Christmas is such a special holiday around my house. But to be honest, Christmas is so much more than just a day; it’s the entire month from Thanksgiving until the actual morning we sit around the tree opening presents. Always, like forever, my goal was that the month of Christmas celebration would be a fun time of building memories and strengthening family ties. However, for too many years, I was causing just the opposite to happen. Instead of peace and goodwill, I was dealing with tired kids, an over-filled schedule, and my well-planned budget run amuck! Too many good opportunities meant that I was forsaking the best choices for our family.
How can we keep the holidays the peaceful, festive times of goodwill we are longing to enjoy? Well, for mamas of young children, the answer is simply to Keep It Simple! Oh, I know, there are so many great ideas of ways to make the holiday season special. Those “Pinterest perfect” ideas look wonderful, and honestly, taken one at a time, they are wonderful. The problem comes when we try to just do too much. When we are racing through the day trying to cram in as many special memories as possible, we can’t help but set our children up for an over-tired, over-stimulated meltdown of failure.
Think through your holiday plans. Consider your children’s ages, routines, and capabilities. Trust me, they’d rather play with cookie dough and cookie cutters, than struggle to complete a Christmas craft that is beyond their skill level. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t have the time or desire to take over and make their crafts look just right! Plan for some down time, when the kids can just relax and use their imaginations. For years, Steve constructed a simple, (and by simple I mean REALLY SIMPLE) wooden stable in our family room. In the stable we placed our doll cradle filled with hay and a swaddled baby doll. I filled a basket with dress up clothes for the children to play-act the roles of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the Wise Men. My children spent hours in that stable! We took it down the day after Christmas, stored the dress up clothes, and assured them that the stable would reappear the next year. Because they only had access to it for such a limited time, the stable remained a treasured tradition for many years.
Think creatively… but don’t over-think your Christmas! Spend time baking, reading, and snuggling. Talk about the real reason for your celebration and have yourself a Merry (but relaxed!) Christmas this year!