Keeping calm before the storm

In just a few short days Christmas will reign in all it’s glory. Already December has been full of so many fun family activities and parties. My husband and I’ve have tried to keep things to a minimum so not to wear out our young children and to keep the fun…well fun. We’ve had a few battles, meltdowns and tears. The excitement can be overwhelming for little ones.

As we approach the big day (or as I like to say the big week, cause really it’s particularly busy from Christmas Eve right up until New Year’s Day), we’ve developed a few family rules to keep things from completely collapsing into chaos.

  • As much as possible we respect bedtimes. This one is hard because our children go to bed early, but we try to keep late nights to an absolute minimum and only for VERY special activities.
  • Weekdays are for normal family routines, not holiday extravaganza. The weekends are full enough, staying on track from Monday to Friday makes the weekend all the more special and helps our children recharge.
  • Once we are home from our Christmas Eve travels mommy and daddy have protected special quality time for us after the kids are in bed. Our tradition is to snuggle up together in front of a fire with yummy holiday drinks, gifts for each other and quiet chat. This is how WE recharge and get ready for the busy next day.
  • We stay HOME on Christmas Day. This day is meant for the kids and our family. All are welcome to visit, but we stay put. The kids are so excited and overwhelmed and they just want to play with their new toys. It’s easier and happier this way.
  • For now, New Year’s Eve is spent with family and friends with family. It means an early night, but seriously I’m happy to go to bed early too.

I’d love to hear your tricks for keeping calm and peace in your home over the holidays. As my boys grow older I’ll need to add to my arsenal.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy holiday. I hope all your wishes come true!

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16 thoughts on “Keeping calm before the storm

  1. A Crafty Mom says:

    This is fantastic!! We follow these tips too, in some regard, as much as we can. This is one of our very first years at home in Ottawa as a family for Christmas, so we are sort of creating our own traditions. Which is nice.We definitely try to respect bedtimes and on nights we do not have anything going on I try to get them all in bed early if possible. As a matter of fact, I just canceled a trip to Upper Canada Village tomorrow night b/c I don't think my kids can handle it (they are 5,4 and nearly 2). I don't want Christmas Eve – where I am hosting two families for dinner – to be a disaster b/c everyone is over tired and messed up. Our New Year's are quiet too – we often get together with other families and party until about . . . 9:00 pm and then all go to sleep. I know it won't always be like this so it works for now.I think one of our best tips is being flexible. Canceling things last minute if you need to, reading your kids and adjusting your schedule to them. People who care will understand. I am also really big on physical activity outside very single day. So even if it's only a few minutes, I haul them out in the freezing cold to get some exercise and run around like kids. Perhaps that is why they sleep so well :)Happy holidays to you and your family!!

  2. Christy says:

    Very very good tips. The holidays can be so overwhelming, we must respect the needs of our kids. We definitely respect bedtime (maybe not nap time). I love the quality time your hubby and you spend on Christmas Eve, I may need to adapt that into our tradition.Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the holidays surrounding it!

  3. A Crafty Mom says:

    This is fantastic!! We follow these tips too, in some regard, as much as we can. This is one of our very first years at home in Ottawa as a family for Christmas, so we are sort of creating our own traditions. Which is nice.We definitely try to respect bedtimes and on nights we do not have anything going on I try to get them all in bed early if possible. As a matter of fact, I just canceled a trip to Upper Canada Village tomorrow night b/c I don't think my kids can handle it (they are 5,4 and nearly 2). I don't want Christmas Eve – where I am hosting two families for dinner – to be a disaster b/c everyone is over tired and messed up. Our New Year's are quiet too – we often get together with other families and party until about . . . 9:00 pm and then all go to sleep. I know it won't always be like this so it works for now.I think one of our best tips is being flexible. Canceling things last minute if you need to, reading your kids and adjusting your schedule to them. People who care will understand. I am also really big on physical activity outside very single day. So even if it's only a few minutes, I haul them out in the freezing cold to get some exercise and run around like kids. Perhaps that is why they sleep so well :)Happy holidays to you and your family!!

  4. Christy says:

    Very very good tips. The holidays can be so overwhelming, we must respect the needs of our kids. We definitely respect bedtime (maybe not nap time). I love the quality time your hubby and you spend on Christmas Eve, I may need to adapt that into our tradition.Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the holidays surrounding it!

  5. A Crafty Mom says:

    This is fantastic!! We follow these tips too, in some regard, as much as we can. This is one of our very first years at home in Ottawa as a family for Christmas, so we are sort of creating our own traditions. Which is nice.We definitely try to respect bedtimes and on nights we do not have anything going on I try to get them all in bed early if possible. As a matter of fact, I just canceled a trip to Upper Canada Village tomorrow night b/c I don't think my kids can handle it (they are 5,4 and nearly 2). I don't want Christmas Eve – where I am hosting two families for dinner – to be a disaster b/c everyone is over tired and messed up. Our New Year's are quiet too – we often get together with other families and party until about . . . 9:00 pm and then all go to sleep. I know it won't always be like this so it works for now.I think one of our best tips is being flexible. Canceling things last minute if you need to, reading your kids and adjusting your schedule to them. People who care will understand. I am also really big on physical activity outside very single day. So even if it's only a few minutes, I haul them out in the freezing cold to get some exercise and run around like kids. Perhaps that is why they sleep so well :)Happy holidays to you and your family!!

  6. Christy says:

    Very very good tips. The holidays can be so overwhelming, we must respect the needs of our kids. We definitely respect bedtime (maybe not nap time). I love the quality time your hubby and you spend on Christmas Eve, I may need to adapt that into our tradition.Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the holidays surrounding it!

  7. A Crafty Mom says:

    This is fantastic!! We follow these tips too, in some regard, as much as we can. This is one of our very first years at home in Ottawa as a family for Christmas, so we are sort of creating our own traditions. Which is nice.We definitely try to respect bedtimes and on nights we do not have anything going on I try to get them all in bed early if possible. As a matter of fact, I just canceled a trip to Upper Canada Village tomorrow night b/c I don't think my kids can handle it (they are 5,4 and nearly 2). I don't want Christmas Eve – where I am hosting two families for dinner – to be a disaster b/c everyone is over tired and messed up. Our New Year's are quiet too – we often get together with other families and party until about . . . 9:00 pm and then all go to sleep. I know it won't always be like this so it works for now.I think one of our best tips is being flexible. Canceling things last minute if you need to, reading your kids and adjusting your schedule to them. People who care will understand. I am also really big on physical activity outside very single day. So even if it's only a few minutes, I haul them out in the freezing cold to get some exercise and run around like kids. Perhaps that is why they sleep so well :)Happy holidays to you and your family!!

  8. Christy says:

    Very very good tips. The holidays can be so overwhelming, we must respect the needs of our kids. We definitely respect bedtime (maybe not nap time). I love the quality time your hubby and you spend on Christmas Eve, I may need to adapt that into our tradition.Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the holidays surrounding it!

  9. Shan says:

    We have three sets of grandparents to visit with so set aside one day for each of them. That way we aren't racing from one place to another. We try not to over schedule ourselves. We have regular jammie days – days when we stay in our jammies (if they want) and just chill out for the day to recharge. I try to stick to bedtimes, but I'm not hardcore about it. My husband and I haven't gone out for New Years in a decade or so. This year we're hanging with friends and their kids at their place just down the street. We just try to keep the focus on what's best for the 4 of us.

  10. Shan says:

    We have three sets of grandparents to visit with so set aside one day for each of them. That way we aren't racing from one place to another. We try not to over schedule ourselves. We have regular jammie days – days when we stay in our jammies (if they want) and just chill out for the day to recharge. I try to stick to bedtimes, but I'm not hardcore about it. My husband and I haven't gone out for New Years in a decade or so. This year we're hanging with friends and their kids at their place just down the street. We just try to keep the focus on what's best for the 4 of us.

  11. Shan says:

    We have three sets of grandparents to visit with so set aside one day for each of them. That way we aren't racing from one place to another. We try not to over schedule ourselves. We have regular jammie days – days when we stay in our jammies (if they want) and just chill out for the day to recharge. I try to stick to bedtimes, but I'm not hardcore about it. My husband and I haven't gone out for New Years in a decade or so. This year we're hanging with friends and their kids at their place just down the street. We just try to keep the focus on what's best for the 4 of us.

  12. Shan says:

    We have three sets of grandparents to visit with so set aside one day for each of them. That way we aren't racing from one place to another. We try not to over schedule ourselves. We have regular jammie days – days when we stay in our jammies (if they want) and just chill out for the day to recharge. I try to stick to bedtimes, but I'm not hardcore about it. My husband and I haven't gone out for New Years in a decade or so. This year we're hanging with friends and their kids at their place just down the street. We just try to keep the focus on what's best for the 4 of us.

  13. Dionna says:

    We need to institute a "we're staying home on Christmas" rule. We are traveling to my parents house and I am already dreading it. (sigh)One way we stay sane is to be very minimalist with gifts. I handmade every present for friends/family, bought a handful of things for our son throughout the year, and my hubby and I aren't doing presents for each other – we'll do something bigger together (a new bed!!). It's very nice not to worry about money this time of year.

  14. Dionna says:

    We need to institute a "we're staying home on Christmas" rule. We are traveling to my parents house and I am already dreading it. (sigh)One way we stay sane is to be very minimalist with gifts. I handmade every present for friends/family, bought a handful of things for our son throughout the year, and my hubby and I aren't doing presents for each other – we'll do something bigger together (a new bed!!). It's very nice not to worry about money this time of year.

  15. Dionna says:

    We need to institute a "we're staying home on Christmas" rule. We are traveling to my parents house and I am already dreading it. (sigh)One way we stay sane is to be very minimalist with gifts. I handmade every present for friends/family, bought a handful of things for our son throughout the year, and my hubby and I aren't doing presents for each other – we'll do something bigger together (a new bed!!). It's very nice not to worry about money this time of year.

  16. Dionna says:

    We need to institute a "we're staying home on Christmas" rule. We are traveling to my parents house and I am already dreading it. (sigh)One way we stay sane is to be very minimalist with gifts. I handmade every present for friends/family, bought a handful of things for our son throughout the year, and my hubby and I aren't doing presents for each other – we'll do something bigger together (a new bed!!). It's very nice not to worry about money this time of year.

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