Merry Christmas

It’s December and we are now gearing up for the holidays. Will it surprise anyone to know that today’s article is all about Christmas? Christmas is the holiday we celebrate in our home, but whatever your family enjoys, the following article will give you some good ideas for enjoying this holiday season.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, while you were reading my post, I was in Ottawa and one of the highlights was a Beyond Childcare presentation at Borden Ladner Gervais. Come to my website to see what they had to say.

I also returned home to see the latest posting from Brockway Human Services. Doug Brockway had invited me to be a guest blogger and there it was. Wonderful to collaborate with colleagues you truly admire.

Involve the Kids in Christmas Preparation

There are many holidays celebrated at this time of year. Each celebration carries with it different foods, decorations and activities. But, no matter what your family celebrates, the challenge for parents is how to handle the preparations with the kids underfoot.

In our house we celebrate Christmas. I love Christmas. I celebrate Christmas with joy and energy and always have. But I do have one thing I really hate about the holidays. Three weeks before December 25 someone will always say to me, “So, are you all ready for Christmas?” There are twenty-one days left. In what universe would I be all ready this early? Of course they’re all ready. Shopping was finished by Labour Day, their freezer is stocked with all the necessary goodies, decorations organized and nicely placed throughout the house and yard and of course the cards went out the first weekend in December.

I am not ready; don’t ask.  But in many cases I don’t want to be that ready. Part of the fun is doing the Christmas stuff around the actual holiday and riding on the wave of excitement that builds, as we get closer to the day. Now, I won’t be shopping on Christmas Eve (that’s my husbands thrill), but I do want to bake and shop while listening to Christmas Carols (yes, I love those as well).

Easy for me, you say, after all your kids are grown. But it’s always been like this. The trick is to involve the children and not try to shoo them away. Sure, I know. Getting kids involved in the work is not always time efficient but let’s face it, trying to get them to stay out of the way is equally difficult.

The pay-off will come down the road. Each year, as they get older and more effective as workers, they will increasingly be more of a help rather than a hindrance to actual work. When they’re young be realistic and pare down the number of things you think need to happen. You don’t need to do all that baking. Choose your favourites and only bake them. There are always too many sweets around anyway.

If you send cards, the kids can really get involved. The older kids can address envelopes; the little kids can seal the envelopes.

They love to help in the kitchen. They can fetch ingredients from the low cupboards, mix dry ingredients (and you convince them that the better these are combined the better the cookies will taste), tear bread for stuffing or rip lettuce for a salad.

Let them help with whatever decorations you use. Whenever I see a Christmas tree with most decorations toward the bottom and no real sense of design I know I’m in a home with young children, and they got to do the tree.

If you host a group for a meal let the kids take on some of host duties. Young kids love to create name tags for the table and if you let them decide where everyone will sit they will be pleased as punch. They can answer the door and show people where to leave their coats.

The more you involve the children in holiday preparations the happier they will be. You will get to spend lots of time with them and they will know that they are a necessary part of the festivities. It’s a classic win-win situation.

A Few Things Happening with Parenting Today

For those who plan way ahead I will be in Washington state and Oregon in June 2011 and in Ontario and New England in late September and early October of 2011.

I will also be in Hawaii in the winter.

And, I’m working on a trip to Calgary Alberta in the late winter or spring. Stay tuned for more information.If you want to take advantage of any of these trips with a Beyond Childcare presentation, parent conference or professional development workshop, give me a call.

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