The Holidays: There’s Too Much To Do!

Posted by SharonSilver in Articles on Wed, Dec 14, 2011

We’ve all seen it, a parent drags a crying child away from a holiday display, threatening to call Santa and cancel Christmas! Now, the child really begins to scream. The parent turns around and yells, “If you weren’t misbehaving none of this would be happening!” Is it really all the child’s fault? Or has the holiday stress aggravated mom to the point where she’s using threats to manage her child’s behavior and isn’t paying attention to the fact that she’s actually causing reactions and meltdowns?

This article is not a “parenting article” per se; it’s a practical-helpful-organizational-so I-don’t-loose-my-mind-because-of-all-the-stress-and-yell-at-my-kids-during-the-holidays-article. It’s being posted now because you have a lot to do to get ready for the holidays!

I believe a great deal of stress can be alleviated by planning and doing one tiny thing each day during the month, versus doing it all at the end. I’ve done this myself—it really works!

Here are 6 things that will make you feel as if a magical elf showed up to help!

Be Proactive

Get a pad of paper and list everything you need to accomplish before December 25th, everything! Things like polishing the silver, purchasing and wrapping gifts, counting out the plates and glasses, deciding what the centerpiece and decorations will be, which serving platters to use and…

Next, get out your calendar and schedule 1-2 things to do each day between now and December 25th. One night wash or polish silverware, or wash plates and glassware. Wrap cleaned tableware in a towel and store in a box. Consider labeling serving piece with sticky notes so helpers know what you want served in each bowl or platter. One night, while watching TV, iron the tablecloth, napkins and outfits and hang them in closet, so they only need a touch up on the “big day.”

Use time wisely

When you’re chatting on the phone, address Christmas cards. Wrap gifts. Polish silverware. Wash platters. You catch my drift here. Don’t waste a minute.

Thank you notes; do or don’t do?

If you choose to do thank you notes, consider making your own on the computer and do them in advance over several nights. Doing thank you notes before gifts are received not only creates excitement, it also allows you to talk with your children about what to do if they get a gift they don’t like, yet need to say thank you anyway.

Night one: Each child picks an image(s) to put on their thank you note. Google Images is a great resource.

Night two: Each child works with you to compose their thank you message. Make sure to leave a small spot at the bottom to insert what the gift was.

Night three: Print all thank you notes and have the children sign them.

Night four: Address envelopes, stamp and stuff them.

After Christmas: Write in what the gift was on each thank you, re-stuff and mail!

That’s a baby gift!

Purchase 3 small it’s-just-what-I-wanted gifts. Wrap and stash them in the closet in case a relative didn’t realize that Jr. doesn’t play with stuffed animals any more. 

I need 3 hands to wrap gifts!

Supplies: Find 2-3 shoeboxes. Fill one box with tape, pens, crayons, markers and paper. This gives little ones something special to do as you wrap gifts. Fill another with scissors and cutting blades so little ones don’t reach for a marker and accidently cut themselves. Put stickers, glue, and glitter and fun stuff like that in the last box so all the glitter and glue work is done inside the box to reduce any mess.

Wrapping: Take a paper towel holder that’s weighted on the bottom and unscrew the top. Put a role of wrapping paper on it so it holds the paper for you as you pull off what you need. Tada, the third hand you’ve always wanted!

Ribbon: Consider using twine instead of expensive ribbon to wrap gifts. It comes in colors too. Purchase a plastic or aluminum funnel typically used for motor oil. Punch a hole in the side of the funnel and hang it on a hook. Place the twine in the funnel and thread it through the hole. Again, the third hand you’ve always wanted!

Gifts from the Heart

To help off set the cost of new presents for everyone, create a coupon book to use as one of the gifts. Give the kids’ coupons for things like, Stay Up Late 1 Weekend Night, or Mom Does Your Chores for 1 Week, or No Veggies Tonight, or No Bath Tonight, or 1 Date with Dad. This is a great way to teach kids the real meaning of Christmas.

Next week I’ll share what I think is the perfect way to tell your kids about Santa!

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About Sharon Silver

Sharon Silver is the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be, and the founder of Proactive Parenting. Her book and site help parents gain more patience by responding instead of reacting for ages 1-10. Receive 2 FREE tips from the book. Proactive Parenting is proud to announce the Online Skills Class. A class that any parent can attend, even if you live outside the US. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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