Creating a Festive Atmosphere
Creating a festive atmosphere in your home can help set the right mood for your celebrations. Use a unique combination of sights, scents, sounds, and tastes that your children will associate with different holidays. As your children get older, feel free to make changes to your holiday traditions to keep things interesting and fresh.
Playing shabads in your home is the essential way to imbue the core of Sikhi in your holiday celebrations. Create a playlist for each holiday and play it in the background while your kids are doing a holiday activity. Teach them the names of the shabads you're playing along with the theme and spiritual wisdom that they impart.
Prepare a special meal for each holiday that isn't something they normally get. It doesn't have to be elaborate but it does have to be special. It doesn't have to be Indian food or American food, it can be anything that your children like. You'll know you've done it right if your kids anticipate the holiday knowing they will be getting one of their favorite meals. Oh, and don't forget dessert!
Adorn the inside and outside of your home with string lights, flowers, and other decorations to create an ambiance that exudes warmth and celebration. I personally use fairy lights on trees and hang outdoor string lights over our patio. I also use lots of flowers during Vaisakhi and do other craft decorations during Gurpurabs to create a special look in our home that my kids love.
Scientists say that smells trigger our strongest emotions and memories. In addition to the rich aromas of cooking holiday meals and desserts, I always tried to add extra sources of scent in our home. Traditionally incense has been used in Sikh homes but in recent times a growing awareness that incense can have adverse affects on health has lead many families to stop burning it. Alternatives to incense include potpourri, scented candles, and aromatic oils. If you do choose to burn incense, do so only during warmer days when you can open windows and ventilate the house.