See that photo up there? That’s exactly what I won’t suggest you spend your time doing this Christmas Eve. I have nothing against a mom who can manage a feat like building the perfect gingerbread house with her children on Christmas Eve, I just don’t share that skill. I’m betting some of you don’t either. Here’s how that task would go for me in the form of phrases that might be heard in my house during the construction of that gingerbread house:
“Don’t lick your sister!”
“Who ate the roof?”
“Stop putting the frosting on the dog.”
“What time does the liquor store close?”
In other words, the effort is more than I can manage on an evening when I am busy cleaning, cooking, wrapping and entertaining. So, in the interest of keeping things simple this Christmas Eve, please include a few of my ‘Small Effort/Big Effect’ traditions this year.
The Christmas Eve Movie Marathon
What? Are you going to pretend the only thing blazing at your place is the crackling fire? Fire up the TV and line up classics like National Lampoon’s Christmas, Scrooged and my personal favorite; Elf. Kids will love to be introduced to these films and they’ll soon learn that they get funnier and funnier every single year. If you have guests, they’ll likely fall right in with these films as you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t enjoy all three.
Serve Kid-Friendly Snacks
And when I say kid-friendly, I mean snacks that kids can make without our help. While it may sound like I am trying to get out of working in the kitchen (and maybe I am), it’s just a really great way to get simple snacks out to your family and keep those excited kids from bouncing off of the walls. Try this Christmas popcorn mix or ask the kids to get creative on their own. Instead of homemade truffles your guests might be enjoying cheese and crackers topped with an M&M or two, but at least the kids will be busy and you can relax and enjoy what you really need to get through the evening; a tall glass of wine.
Open One Gift From Under the Tree
This isn’t about the children’s desperation to get into their pile of gifts as much as it is about your sanity. Choose a small but appropriate gift for them to open. It should keep them entertained for most of the evening. A board game (do kids still play those?) is a great idea. An art project might do the trick, as well. This saves you from entertaining them all night long and gets you back to the aforementioned tall glass of wine.
So, when you are browsing social media and you see titles like “sewing your own holiday pajamas” or “homemade wrapping paper and ribbon ideas” you’ll smile and scroll on by because this year your kids will be enjoying the antics of Will Ferrell while preparing you a snack before heading to the basement to play snakes and ladders. Who’s laughing now?