Christmas is the holiday we celebrate in our family. I wish you all the best with whatever holiday you celebrate with your family.
In our last edition we talked about the planning for the holidays. Today we’re going to look at the last minute realities.
The bottom-line is to relax, enjoy your family and friends and have the celebration you and your family want.
Calming the Christmas Rush
Christmas is looming, your to-do list is daunting you and the kids are driving you nuts.
There are the questions. How many sleeps until Christmas? Are you sure Santa knows where we live? Where are Grandma and Grandpa going to sleep when they come to visit?
The kids are excited, they are curious, and they can hardly wait. And they can hardly be quiet or sit still and here you are busy as can be. So what can you do? There are times you sort of wish you lived in a science fiction world and could just put the kids safely to sleep until the 25th.
The first thing to do is to look at your to-do list. Now put all the items in priority from the most important (I can’t live without shortbread at Christmas) to the least. Okay, now here’s the fun part. Fold that list in threes. Take the bottom third, shred it and put it in the garbage. Those things weren’t that important anyway. Take the middle third and put it in a drawer to take out if you get bored and have lots of free time on your hands. Take the top third and figure out when to tackle these, the most important items.
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 picked up this magazine and it reminded me that I was likely 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. You may need to 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.
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.
Looking for a last minute gift?
Vive la Différence
This book makes a lovely Christmas gift for the parents on your list. Just send it to their phone, iPad or email.
There are so many times when we are raising our kids when we note their differences. My mini guide e-book , Vive la Différence:Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses this.
I have always known that each child is a unique individual. I looked at my two who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, (http://www.parentingtoday.ca/workshopskeynotes/) have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.