It’s Christmas Eve, and hopefully you’re spending a joy-filled and stress-free holiday with your loved ones. If not, here’s a few last minute tips to help get you through the next couple of days.
Make it easy for the kids to be good. From keeping as many routines as possible to finding quiet places to retreat together, there’s lots of ways to help kids be happy and well behaved even in the midst of family chaos. Here’s lots of ways to make that happen.
Put on your grandma glasses. No, I don’t mean literally. When things are getting crazy, take a step back for a minute and see the scene through your own eyes thirty or even fifty years from now. How much would you laugh at, even if it’s stressing you out now? How much will make you smile because it so well sums up the crazy but fabulous family you’ve made together? Nothing puts a little mayhem into perspective better than imagining it when it’s over. Cherish what you have now. Someday you really will look back on these days and smile, so why not smile now?
Get out. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the noise and busyness, step outside for a few minutes. Even in the bitter cold of Minnesota, it’s possible to bundle up and go look at the stars or watch the snow fall long enough to make a big difference. The change of scenery will help drain off that nervous energy from relatives that are a little too loud and surroundings that are a little too agitated. If you can’t get all the way out, just get away from people for a few minutes. Say you have to nurse the baby and excuse yourself to a quiet room, for instance, or take your toddler off someplace more peaceful to sit and talk quietly for a few minutes and recharge.
Drown out the negative people. The holidays can sometimes force us to spend time with people who are critical or disapproving. If you’re going to be spending much time with people like this, head over to my advice on Dealing with Icks on the Magical Childhood blog for some thoughts on how to deal with them.
Keep the kids busy. Really, any little thing that will occupy them will help keep them happy and make life easier. I had my boys “altering” a cardboard box and two bars of hotel soap with clay carving tools and a screw earlier. It took care of 15 minutes, provided a little sensory fun, and was cleaned up in 10 seconds with a dustbuster afterwards. See the links at the bottom of this article for fun busy-work activities for kids.
Focus on the good. Give your attention to all of your blessings and let the rest slip away. It’s a magical time of year and we all have so much to treasure. Take the time to admire the beauty of the Christmas tree, to sit and talk to your grandmother, to listen to your children laughing. There really is something to that sappy old movie: It’s a Wonderful Life.