From trimming the tree to thinking of holiday decorating ideas to finding thoughtful gifts for every friend and family member in your life, being a parent around the holidays can be a stressful occasion. Often, parents wish they could clone themselves in an effort to accomplish the insurmountable tasks that must be tackled during the November through December timeframe. Although many parents feel overwhelmed during the holidays, attempting to make the season as magical for their children as possible, they often forget that holiday preparation can be as much fun as the day itself.
Instead of trying to do it all alone, turn to the kids for holiday decorating help. Children love to be involved in holiday preparation and decorating. Assigning a few simple and fun decorating tasks to your offspring will not only help you, but will keep their minds and hands occupied instead of going on a present hunt through the house. No matter which holiday you celebrate, your child can contribute a few homemade items that will help the season shine.
1. Hanging Paper or Popcorn Chain
What's more festive than a brightly colored construction paper or popcorn chain hanging from the mantle or around the tree? Even pre-school aged children can help with this simple and educational activity.
To make the paper chain, gather as many pieces of colored construction paper as possible and cut into ½ inch long strips. Fashion the first chain by making one strip of paper into a loop. Secure the ends using a non-toxic glue stick. Loop another strip of construction paper through the first chain and secure with glue. Continue the process until your chain is at the desired length.
Creating a popcorn chain is fun, especially for older kids. Get started by popping approximately 12 cups of popcorn. Using a needle and thread, pierce one piece of popcorn and slide it across the thread. Add more pieces of popcorn until you have a full chain.
2. Ornament Creation
Whether designing ornaments for the Hanukkah bush or the Christmas tree, kids of all ages can create gorgeous, homemade ornaments that can be used for years to come. Kid-friendly ornament creations include making ornaments using Shrinky Dinks kits, Christmas package ornaments or even creating holiday characters from pipe cleaners to hang on the tree.
You can also designate that certain ornaments are hung by specific children in the family. Let each child select a few ornaments they love or were given to them as gifts and let them decide where they go on the tree.
3. Designing the Holiday Table
Ask the kids to design a table scape that best personifies the holidays in your home. Let them draw to create a layout on paper and show you before you set the table. Ask for suggestions on decorating materials and have the kids find the items needed for decorating. If the item is something you don't have in-house, ask older kids to conduct Internet research on where you can find the material.
4. Hanging Lights
If your kids love puzzles, then put them to work on untangling last year's lights. Sometimes half the battle is getting older lights back into one long strand. Involve the kids in the interior and exterior lighting scheme by asking for suggestions on where to hang the lights in addition to asking for helping hanging them.
Never ask your child to climb a ladder or handle the electrical part of illumination; instead suggest that the kids hold the lighting strand while you hang them.
Remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time to have fun with your family and that part of making the holidays special are the extra touches provided by your children.
Gina Ragusa is a freelance writer and mom from sunny (and sometimes not) South Florida. Her 15 year experience ranges from writing about banking to tattoo parlors. Read more about her adventures at http://blog.wahm.com/