Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas, A Family Affair

Is there anytime of the year that is as busy as this one?

I don't think so!

Is there anytime of the year more important than this one?

Definitely not!

So how do we, as moms, make the most out of Christmas?

It takes work! But we have proven that when life gets insane (but it is for our family) we can sacrifice a lot to get it done!

  • How can you adjust your purchases to not create a budget crisis?

We now buy one gift per child (13 and older) and stuff their stockings full! We have a family Secret Santa drawing from Dad - Toddler (our 3rd year and seems to be a family favorite). We all draw names and buy one gift for a family member...a lot of it still falls on mom still since Toddler isn't allowed to go purchase a gift for the sibling he drew. But in the years to come we have turned Christmas giving for a large family into a realistic way instead of creating stress, hassle and burden in the coming years. We reveal the Secret Santa on Christmas day.

It is so fun to watch the kids give gifts! They love giving to one another and often buy for each other and us better than Barry and I. The little ones still get several gifts but for the older ones there would be no way for us to afford the gifts they desire. I love observing the older ones watching the little ones open their gifts. You can see the joy on their faces as their younger sibling discovers what he just got! I think we all can go back in time and recall that stage of life remembering the JOY and anticispation of those gifts. The older kids realize it is more about what you experience than what you get! And they enjoy remembering their experiences and watching their younger siblings experience it for the first time!

Its such a fun thing to experience with your teens! To enjoy watching the younger children feel Christmas to its fullest! And then to share what we all remember about the gifts we all got when we were young.
  • How can you juggle your schedule to free you up to play with your middle kids, sit with your teens, and snuggle with the little ones?
We make a concentrated effort to focus on the kids and the family. Vacations have been few and far between so Thanksgiving and Christmas become our vacations. We dump as much off our schedules as possible and try to eat together more as a family. The teens help with clean up so we can play some with the younger ones. We do family movies, family games, and make sure we are focused on enjoying our teens. If you aren't careful your teens will sneak off and the next thing you know they have spent all their time with their friends and you got NOTHING. Whether they know it or not, they need that time with you! Create it!

  • How can you make Christmas a family affair verses mom and dad running around like crazy people?
Involve the kids! We have discovered that if I divide up meals and work with the kids it becomes a wonderful time as we work together in the kitchen. I may be in there most the time but to have different kids in and out setting the table, fixing 1 side and another child fixing the other, a different one preparing the have gotten some quality time and a meal served! Everyone participates one way or another. Sometimes the kids complain but they are learning that it is enjoyable most the time. To get to chat with mom or dad for 15-20 minutes and then go about your business. I don't know how they feel but they all seem to enjoy playing a part and I know I LOVE getting a moment with this child, and another with that one.

The kids will even help us figure out how to sleep everyone. We never know from year to year whether we will have 12 - 30 people staying here. Yes, I did say 30! That takes a little planning! We all enjoy thinking together how to make our time enjoyable. When I get the kids involved into thinking with me I find they think of things I didn't consider and vice versa! It's teamwork at its best!

The older kids have learned we will focus on the little ones at the beginning of the evening whether that be us or them playing with them. Then we get them settled the house clean and it becomes a teen/adult heaven! We can watch movies, play games, or have an uninterrupted conversation! Again, teamwork at its best!

So how does your family juggle the holidays and celebrate Christmas?

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