Crying on Santa’s Lap and Other Holiday Memories
As we looked at our family calendar the other day, trying to pinpoint the best day to go get our Christmas tree in between work, sport, school concerts and holiday gatherings, I had a familiar feeling. I felt stressed about the holidays and wondered how we were going to get everything done. When would there by time for making memories in between yelling for everyone to get in the car, getting pretty greenery for the front porch pots and realizing we were out of powdered sugar needed for icing?
My next door neighbour lamented that Chanukah and Christmas dates this year meant they were driving pretty far distances between relatives’ homes for several days straight. She is trying to potty train her son, and he generally asks to stop the car every 10-15 minutes to try to pee in his portable potty. She plans to buy everyone reindeer antlers and play dreidel in the car, since that’s where they’ll spend most of their holidays.
Whatever traditions your family celebrates this season, one thing most of us have in common is that we want to share a few happy, loving moments with our families and we hope these become memories that children carry with them.
I’ve asked some smart, creative Kid & Company staff members for some of their “Making Holiday Memories – Simple” ideas. I think I’ve gathered some great advice.
- Choose one or two activities that are important to you/your partner and put your energy there. 2 well-done events make more of an impact than the stress of fitting in many activities. Do a little research and make sure you are realistic about the attention span and interests of your children. The Nutcracker is wonderful, but very LONG for a 6 year old (I learned this the hard way).
- Some activities need a good amount of organization and work to go well. Want to make cookies? Plan on making many colours of icing and decorations beforehand and have lots of tools ready for little hands (I like squeeze bottles and wide paint brushes for putting on icing, and small spice jars with small holes on top for sugars, sprinkles, etc). Roll out and cut some cookies with them, but have some that are already made and cooled so they can get to decorating. One mom says: Plan it out the way you would a birthday party activity. Have side activities to keep little hands busy when there is a lull in the main-event activity.
- Take some photos (because they really are part of the memory making) but make sure you put the phone/camera down long enough to be part of the action and do the activity too. Your kids want you as part of their memories, not just as the family photographer.
- Have an activity that reminds children to think of others. For young children, this can be as simple as making drawings for family members. You may consider volunteering as a family, make suet bird feeders for winter animals, drop off some pet food at the Humane society, or give each child a small budget to donate to the charity of their choice.
- Sometimes the small things really are the best. Both of my sons LOVE choosing a night to walk around the neighbourhood and look at all of the lights twinkling on trees and homes. We then come home and have hot chocolate with marshmallows. Free, easy and the dog gets a walk, too!