How To Survive Christmas Day With Children
It’s Christmas morning and your children just woke you up before dawn.
The sun has not risen yet and you just finished wrapping and putting presents under the tree.
So, it begins. The long busy day you’ve been preparing for since Halloween.
The one day of this time of year all the craziness over the past few months was for.
What if I told you there are ways to make this day better?
What if there were things you could do to give yourself a Christmas break this holiday season.
Christmas Day does not have to be stressful, and it does not have to follow anyone else’s schedule, but the one you set for your whole family.
Check out these tips on how to survive the holidays when you have young children.
What To Do to Survive the Christmas Holidays:
1. Don’t feel like you need to do what everyone else says.
There’s no reason to visit 6 different houses on Christmas Day to have a good time. Your family will appreciate you cutting back. If your families are insisting on spending quality time with you, they can help plan a way that works for the entire family.
If you want to stay home all day for some quiet time in pajamas letting your kids play with their new toys, watching Christmas movies, playing board games, and eating Chinese food, then do it.
You should make your own schedule and stick to it no matter what your extended family says. The hardest thing to do on Christmas is pull your children away from their new toys for a day of driving around from house to house to the point of exhaustion and melt downs because of holiday traditions.
2. Do not skip naps
If your children still take naps, you should try to stay on their normal schedules. That can be hard when traveling around all day to family gatherings and holiday parties. You never know where you’ll be when nap time comes.
Plan your day ahead and find a time and place for a nap. Whether that’s at home because you’re staying local or at a family member’s house because your house is out of the way.
Call your family ahead of time to plan out a nap space for your children. This could be in a guest room, or you could bring a pack n play in your vehicle to set up. Whatever option you go with, make sure to follow through. If this means pausing present opening, then that may need to happen.
This can be difficult when it is your first Christmas with a new baby, but your family with adjust and it will help things run smoothly again next year.
3. Bring a food dish your children will eat for Christmas Dinner
We all know children can be very picky. If you have one of those rare children who will eat anything, this does not apply to you.
If you have a child with a severe allergy or they are going through a picky stage, it’s best to bring a dish you know your child will definitely eat.
You may want to plan ahead with the host, so they know what you’re bringing and why. They may have items that complement your dish or find a way to incorporate it for you.
Many hosts will make sure they are allergy friendly or have a few dishes that are as well if they know about it. My family makes sure not one item in the kitchen has peanuts, so my son is safe. Even if that means altering old family recipes… SunButter Blossoms anyone?
4. Let them bring a new toy
Many people will disagree with me on this but hear me out.
Your child has been waiting months to receive these new toys they really wanted, and many try very hard not to get on the naughty list. Everything is hyped up with Santa coming, Elves visiting, baking cookies, new Christmas pajamas, Christmas movies, Christmas stories, Christmas music, Christmas decorations, Christmas presents, and more.
Christmas morning comes and they finally get that awesome toy they wanted so bad. Then they’re told they can’t open it and they must go visit grandma all day. Now that toy will sit in your house all day long. Super disappointing.
This is the reason to let your child bring one new toy, within reason, so they can still enjoy it on Christmas Day.
This of course doesn't work if you are going somewhere that the toy could be damaged or stolen. You would have to assess your own situation to decide about this.
5. Pack Pajamas
When it is getting close to bedtime, it’s a great idea to change your small children into their pajamas. Bonus points if they’re Christmas pajamas… kidding! (maybe)
I always throw some pajamas in the diaper bag when I know we’re going to be out late, and Christmas is no different. This way if your children fall asleep in the car, you can just carry them to bed.
You could even go as far as packing their toothbrushes and toothpaste and having them use the bathroom before getting in the car. It’s a good idea to brush away all those cookies before bed.
6. Leave before the exhaustion hits
You know your own children and can tell when they’re getting tired. Some children get cranky and start throwing tantrums and others may get silly and goofy.
At this point, your children may become difficult to manage and you could struggle getting them to leave or to fall asleep. A good plan is to leave before they hit that overtired point. We call this, “The point of no return!”
“The point of no return” is when they are so tired, they’re not tired anymore. They start to cry and can’t settle, they start running around and can’t stop, or they seem to have insomnia. This level of exhaustion is not fun for anyone so it’s always a good idea to leave before this happens so you can try to stick to their bedtime routine.
If this does happen, my husband and I like to get them in their pajamas and drive around looking at Christmas lights to get them to settle down. They typically fall asleep in the car ride home after this.
7. Schedule multiple days
If you have a lot of family to visit with, schedule Christmas on different days. This year, we are celebrating Christmas 4 times. Three of the Christmas celebrations are not on Christmas Day.
As a family, we decided it is important to spend more time at each family’s house so we can still participate in all the family traditions. This is what started the multiple Christmas idea. It’s not about the day, but about spending time with your loved ones.
If that means you spend Dec 23rd at one grandparent’s house, Christmas Eve at another, Christmas Day at home, and Dec 26th at another, then that is what you must do.
The bonus to celebrating Christmas with many family members is after months of shopping and preparing, you can celebrate for more than one day.
Christmas is about more than Christmas gifts and Santa Claus; it’s about spending it with family and friends. This doesn’t mean stressing yourself out and stressing your little kids out during this Christmas season.
If you want to enjoy this festive season, make sure to take a step back to enjoy everything going on.
Take your time opening presents and give your children a chance to speak up if they need to go home.
You have the whole year to plan the big day with the rest of the family, so get your to-do list ready and start planning out Christmas time.
The holidays are what you make of it, so enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.
What are some things you do to survive Christmas Day with children?
Do you have any tips or tricks to add to our list?
Let us know in the comments below!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!