It's a time moms look forward to with anticipation: two whole weeks to spend with our kiddos decking the halls, sipping cocoa, snuggling in holiday pajamas, singing carols, walking in a winter wonderland!
But—let's be honest—it can also be a time we moms face with great trepidation: two whole weeks with no school. Two weeks with lots of together time. Two weeks with too many gifts, too many sweets, too much excitement, and too many opportunities for siblings to fight, and for preschoolers to complain. Add to the mix the cold weather cooping everybody inside and the lack of sleep accompanying all the festivities, Christmas break can easily morph from a treasured family memory to a nightmare.
The good news is that Christmas doesn't have to be that way. Somewhere in between the fake/idealistic/unrealistic dream of a magazine-worthy family Christmas, and the exhausting chaos of a Christmas break that seems to be two weeks too long, you can carve out a happy medium. Armed with good ideas, a bit of planning, and a lot of grace, you can capture the time you've got with your kids this Christmas break and turn it into something special.
So, want to make the most of this Christmas break with your kids? Here are 10 ideas:
1. Count to 12
Contrary to popular belief, Christmas doesn't end at midnight on December 25th. According to the liturgical church calendar, Christmastide is 12 days long! Intentionally stretch out the celebration by playing carols on your iPod, praising Jesus for his birth during dinnertime prayers, and reading the Nativity accounts in the Gospels together (Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:1–2:40).
Christmas ends on Epiphany, January 6th. Mark the day by reading the account of the wise men worshiping Jesus (Matthew 2:1–12), and by discussing the importance of worship in your own lives. (If you want, add some flavor to the day by eating a traditional "king cake.")
2. Grow Generosity
After an influx of new toys and other Christmas presents, take time to talk with your kids about the importance of giving to those in need. Help your kids gather some of their toys, books, or clothes to donate to others in need. Rather than just dropping them off at the nearest Goodwill, work with your kids to select a local Christ-centered ministry— such as a homeless shelter or an afterschool program in an impoverished neighborhood—to help them personally connect with their giving. Encourage your kids to donate nice items rather than just "junk" they don't want anymore. (Set an example by picking some of your own items to donate too!)