a team is crucial to a family’s success. Create a family budget for the holidays including food, gift and entertainment expenses. If one member’s Christmas list knowingly blows the budget call a personal foul and just say no! Make a compromise and buy a less expensive model of the gadget.

2. Have a pre-game huddle. With in-laws, uncles and aunts coming in for the holidays, tensions can run high. When your family lets out a collective groan at the thought of their crazy 3-year-old spawn of a cousin’s arrival, it is important to have a time-out and discuss a plan of approach. Give a pep-talk to ensure that they realize the importance of family and treating them with respect and care. Let them know what you expect and what the consequences are if anyone in the family chooses to ignore the rules.

3. Recover your team’s fumble. We all do it. The holiday sales and savings inevitably hold us captive at some point during the season, leading consumers to buy much more than they need. Children especially are bombarded by advertisements for toys, movies and books until they become obsessed with getting the latest Elmo doll or Wii game. This is the ideal time to get your family involved with a charity organization such as Toys for Tots or Meals on Wheels to switch their focus to giving rather than receiving this year.

4. Call a time-out. Remember that the holidays are a time to be thankful, relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Parties, school performances and other such events don’t give your family the opportunity to truly enjoy one another. This year try and schedule some family time with a movie or game night. Also, check community calendars for family activities – which are often free – in your area.

Editor’s Note: I love Dr. Collins’ tips – and reading advice through analogy really drives it home all the more effectively. Can you think of any other sports analogies that help at home?

Author Bio:

Travis Collins is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama, and has served as a pastor and missionary for more than three decades. He holds a PhD in Christian Mission and is a member of the Fresh Expressions US Team. His latest book, What Does It Mean To Be Welcoming? (IVP), equips churches to navigate LGBT questions. Travis and his wife, Keri, have three grown children and a growing number of grandchildren.