By Halftime Institute Alumna: Cristin Parker

When I attended the Halftime Institute, my breakthrough came as a result of the process: taking a step back, in order to move forward with purpose and direction. As a mom and former business consultant, the halftime process inspired me to use both my business background and parenting experience to focus on helping others build strong families.

My Halftime Coach helped me break down barriers to pursue my vision. Now, I have a coaching/consulting practice coming alongside families in their desire to be more proactive and intentional.

From my work, I’ve come to believe that our families are the best opportunity we have to learn and grow.

In his new book, Big Potential, positive psychologist, Shawn Achor, shares that his results of over a decade of research are conclusive. In order to reach your potential, “what you need is a constellation of positive, authentic influences who support each other, reinforce each other, and make each other better.”  What better context is there in life for reinforcing each other and making one another better than our families?

If you’re wanting to learn and grow, let me share some of my learnings over the past several years with you, my Halftime family, to help you unlock your family’s potential.

What better time for considering this than the holidays – a time meant to promote thanksgiving, hope, joy, peace and love? Instead, the statistics for people feeling sad, stressed, lonely, and dissatisfied tend to spike.

We are often engaged with plenty of activities, but are they accomplishing what we want?

What could we do to add a layer of intentionality to create meaningful connections with those we love the most?

I’m a big believer in getting practical. So, let’s explore some practical ideas for a more connected family Christmas:


Build upon what you already have planned:

First, choose something you already have planned – a dinner, an event, or a tradition –  and decide how you might add an extra layer of meaning. Since most of our holidays revolve around meals, and conversation can get chaotic or stagnant, you could place question cards under each plate to instigate more vulnerability, transparency and even humor. Or, alternatively, one of our favorite Christmas traditions is an ornament exchange. We buy ornaments for each other that commemorate a milestone, achievement or memory of one another. These days, you can find an ornament for just about everything! It’s a meaningful and inexpensive way to share on Christmas morning and now our tree is filled with memories.

Key: Take time to consider how you might add meaning for everyone. Remember, we reach our “big potential” when we engage our team. Don’t go it alone.


Keep it simple and make a plan: 

Once you make choices of no more than three new ideas, start planning and prioritizing to make them happen. Make sure you aren’t taking on too much. Even the simplest ideas require effort. Quality over quantity.

Key: Consider what you need to make this a success and get others help so you aren’t solely responsible. Get support and buy-in. Finally, make sure you communicate appropriately and effectively to ensure everyone is on the same page.


Follow through:

Put your plan into action and remember WHY you’re doing things differently – for a deeper, more meaningful connection as a family! Even if it doesn’t go perfectly, you can make adjustments and learn from the experience.

Key: Have fun! Stay lighthearted and don’t let it get to you if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Move on! There is no such thing as failure, only success or information!



What worked well? Could you improve on anything? Would you do it again? Maybe it was a one-time only effort and you have more ideas on what you want to do next year, or maybe you’ve added a new tradition you want a repeat!

Key: Revise ideas for improvement, reinforce success, and keep trying until you find something that works!


For more meaningful holiday ideas, download this guide.

– Cristin Parker

Cristin Parker
Cristin Parker is a Halftime Institute Alumni contributor. Cristin has a passion to help families thrive by understanding the unique identity of their family team. As a former Change Management Consultant for Perot Systems, specializing in communications and sponsorship for large-scale projects, she understands that high-functioning organizations (or families) require a strong core team with clear vision and objectives. Merging her corporate knowledge with her personal experience raising three children, she has developed a framework to help families achieve organizational health. As a result, the process unlocks the potential of each family member. Ultimately, each member is equipped to be an integral part of a greater team ... the family. Get in touch with Cristin at