Christmas can be such a stressful time of year for most folks. But add to that sleepless nights, colds, teething, temper tantrums and just trying to keep your kid from knocking over the Christmas tree you worked so hard to put up, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a holiday that isn’t any fun. Well, since I started reading The Whatever Mom (Roxanne is my mama spirit animal), I’ve come to the conclusion that often less is more. My main goal with motherhood is to keep my sanity and have kids who are happy and healthy. Here are 3 things we do at our house to simplify Christmas with our 17 month old, while still making it memorable and fun for our family, and something we can look back on fondly.
For our family, the easiest way to guarantee fun each year and make the holiday special is to start a family tradition (or two). It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. We use a fun little Christmas plate for meals starting the day after Thanksgiving and we break out the advent calendar. Not a lot of work to grab these two out of our attic and they’re so cute in pictures each day. Here’s one of our banana and pancake breakfast this morning!
You can find similar plates just about anywhere. I believe we got this one from the dollar section at Target, but if you shop online you can have it shipped directly to you and you don’t even have to leave your house. (See shopping links below).
We also like to use an advent calendar to count down until Christmas. It makes for a fun little daily tradition and cute pictures too! Here’s one from Pottery Barn, which holds up great, but if that’s not in your budget this year, you can make a paper chain or coloring chart, or look for one that’s half off at the end of the season!
No Fuss Decorations
When you have young kids, they want to touch and hold and play with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. So put away the $100 crystal ornament you inherited from your great grandmother; and the sentimental (breakable) ornaments you got the first year you were married. Instead, fill in those spaces with some fun ornaments your kids help you make. It will give them hours (or at least several minutes) of fun and they will have keepsakes they can take with them some day. Most craft stores have little wooden ones for a dollar or two that can be colored-in with markers. If you’re really brave, you can even get out the paint!
Making a plan may sound like work, but it can actually give you peace and sanity this time of year. Talk with your husband (or co-parent) and your kids (if they’re old enough) about what activities are most important to them. Then, make a list of 3-4 activities that you know are doable, and make a plan to do just those activities. You might be surprised what means the most to you and your family.
Our list typically looks something like this:
- Set up Christmas Decoration
- Take Family Photos for Christmas Cards
- Visit the trains at the mall (They have an Amazing electric train display at our mall, that our little guy LOVE to go see).
- Make cookies
- Go look at Christmas lights
The great thing about planning ahead, is now we don’t have to think about what we want to do and no one is left feeling like they didn’t get to do what they wanted. As an added bonus, if things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s OK! Didn’t get a chance to make cookies? That’s OK! We’ll buy some festive ones from the store or local bakery. Our little guy got sick last year during the week of Christmas and we opted not to take him out to look at Christmas lights, but we’re hoping to this year!
Spending time with each other is the most important thing this time of year so make sure to carve out a little time to relax, drink some cocoa, enjoy some
wrestle snuggle time and watch a Christmas movie or two. You’ll be glad you didn’t overwhelm yourself with a huge to-do list this year!
Rosie Bynum is a boy mom and owner of The Dinosaur Clothing Boutique. Her son Luke and husband Peter help her run the family business. Check out all the adorable creations on her website, Facebook and Instagram.