Let’s face it: We’re all swamped. There are things we must do that constantly war with things that we wish we could do. This is especially true at holiday time. “Just for once,” we all sigh, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could give my family a holiday to remember, without dragging us down into debt or grinding myself to the bone?”
You can. Not all of the following will work for every working mother, but scroll through, adapt the suggestions to your own situtaion, and you might find a few tricks you can use to make the holidays less stressful!
Make your own tape of holiday music. All you need is a tape recorder and a CD of simple holiday tunes. Play the CD softly in the background and have the children record their voices on tape as they sing along with the music. They can add instruments, sing together or alone, try to harmonize, sing in a funny voice, even bang on pots -- you're not looking for Mozart-like prodigies here, you just want the kids to have fun! Let them record as many songs as the tape will hold, or until they get tired of the game. There are only two rules: no squabbling and no critiquing each other’s musical skills. (“You sound awful, dum-dum”). If they ask you to join them for one song, don’t be shy, belt out “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and just have fun. At the next holiday gathering, swear the children to secrecy and turn the tape on... at least one guest will delight the children by recognizing that the holiday music is extra special this year.
Put aside a few days during the holiday season, and spend some special one-on-one time with each of your children. If you're okay with your child missing half a day of school, let them -- it's part of the fun -- and, if not, plan for some babysitting help so you can really focus on one child at a time. For the special day (or half day, depending on what time you have available), your child gets to do whatever he or she likes, and you go along with it. The only rule is that the child is not allowed to ask you to buy him or her anything. But, if he wants to eat French toast for lunch, so be it. If she wants you to watch "Sleeping Beauty," sit down next to her and enjoy it together. It might not be the activity you’d choose to spend so much time on, but your child will be delighted that you’re his sole playmate and he has you all to himself. Dads can get in on the fun by switching off with Mom, with one parent making the morning special and the other doing the afternoon. Finish the day by having dinner a a family at the child's favorite spot.