I'll admit it - it was a lot easier preparing my heart to be alone on Christmas than it was to actually be alone on Christmas.
Okay - I wasn't technically alone: I had my kids with me. But a 14-month old and an almost 3 year old do not really understand Christmas.
On Sunday Z was told he'd have Christmas day off, but the next day he found out that he had to work after all. So Monday was a little depressing for the both of us.
But after the initial depression wore off, I decided I needed to be proactive and come up with a plan of distraction. Ever been there?
And what better place to turn to than Facebook for fresh ideas.
*Disclaimer* We didn't do all of these 10 things, although I had fully planned to do most of them. In the end, the boys played so well, I just decided to let them play (why interrupt a good thing, right).
1. Stagger the gifts / Play hide the gift
As soon as we saw that the kids were on gift overload, we stopped opening gifts and saved the rest for later - along with the stockings.
The idea of Hide the Gift was shared with my by a long-time friend. I did this with Robi, Andrej was too little. I took little slips of paper and wrote "clues" on them and hid them all around the house while he was sleeping. Of course, I had to read them.
He thought it was great fun. We'll do this again next year!
2. Make Christmas pancakes for lunch
Since its just the kids and I, I didn't bother with a big spread. Another friend gave me this idea - borrowing from the Christmas sandwich one I did earlier this month.
3. Play with snow
Earlier this month I took cotton balls and threw them all over the living room and let them have at it. Another idea is to give them a bucket and spoons and let them try to scoop as many into the bucket as they can.
4. Favorite Christmas Movies
I usually start this on Christmas Eve. I pull out all of our Christmas movies (and non-Christmas Christmas ones like Sound of Music and Mary Poppins) and do a Christmas movie marathon.
5. Play Wrap Up Gifts
This was another fun idea shared by a long-time friend. Give the kids gift bags and tissue paper and let them "wrap gifts".
6. Sing and Record Christmas Songs
Make or give your kids an instrument and sing our favorite Christmas carols with them. Turn on the camera and record yourselves. Then play them back. Kids absolutely love to watch themselves on TV (or the computer - whatever). (Here is an idea shared by a good friend: Milk Jug Shakers - put plastic spoons in a milk jug and let them have at it!)
7. Frozen Bubbles
Blow bubbles outside and watch them freeze on the grass. I wish I could have done this one with my kids - but alas the temperatures are in the 50's and our yard is in the midst of construction. But it was such a fun one shared by a good friend of mine that I had to share.
8. Switch out toys
We have very limited space in our living room. There is one box of toys in here and the rest are in their room. So, I took the old toys to their room and left their new toys in the living room. After all the mess in the living room was picked up the boys played so well that I didn't even want to get them ready for bed.
9. Go for a walk
Take a nice long walk with your kids and while you're out, share some of your baked goodies with a neighbor or two. If its snowing out, make a snowman or have a snowball fight. Just enjoy the fresh outdoors!
After all that fun and stimulation, kids need to wind down. The best wind-down activity is a nice long bath. Kids love water play - so fill the tub with warm water and a bunch of bathtub toys and let them have fun. After the bath, a nice rub down with bedtime lotion will ensure that they fall asleep in record time.
A Moment for Mommy
After they go to bed - grab a cup of hot apple cider and a good book or a Hallmark Christmas movie and relax. Or do something you've wanted to do for a long time but have never had time for. (and that does not mean vacuum, dust, or straighten the house. Today is Christmas - leave the cleaning for tomorrow!)
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