Twinkling lights, peppermint candy, hot cocoa, caroling. . . does life get any better than all of that? You can feel the joy as the most wonderful time of the year is upon us, with all of its sparkle and mistletoe magic.
But then comes Christmas Break. For many parents, this break is anything but magical. Instead of twinkling lights we have sibling fights. Instead of peppermint candy we rely on peppermint schnapps. And instead of hot cocoa and caroling we have hot tempers and whining. Is it because we don’t know how to navigate so much togetherness? Is it because some of us still have to go to work, even though the kids are off school? Or is it (also) because we are so happy to have made it through the holiday we have nothing left?
With Christmas break coming up, I’m looking at two straight weeks at home with my little sweeties. I’m looking at a lot of together time and a lot of time we can waste away. I know this is a luxury, but it’s also making me anxious. Of course we will survive, but I want it to be more than that. Do I have it in me to keep the magic of Christmas alive even after the big day has passed? Can I muster up the energy to do more with my children than lay on the couch watching Hallmark movies for 16 straight days? Can I do more than just make through to January and a new start?
Yes. I can make a new start now. Instead of waiting until January to make my resolutions to make life better, if I make them now, for the upcoming break, maybe I can keep the spirit of Christmas alive a little longer than usual for my family.
This Christmas Break, I, Katie Vondera, resolve to:
- Enjoy the quiet, unhurried mornings. I’m OK with sleeping late sometimes, and most days sipping my coffee while reading, snuggling with my girls, watching a show, or catching up with a friend. We could get breakfast at The Barn or Spencer’s Grill, or grab a coffee at Kaldi’s and not have to rush through it to get to the next activity.
- Make and complete a Christmas Bucket List. Sometimes back to school sneaks up on us and we panic, wondering where the time went. We scramble to try to fit ice skating, a movie, a sleepover, and cleaning the whole house all into the past two days. Do I need to tell you how that turns out? Here’s what we have to look forward to so far: outdoor ice skating at Steinberg or at Kiener Plaza; light looking at Our Lady of the Snows and Candy Cane Lane, red and green pancake breakfast at home. Just a few items are really enough for us.
- Coordinate friend time, for them and for me. We need to interact with people other than ourselves or I’m sure my kids will start singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” about me. I don’t always plan ahead for this, so by the time we think of it everyone else is busy. That means I’m sending texts now. Who wants to come over? Who wants to have my kids over? An hour? Absolutely. Overnight? Sure!
- Play with my kids and enjoy some of the “messes.” I’m not an on the floor all in for the pretend play kind of mom, but I know my kids love it when I do, so I will give them that joy when I can. And then for a couple days we can leave up the fort we built and enjoy it. I might also join in the fun at Amp Up or Sports Fusion and beat my kids at mini golf or laser tag!
- Stay off my phone, and keep them off theirs. The magic really happens when we are present both physically and mentally. Not looking at my phone is a struggle because there is always “so much to do” or because “I just need a break.” But for this break, I will set limits about when and how we use our phones, otherwise we are likely to ignore each other a lot as we sit in the same room and zone out.
I’m crossing my candy canes that this intentionality will help us navigate the break a little better this year. What ideas do you have for us to make this the jolliest 16, er, 12 days of Christmas yet?