Include Your Child in Holiday Preparations
Jennifer James of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has a beautifully illustrated holiday cookbook. She sits down with her girls, Annlyel, six, and Aila, three, and they pick out what they want to eat for Christmas dinner—chosen solely on how good the food looks in the photos. "I do this early so the girls can look forward to it as Christmas nears," Jennifer says. She also bought Christmas decorated recipe cards so that her older daughter could copy the recipes out of the cookbook. "She loves to remind me, often, what we are having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Christmas by reading from the cards," laughs Jennifer.
Build Holiday Fun into Your Normal Routine
Many parents spend at least some time reading to their children every day. Holiday time is a wonderful occasion for adding a little flair to this tradition that will bring even greater meaning to the time you already share together. Lisa Kaeser of Garrett Park, Maryland, has a special shelf on her bookcase reserved just for holiday books. "I don't get them out until a few weeks before the holidays, and the kids love it every year," Lisa explains. Some of the books were given to her by her own mom, which makes them even more special to Lisa and her children.
Ask Your Family What's Important to Them
One of the mistakes people frequently make is assuming that the way they spend their time is appreciated by others. One woman I know used to think that her family appreciated the way she wrapped gifts. She would spend hours wrapping presents so that the patterns matched up perfectly at the seams and she'd adorn them with beautiful handmade bows. After one particularly stressful holiday, she asked her family about the gift wrapping. She found out that not only did they not care how their gifts were wrapped, but they actually resented the time she spent doing it.