The Christmas season is the most beautiful time of the year for many people. It won't be long until the show is sparkling and glistening everywhere, candlelight is glowing, and the aroma of Christmas cookies pervades the home. In the meantime, however, there are some things to do. Before we settle in for the holidays, it is often rather hectic both at home and also at work. Until all the Christmas cards have been written, the many presents have been chosen and packed, and various Christmas parties and concerts have been attended, the festive mood may already be gone for some people before it even started. Our recommendation: take a deep breath, plan well, concentrate on what is most important, and above all, consciously enjoy your time with your children. We have put together for you a few tips that will simplify the tasks before the holidays and help you joyfully get through the Christmas season.
Enjoying Christmas with Children
Tips for decorating
One beautiful aspect of the advent season is decorating the windows and table and festively trimming the Christmas tree. For some it is a great opportunity to live life creatively to the fullest and to find relaxation. For others it is rather strenuous. First of all: only decorate as much as you have the time for and feel like doing . A few select items can be really appreciated when they stand or hang on their own. A candle and a pair of small glass balls on a gold ribbon can be assembled quickly and provide a Christmas atmosphere at the table in no time at all. Consciously involve your children, for the little ones are happy to help stick paper stars on the window or hang balls on branches. In this way you can spend time together, the children feel that they are being taken seriously, and you can let go.
We have come up with some creative ideas for you that are easy to implement with children, can be made with little effort, and set the right tone for the Christmas season. In our do-it-yourself article, you will find instructions for branch Christmas trees, a beautiful window decoration, and for pinecone Christmas trees, which will embellish the dinner table or windowsills.
If you like to be creative with your children, you will perhaps also feel like making Christmas cards with finger paints … a simple and beautiful idea especially for the little ones.
Tips for baking treats
Especially in Germany, baking various Christmas treats is part of the established routine of many families. Classic and modern cookies, gingerbread, fruitcake, or stollen … everybody has their favorite recipe. Children like to help out here as well. For what could be finer than eating fresh dough from the bowl and cutting out or shaping cookies?
However, a great many requests often come into play, and the family pastry chef soon gets the feeling that she has to stand all day long in the kitchen in order to meet them all. One idea to simplify things: first collect all the treats on one slip of paper and then determine together what are the absolute favorite pastries and what can be given up.
Many Christmas baking classics are unfortunately very time-consuming. Sometimes you have to get a lot of ingredients, chop, cut, or stick to longer cooling periods. Sometimes the shaping of the small delicacies can also be rather time-consuming. Think of what your children are capable of doing: the younger ones can roll balls rather well. And it often helps to vary the shape slightly, especially when you have less time. For example, the dough for vanilla crescents can also be rolled and cut out in heart shapes when it is well cooled. That is considerably faster than shaping crescents.
For everyone who would like to try out our idea, we have jotted down our recipe for vanilla hearts in the do-it-yourself section.
Tips for selecting gifts
Presents are of course also part of Christmas. Our recommendation: make yourself a list and then decide whether it should be a present or thoughtful small gift. Beautifully decorated Christmas treats, handmade pralines, a special tea, coffee, or wine, a relaxing bath salt or shower gel … with a personal gift tag added –and you have in the twinkling of an eye, small gifts that will bring a lot of joy to the recipient. If you keep the list or transfer it into a notebook, you will know next year what you gave. The date often determines how hectic shopping gets: the closer it is to Christmas, the more crowded are the stores. It is therefore recommended to get a head start at the end of November or beginning of December.
Tips for Christmas lists
Children's wish lists are often very long … and not all wishes are age appropriate, practical, or financially feasible. With kindergarten and elementary school children, the wishes sometimes change daily. It is therefore advisable to have these drawn or written down and then to wait. Wishes that correspond to the child's interests are often mentioned several times. Speak with your school age child about the wishes, especially when it is a matter of something that you do not support. What would your child like to do with it? What hopes does your child attach to it? Your children must also learn that not all wishes can be met. A dog or pony does not (unfortunately) always match a family's daily needs or pocketbook.
And finally the most important thing: less is often more!
Not only with the preparations, with decorating, selecting presents, or cooking for the holidays … less is often more! Christmas is a family celebration and not a competition. Simply allow yourself the freedom not to be perfect and instead to enjoy the Christmas season with your children!
So put together a plate with a few treats, mandarin oranges, apples, and nuts, make some tea or hot punch and make yourself comfortable with the sweet HABA read aloud story about the Christmas angel.