The Holiday season is hectic, expensive, but oh so fun! Aside from family and friend gatherings, peppermint mochas, and shopping, I get the most joy out of seeing the Holidays through my children’s eyes. With that joy however, comes the responsibility of teaching them the true reason for the season while still having fun. Below is my basic seven point checklist to being a “good” Christmas mom (for lack of a better name) I try to check off every year.
1- Create small daily traditions:
December is such a busy month that Christmas can come and go in the blink of an eye. To extend the joy of the season, start daily traditions. One we do is the now popular elf on the shelf. I must admit, I was not a huge fan of this guy at first. I wondered, why is it a guy instead of a fierce female elf? Why is he always staring at me? Why was he so pricey? But he grew on me once I realized something so simple can give my kids a moment of Christmas joy every morning. The time window you have to do things like these with your children is so small and precious too. I don’t see a pre-teen running down the stairs enthusiastically every morning to look for a lanky stuffed elf. so take advantage and have some fun!
2- Have a nativity calendar.
How many times do you hear the question, “how many more days until Christmas mom?!” Instead of answering it twenty times a day and getting irritated, buy a nativity calendar. Not only because it’s a “nativity” calendar which makes it quite fitting, but it will also give the kidos a visual of the countdown since their sense of time is…lets face it..non existent. I have to admit, I’m slightly slacking on this one. My countdown calendar is on my phone, but my kids like it just the same!
3- Let your kids buy their gifts for others.
Rather than doing all the shopping for them, give your kids money to shop for their own family and friend gifts. We are lucky to have a toy shop at the kid’s school where the kids get to shop for each other and bring their purchases home wrapped. I love that my kids pull out for their “savings” to buy each other gifts. It’s always extra fun to see what they pick out for each other and the rest of the family as well. I believe this is one of the best way to let your kids practice the selfless and thoughtful act of gift giving.
4- Don’t use gifts as bargaining chips.
It’s so easy to say, “if you don’t behave I’m returning your gift.” I strongly encourage you not to do that. I know not all will agree with me here but I am against gift giving being behavior based. Above being naughty or nice, you are loved and that’s why you are getting a gift for Christmas. Of course gifts can be a form of positive reinforcement for good behavior however for Christmas, I believe you should keep the joy of the season regardless and remember you are celebrating the birth of Jesus, not good behavior.
5- Plan travel activities.
A lot of us travel for the Holidays and believe me I know it can be stressful. I’ve flown with my kids since they were newborns. It seems like just yesterday I was packing a breast pump, diapers, and a pack and play to go visit family for the Holidays. I can write, and will, a whole post on flying with kids but for now, let me simplify by saying, plan activities. Each of my kids gets their bag of tricks when we travel and I try to have them do each activity for as close to 30 minutes as possible. It’s hard to think of creative ideas while rushing so I suggest being on the lookout for good travel activities year round. Making traveling fun can start the Holidays off in good spirits versus grumpy ones.
6- Get your kids involved in a volunteer activity.
There are so many ways to give back this time of year. Get the kids involved. Clean out their closets with them and take them to donate their old clothes, find a local toy drive to partake in, or put together a box for operation Christmas Child which most churches host. It allows them to practice the act of selfless giving, as well as understand how blessed they truly are. We fill shoeboxes for church every year and my kids are always shocked that items such as toothbrushes are on the shopping list. I think it helps them realize for some kids out there, the struggle is pretty real and they are truly blessed.
7- Document the gift opening.
The best home videos I have are of my kids opening their Christmas presents. Their excitement will never be the same once they grow up. So take pics, record them, and for crying out loud, get in some of the pics with them!!! You are part of the memories you are creating. You may not value it now but in a few years when their voices deepen and they act more “cool” about everything, you will.
That’s my list! Create your own, it’s not one size fits all, and enjoy the holidays with your munchkins!