As promised, here is my list of holiday ‘presence’ ideas for kids!
1. Spend quiet time with your munchkin each morning and or evening reading about Christmas and what it means.
2. With your toddler, create a list of friends and family that you would like to give to this year.
I.e. : "The Giving List".
3. If your little one is anything like mine, food is top priority- always. Enjoy making holiday goodies with them by co-decorating the treats and make a point of hand delivering them to people on you child’s Giving List.
4. Have your kid go through their toys and pick out ones that they would like to donate. We did this and it was an all-day activity that ended up being a ton of fun! We dressed up as Santa and filled several boxes, talking about how special it will make other kids feel to have these toys.
5. Volunteer. This one can be tricky, obviously, depending on age. We’re going to try out volunteering with animal shelters this year.
6. If you’re a Crafty McCrafterson, try making things that your child can give away. Ex) popcorn necklaces, homemade cards, paintings… whatever your little artist can concoct.
7. Put on a Christmas concert (i.e. sing and dance to a festive song) for their stuffed animals. If you’re a Momager then go ahead and invite a real audience.
8. Gift your kid an experience, like an activity at your local rec center, or a membership to the zoo.
The holidays are what you make it. This year I’m going to sleigh it, being as present as I can for my littles.
And now, a short story recapping our hellish experience from last year:
After weeks of anticipation, our little man woke up to the smells of sweet monkey bread fresh out the oven and the sound of soft holiday music. It was a day that he planned extensively for and went to great lengths finding the perfect gift for everyone on his list. He knew that nothing would bring him greater joy than seeing the expressions of his loved ones when they unwrapped the presents that he ever so delicately taped. It was finally here, Christmas morning.
Ok, ok, so those were my sentiments on Christmas morning- you caught me.
Let me try that again, from Hudson’s perspective now:
I opened my eyes to the sight of a bright light shining from my dad’s phone, and a lot of ruckus coming from downstairs. Jeez, isn’t it a little early to be video taping things? Then I got plucked out of bed and was told that Santa came. WAIT, WHAT!? That big guy from the mall was in our house? Is he still here? Can he sit beside me for breakfast?! My dad carried me down the hallway and - HOLY FLYING FIG NEWTONS WHERE DID THE FLOOR GO!? LOOK AT ALL THE PRESENTS!!!! AHHHHHHHH TAKE ME TO THEM NOW. I NEED TO TOUCH EVERY SINGLE THING.
Get where I’m going with this? His inner voice was shouting at him for the entire day. He got SO overwhelmed with the amount of presents and grandiosity that he had on and off meltdowns all day. It was a real roller coaster for all of us. I became so stressed out that he was going to have a stroke from the sheer level of excitement he was in.
Long story short- we will not be having a repeat of last year. We are going to keep it simple and focus on being more present, rather than opening the presents.