To the average Naples family, vacation time is a busy one. Whether you’re going on a road trip, abroad, or staying local there’s a lot to plan, to do and to experience. Christmas is one such time, that’s full of things that need doing to achieve the desired effect, but we as men, and fathers sometimes miss out on the big picture.

My son ran up to me the other day and told me he wanted the best Christmas ever this year. I immediately thought of all the things I had to do before the day, shopping, gifts, decorating the tree, organizing family and a host of other things. I also do the cooking in our family so I had that to worry about too. Getting the groceries, planning meals and seating plans while my wife looked after the cinderella broadway tickets presents and other activities.

This took me away from the whole spirit of the holiday. I had taken vacation time so I could be with my family over the holidays because I normally worked. Americans work more than most other Western countries, so it’s easy to get caught up with the demands of work. Apparently we work a full nine weeks a year more than anyone in Europe. Thirty-eight percent of fathers report they regularly work more than fifty hours a week. It’s no wonder that we sometimes forget the bigger picture.

It’s no surprise that the spirit of Christmas often passes us by. With that in mind, to the Naples family, vacation time is an important time to spend together, catching up on what we missed and making up for having to be at work so much.

To make the most of holiday or vacation time, it’s necessary to lose the goal-oriented mentality and ask “what does my family need?” This will still involve tasks and things to do, but with a wider scope and perspective. Changing the habit of a lifetime won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding. Try it one Christmas and see the difference in your family. If the change is positive, use it as motivation to continue the behavior with them.

Standing there looking at my son, it was also time to get into the spirit of Christmas and see the bigger picture. So I sat us both down on the chair and asked him how and why he wanted this Christmas to be the best one ever.