5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With Young Kids

Overview: Got cranky kids? Concerned about your Christmas gathering? It IS possible to enjoy the holidays with young kids! Here’s my advice.

We all dream of having a perfect Christmas celebration. We thrill in a layer of freshly fallen snow. We put an extra log in the fireplace. We play our favorite seasonal music to set the mood. We plan out every detail of the day for maximum enjoyment.

In the midst of our merriment, however, lurks something that can put a damper on any Christmas gathering and that is our children. Ironically, kids can make or break our Christmas!

Hearing their giggles and seeing their eyes light up when they open gifts makes our hearts swell with love. Hearing their screams and seeing their temper tantrums fills our hearts with frustration.

Even though most of our Christmas preparations are for our kids, let’s face it, kids can hijack our holidays.

So, what’s a parent to do? Are we totally at the mercy of our kiddos?

Here are 5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With Young Kids:

1 – Spread Out Celebrations (if possible)

When our boys were little, we had one family celebration on Christmas Eve and four on Christmas Day (including our own.) These celebrations were also held in three different cities.

Each event featured presents and food and individually they were all wonderful. But putting them together in such a compressed span of time was a bit of a nightmare. Our boys were cranky, my husband and I were exhausted, and it was extremely stressful for all of us.

Fortunately, after a few years of this crazy schedule, we talked with our families about the situation and some of them were willing to move their celebrations off of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

That helped tremendously to allow us all to enjoy the holiday season more fully.

We even moved our own celebration off of Christmas Day in order to have a completely stress-free day when we do celebrate. Christmas doesn’t have to be celebrated on December 25th! 

This requires us giving up our “right” to celebrate on Christmas morning with our kiddos, but I felt it was definitely worth making this change. I love being able to stay in my pajamas and relax all day long on our special day. Your kids will love it, too!

2 – Plan Plenty of Breaks

Be sure to build in time for naps. It isn’t fair to our young kids to expect perfect behavior from them when they’re sleep deprived. Play breaks and “off” time are also important to work into your day.

Be sure you aren’t trying to cram too much into your day!

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays with Young Kids

3 – Bring Kid-friendly Food

Sometimes Christmas celebrations are filled with decadent gourmet foods that adults LOVE. But your kids may have a hard time finding anything they want to eat.

Don’t be afraid to bring along some food for your kids. When children have food that they recognize and full bellies, they are more likely to have good attitudes.

→ Related Content: 8 Ways to Add Christmas Cheer Without Breaking the Bank

4 – Remain Calm

When our kids have bad attitudes, we can find ourselves getting swept up in the storm. And it’s easy for our kids to become over-stimulated during all the Christmas hullabaloo.

Try to keep your cool so that you can think clearly and come up with solutions to any issues that might arise. Give your kids grace!

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5 – Have Realistic Expectations

When we have young children, we need to remember their limits and plan accordingly. Christmas can be a wonderful time of year, but it won’t be perfect. It’s important for us to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Don’t expect behavior from your kids that isn’t age appropriate. Try to make the best of whatever comes your way! And keep your priorities in mind.

You can’t do it all! Try to pick and choose what activities you will take part in this year. Sometimes, being selective can make all the difference.

This year, rather than mourn the perfect Christmas that we’ve been dreaming of,outside, let’s set our kids up to have the most wonderful time ever.

It might not look like perfection on the outside but it will be filled with happiness, understanding, and love. And what could be better than that?

I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with all of God’s richest blessings!

Question: How do you accommodate your younger kids over the holidays? Do you have any other tips you can share? Please leave a comment below.

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With Young Kids”

  1. Having family who invest in each other the rest of the year makes holidays that much more enjoyable! I am blessed to have in-laws who are close and have provided a wonderful example of being involved and keeping in touch without overstepping any kind of boundary. Making an occasional phone call or email “just to say hello”, whether you are near or far, builds and cements relationship. Those people you want so badly to be a part of good memories on that special day will be more likely to engage with you (& your kiddos) if you’ve made even a little effort to reach out to them. Friendly people have friends… Proverbs 18:24. Enjoy! And remember how God reaches out to us. Even while we were still sinners, Christ DIED for us. Every day His mercies are new! Lamentations 3:23 We honor our Savior when we are kind, friendly even, to someone we might not otherwise ‘click’ with. Who knows… You might find a good friendship where you weren’t expecting it

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