If you celebrate Christmas, you can probably relate to the fact that there is so much pressure to have a perfect, sparkly Christmas morning. And those of us with young children know that amongst all the sparkle, come the over-tired, overwhelmed, over-excited tears. Here are a few things I’ve found to be helpful in navigating the chaos and minimizing the tears.
THE NIGHT BEFORE…
- Before you wrap, open all those horrible plastic packages, put together anything that requires assembly, and put in batteries if required. Then wrap. This will save all the “Can you open this?! I need scissors! No, a knife! Where is the Philips head screw driver? How do we not have any AA batteries in this house?!” on Christmas morning. This year, the one thing my four-year-old wants is The Ultimate Garage. So yesterday, while the house was empty, I sat on the floor, laid out the 356,000 pieces, and attempted to decipher the 21 page instruction manual. I can proudly tell you that two hours and a trip to CVS later (turns out we actually didn’t have any AA batteries), the box of plastic had been transformed into The Ultimate Garage.
- Go over the morning plan. What time is acceptable to wake up? If you wake up before Mom and Dad, don’t go downstairs yet, don’t climb in the crib with your little brother, things like that.
- Prepare the coffee so all you have to do is just flip the “on” switch. Enough said.
- Have a couple of big plastic garbage bags readily available for discarded wrapping paper, boxes, tissue paper, etc. This will save some time cleaning mountains of balled up paper and cut down on some of the clutter. As it is, my living room can barely fit four people and a tree, let alone all the extra stuff, so any less mess on the floor, the better.
- Encourage taking turns. Every year I try (sometimes even successfully!) to stress the fact that we all get presents, and we all take turns opening them. *Please note this may or may not prevent tears.
- This morning is not the time to teach any life lessons. Your little ones have been waiting for weeks (months?) for this day and they are going to be excited. If they are not on their best, most polite behavior, give them a pass today.
- Take a break from the toys and get outside. It’s supposed to be unusually warm here in CT, so take it as a sign to get your butt outside and get some fresh air. It’s good for your soul.
- Don’t be fooled by your friends’ Facebook posts. I remember scrolling through all the adorably perfect Christmas morning pictures last year, then glancing around at my torn apart house and kids screeching while playing tug of war with a new truck, thinking “what did I do wrong?” Listen, we’re all in the same boat. There are moments of absolute bliss, and there are moments of complete chaos. If you don’t capture the blissful moments for Facebook World, don’t worry about it. Just be in the moment and enjoy it.
- Have reasonable expectations. Exhale. Today will likely be stressful and crazy. Remember to breathe, appreciate the joy, happiness and love along with the crazy. You can handle it. You got this. I promise.
- If all else fails, have an emergency bottle of Champagne chilled and ready to go. (Mimosas are totally acceptable before noon, right?)
Here’s wishing you a tear-free holiday. May your blissful moments outweigh your stressful ones.