Five ways to make the most of your Christmas moments

Gingerbread

Christmas is here again and that is stressful. But it’s also amazing and amazing for many different people and for many different reasons. That’s always been the case for me and my family but even then, I always find myself looking back on the Christmas season and thinking, “I should have enjoyed that more.”

But I don’t do anything about it except shrug my shoulders and plan to make better usage of my time the next year. This year, two days before Christmas, I’m doing something about it. I’m making my own list and I’ll be checking it many times over the next few days to make sure that when I look back on this holiday season  don’t regret my time spent.

1. On Christmas Day, before moving from one activity to the next, extend the moment for 60 seconds

Everything gets rushed on Christmas Day. You open gifts too fast, you eat too fast, you take pictures of your kids and relatives too fast because you’re always waiting to get to the next moment. This year, don’t do that. Sure, you might be in a hurry to get to the next thing, but if you can’t spend an 60 seconds doing something with your family on Christmas Day then you’ve made a wee scheduling boo boo. That extra 60 seconds can bring absolutely anything. it could be a hug by siblings or it could be this…

Don’t miss those moments because you had to “get to the next stop so that we can get this over with.”

2. If your kids come to your room to wake you in the morning, don’t ask for five more minutes (assuming it’s after 5 a.m.)

Is the day going to be long? Yes, but that’s going to happen no matter what. There’s one day of the year where I hope the giddiness my kids harvest in their sleep spills over so significantly that they wake up at 4 in the morning, and Christmas Day is it. Not every child grows up being unable to sleep on Christmas Eve, but many of them do and I was one of them (and continue to be to this day). I remember how fun it was to wake up at 2 in the morning and to rifle through a Christmas stocking that Santa had left you. I remember creeping around the hallways waking up my brothers and then counting down the minutes until I felt it was acceptable to wake up my own parents.

I remember just how great it was when the three of us finally heard the words, “OK, let me go downstairs to see if Santa came and then you can come down too.” I don’t want to deprive my kids of that feeling. I don’t even want to delay it for a minute.

3. Don’t spend the day steeped in regret

Don’t worry if people liked your gifts, don’t worry that the gravy isn’t ready even though people are already at their seats with turkey on their plates, don’t worry that your kid knocked all the needles and the baby’s first Christmas decoration off your aunts Christmas tree. Of course, when things go wrong, it’s impossible to not instinctively worry, so as soon as that wrong things happens (it will) and as soon as the stress bubble starts rising in your throat in the likely form of a scream (it will), go give a kid a high five and ask them what they got for Christmas. They’ll go on and on and on and you’ll forget what happened in the first place.

And if your aunt insists on reminding you over and over again exactly what went wrong, send that kid over to her for a talk.

4. Play with something a child has opened with that child

This could also be renamed Find Your Inner Child. It’s easy to look at all the paper and plastic and untwisted twist-ties and think “this is going to take five 24-hour days to clean up,” and it will, but don’t make Christmas Day that Day. Many of the toys will be around for a long time and many of them will never get played with beyond this morning so make the most of them. Every day is a good day to play with your kids but there’s no energy like the energy of a kid on Christmas morning.

So put on a princess crown or a fireman hat and run around on a pretend horse. Do whatever that child asks you to do.

5. Set aside any toys you don’t need to donate to some who do

This doesn’t apply to everyone because there are many children who will play with the few toys they receive until they fall apart and then they’ll glue it together and play with it again, this time until it disintegrates. Kids that have lots of gifts will probably do this with a select few of theirs too but it’s highly unlikely they’ll do that with every toy. Don’t feel bad that you’re giving away something someone else got you. After about a week you’ll know whether or not that toy is being played with. Think of it not as a negative for giving away something someone gave your child but as a positive for making another child happy.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a Happy new Year!

 

Mike is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father of two. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughters says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with ensuring his daughters know they’re both one-of-a-kind.