by Susan Dunn
Christmas Coloring Pictures
last minute tips for increasing your enjoyment and decreasing your stress at
1. Try opening the gifts a new way.
Open the gifts one by one as everyone watches and enjoys. This gives you a
chance to slow it down, appreciate it more, and teach about giving and
receiving. You can talk about the gift-giver and memories.
2. Have a special time for you and your
spouse/partner to exchange gifts.
Amidst all the rush, take time to bond with your spouse or partner. You're a
couple and this is an important part of your life. This is important for
now, and important for later. When the kids have left home, you’ll have a
lasting tradition to enjoy together. Have your special celebration and
gift-exchanging Christmas Eve after the children are in bed, or save them
for late Christmas Day when the kids are out playing, off with friends, or
in bed for a nap. Or get a sitter and go out for dinner Christmas night and
exchange your gifts then.
3. Can't get the kids to bed Christmas Eve? Try
Bundle them up and go out for a walk to enjoy the neighborhood Christmas
lights. Enjoyable, peaceful and good for winding down. Also a chance to
talk. And take the dog along!
4. Try something different, easier and more fun for
the holiday meal.
A buffet is a great idea. Gives everyone a chance to visit, get up and move
around. Little kids -- and some adults -- get tired of all that sitting. You
may find you eat less, as well.
5. Have a Treasure Hunt!
This works especially well for teenagers who often want money for gifts, but
just as well for smaller children. Make one special gift the object of a
treasure hunt. Make short rhyming clues going from place to place in your
home. Have the final gift somewhere safe and hidden, like in the microwave
or bottom oven. SAMPLE CLUE: For this clue, look high and low. It's nestled
beside the shoveler of snow. (Beside the snow shovel.) Yes, they're corny,
but that's 90% of the fun!
6. How to present money as a gift?
Lots of people ask for, and give, money for presents. How can you present
it? (1) Put it in a festive or colored envelope and clothespin it to the
Christmas tree. (2) Gift wrap a series of boxes going from small to large -
ending with as big a box as you can -- available at moving companies,
storage places, or parcel post stores. (3) Make it the final gift of a
treasure hunt (4) Stick it in the pocket of an item of clothing you give
them (5) Make a collage of things they'll likely use the money for. (6) Lead
them astray by wrapping it in a box from a toy, watch, microwave, computer,
etc. (7) Stuff it inside a Santa or snowman piñata and let them take a whack
7. Make your Christmas Eve dinner manageable and
(1) Bake pizza from scratch together as a family - grate the cheese, cut up
the tomatoes and onions, knead the dough, etc. (2) Eat at card tables in
front of the fireplace. Wrap sandwiches and deviled eggs in foil with ribbon
and place inside special inexpensive Christmas stockings. Serve a light soup
in Santa mugs. (3) Order in Chinese - most Chinese restaurants are open
Christmas Eve. Have some festive paper goods to eat it on. (4) Have a
make-your-own pancake supper. Set out special ingredients for the kids to
add to their pancakes - Christmas colored sprinkles, cranberries, chocolate
chips, nuts. Serve with cranberry syrup!
8. Make gratitude a part of the ceremony.
Give each child old enough to write, a pad and pencil and make sure after
they open each gift, they write down what it was and whom it was from. They
can use this the next day to write their thank you notes.
9. What to do about the after-Christmas letdown?
Most people experience a let-down after Christmas. Try one of these
pick-ups: (1) Have a "Look What I Got for Christmas" Party for friends and
neighbors; kids too. They can wear that new sweater or watch! (2) Have a
scrapbook evening where you assemble the photos from the big day. (3) Have a
New Year's Resolution party. Lay out supplies for everyone to make a poster
of their New Year's Resolutions. Provide markers, glitter, glue, yarn,
magazines, computer printout graphics and such for pictures.
10. Going over the river and through the woods to
Surveys say kids tire after 30 minutes in the car (train, plane or boat!)
Bring along some gifts they can open in the car and use -- books, tapes,
headset, new tape or DC, a new toy. They also never seem to tire of the “I
see an A in Alamo” game. If you’re in town or on the highway, use the words
on billboards and store signs; out in the country, real objects such as M is
for Mailbox or T is for Tree.