Christmas is looming, your to-do list is haunting you and the kids are driving you nuts.
Often the problem is not with the kids; it’s with our expectations of how Christmas should be. A month before my first Christmas as a Mom I read an article which really put me on track. I was about to try to provide the most perfect Christmas ever. Here I was with an 11-month-old child and I was pregnant. But hey, I could do it. My daughter was going to have a holiday to remember.
Then I read a magazine article and it reminded me that I was remembering Christmases from when I was older. On top of that, I was likely taking the best of every year to create in my mind an unreasonable fantasy. The article went on to point out that babies don’t care. As long as they have their parents with them, they are fully satisfied.
So I relaxed and we had a lovely day and each year we planned a Christmas that was realistic and left time for fun and relaxation with the kids. Well okay, sometimes I go overboard and every time, I remember that article and try to get myself back on track.
Christmas Day itself requires thought and planning, which isn’t to say it will be totally calm and scheduled but doing some thinking ahead is certainly helpful. Count on some chaos. After all it’s one day a year, it’s pretty exciting and it’s fun. Let the fun happen.
But within that create some scheduling designed to calm over-excited youngsters. Talk to them about when they’re actually allowed to get out of bed and start the day. That may involve asking them to come to see you when they awaken and check to see if it’s really morning yet or, if they can tell time, knowing what time they’re allowed to get up. It’s amazing that kids you simply can’t get out of bed on school mornings will see 5 am as a perfectly acceptable time to start the day on December 25th.
Most kids lose it if they are tired. For kids who nap, make naptime a priority. Have them settle down to sleep at their regular time and for older kids, a quiet rest is a great idea. It just creates a short break from the excitement and allows everyone to catch his or her breath. Oh, and take the time to put your feet up as well.
Getting outside for some exercise is a wonderful idea. The gifts are open, breakfast is over and it’s too early to cook the turkey. So head to the park or go for a walk on the beach. Get outside. It’s also a great idea to go for another walk after you eat. This is a good time to head out and see the wonderful array of Christmas lights and decorations.
Plan, play and enjoy. Merry Christmas.