Do you have young children? Over the years I’ve learned that it is hard to prep for Christmas Stress with kids! The struggle to find ways they can give and projects they can be part of without going crazy is real. Today I am going to share my secrets not just to get the kids to help with Christmas prep, but to get kids to love helping at Christmas time.
Ps. At the end of the post is a link to get a FREE Printable with Mini Christmas Cards Kids Can Color and share.
Why Is It Hard to Prep for Christmas Stress With Kids?
Can we all be super honest and admit that Christmas is wonderful but stressful and busy? Add small kids to that combination and it’s tough to keep your head on straight.
There are so many things to do on Christmas with kids, but how do you pick and choose what’s best for your family?
The kids get so frustrated when the projects are too big or the gifts are too expensive that they storm off and refuse to help. After years of trial and error, I learned it is possible to involve them and all still have lots of Christmas fun, but it requires planning and prepping everything to make it smooth for them!
What Are Some Fun Christmas Traditions?
Maybe you have some tried and true family Christmas traditions that you loved as a child. Have you tried to fit them into your own budding family?
Earlier in our marriage, Bud and I worked hard to settle on Christmas traditions that fit our family.
- Christmas Eve service
- An Advent devotional each night
- A big breakfast on Christmas morning
- Time with my family and his
- Pumpkin pie & ham
- A few Christmas movies
- No debt
Those were our non-negotiables for Christmas. To make the tradition of no debt for Christmas work we make homemade gifts. When we started having kids that got harder and harder.
Giving Homemade Gifts
Giving homemade gifts gives us permission to say no to overspending, and to say yes to quality time together in December.
We use that time to pray over our loved ones and share the Christmas story with our kids. They feel freer to ask questions because we aren’t sitting face to face interrogation style. Talking while their hands are busy helps them process and really go deeper!
On the road to discovering our love of homemade gifts we tried and failed at many other Christmas traditions. They may work with older kids, tweens, or teens, but they were too involved for my littles. When we tried them, the kids would storm off, melt into a puddle of tears, and refuse to help the next day… It was a disaster finding gift ideas for anyone that kids could make too.
5 Secrets to Prep For Christmas with Kids
We wanted everyone to enjoy Christmas prep and bigger projects just weren’t working. After years of trial and error, I’ve found these 5 secrets to prep for Christmas with kids and have a blast together!
Let Go Of Unrealistic Expectations
The question is what do you do with your kids at Christmas when you have loads of things to do? Find ways to involve them by planning age-appropriate Christmas activities for kids!
What do I mean by age-appropriate Christmas activities?
When mine were toddling around I really wanted to continue the bigger projects I used to do, but they were just too hard to do with kids around let alone to include kids. In some seasons of parenting, we have to let go of unrealistic expectations.
You kids will not be this young forever. When they are older or grown you can do more. There are so many things to do at Christmas with kids. So many that you can be picky!
If you want to keep your sanity, set aside your dream of an elaborate gingerbread house or the tour of Santa’s Village that’s at the top of a cold windy hill at 20 degrees. Just set it aside until they are a little older and will enjoy it. it’s not for forever – just for this season of motherhood.Get your 15 Free Printable Christmas Cards Kids Can Color at the end of this post! I use these every year to help prep Christmas with kids all around and bless those we love in the process. Click To Tweet
Plan Age Appropriates Projects
Keep in mind the age of your kids and their maturity level and attention span when planning projects.
My kids are aged 5 – 9 at the moment. These are the 10 Homemade Gifts that everyone has loved and all of my kids could help create!
There are projects my 9-year-old can be part of that my 5-year-old can’t. We love Christmas crafts for kids and pick up packs to have on hand all of December just for fun breaks!
Involve the Kids In The Planning
Something that helps keep the kids excited to be part of Christmas prep is letting them help plan things. Alright, now I don’t mean let the dream something up or even google some huge project. Kids have the incredible ability to dream big and imagine extravagant things (we could learn from them).
- Mom, you search the internet to find two or three projects or crafts that you know are age-appropriate or have parts that everyone can manage.
- Then you pull up those projects and let your kids choose the one they would love to do.
- They will feel like they picked it even though you really picked it.
Prepping Christmas with kids is lots of fun when you let them be part of the process. They will feel empowered, important, and confident!
Break The Project Into Smaller Tasks
I’ve been sharing that we make our gifts together for years and one question I get over and over again is:
How can I enjoy Christmas with my family?
These are my 5 rules for making sure every single person in our family enjoys the project!
- Separate the projects into smaller parts so everyone can have a task.
- Plan simple tasks like coloring cards
- This is not just for the little ones, but to fill time with the older ones while waiting for their turn.
- Shower them with praise for helping.
- Have fun doing it.
- If at any point someone is melting down or you are stressed, take a break and come back to it when you are ready.
- Try a Christmas music dance break to get your sanity back
- Take it in small time slots for younger kids.
Keep Christ At The Center
One of our Christmas traditions for kids has been to continually circle back to the baby in the manger. To keep Christ at the center of Christmas is to share Christmas cards with our gifts that highlight Jesus as the reason for the season.
A few years ago, I was too tired to help the kids create Christmas cards by hand. I searched Google and Pinterest for hours and was so disappointed with the lack of easy-to-use, free Christmas card printables my kids could color!
Coloring is an easy way to let my kids create something – from their hearts – to share God’s love with our family, friends, and neighbors!
I created these printable Christmas cards for my kids to color out of frustration.
Related: 28 Advent Bible Verses
16 Free Printable Christmas Cards Kids Can Color
After I created them I thought you might also like them.
- They are designed with a centerline so small children know where to fold.
- The cards are blank on the inside so they can write their name or put stickers or whatever else they can imagine.
- I also added their favorite bible verse to the back (well, I love verse 17 so I added that bit).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 (NASB)
- They sat with me to pick the pictures so I know they are kid-approved!
Now they have something they can create and give away that is really something they want to share!
How Do You Prep for Christmas with Kids?
I shared with you my 5 secrets to prep for Christmas with kids today.
- Let Go Of Unrealistic Expectations
- Plan age appropriates projects
- Involve the Kids In The Planning
- Break The Project Into Smaller Tasks
- Keep Christ at the Center
What has worked for you? What has failed for you? Are there Christmas activities for families that you would recommend for our crew?
I am wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!
If you enjoyed this you will love these articles:
- Find The Real Hope of Christmas In 5 Steps
- Planning Backward to Make the Most of Christ at Christmas
- How to Keep Joy at Christmas Time with Anxiety & Ptsd
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