Holidays are hard with kids. Well, any day is hard with kids. But holidays are “special” days where you want your kids to be on their best behavior, mind their manners, and earn their “Mommy loves me best” shirt. Here’s a handy guide of some dos and don’ts to help give you a scream free Christmas.
Do dress the kid up in a cute outfit. There will be pictures. A LOT of pictures. If you don’t dress the kid up there’s a good chance Aunt Sally will magically have “the most adorable” outfit for your baby which will inevitably require three adults and a Cirque de Soleil performer to put on. Just dress the kid at home.
Don’t keep your baby in that same outfit when it’s time to eat. They will destroy it. That’s what babies do to nice things.
Do give your baby new and different foods. This is probably the only time of year they’re going to have cranberry sauce or sausage, sage, and walnut dressing on their tray. In 365 days, when they’re a full-fledged toddler, they won’t be going anywhere near that stuff.
Don’t plop a steaming pile of mashed potatoes onto your 8 month old’s high chair tray. Your in-laws will swoop in to save your child, tell you how awful you are for giving him food that’s way too hot, and the whole time your kid will be screaming, “Give me back my taters!” in baby talk.
Do allow your kid to have a sweet treat. It’s Christmas after all – the season of giving. And sugar.
Don’t put the dessert table at the perfect height for your toddler to pilfer cookies all afternoon long. We had this issue with my daughter and she was so hyped up on sugar she didn’t sleep until Labor Day.
Do hand off your kid to any and every family member that wants to hold them. Take a break, Mama!
Don’t pass your kid to your sister-in-law and run to the local bar for a shot, a beer, and a couple karaoke renditions of “Christmas Shoes.” You’ll make it through the day. I promise.
Do let your kids help prepare the meal. Younger children will love feeling like a “big kid” when they get to put rolls on a baking sheet or pour chicken broth into the stuffing.
Don’t let your kids set the table. Remember Aunt Sally? She has spent the past three months pinning every table setting she could find and you do not want your kid to be the one that demolishes her perfectly folded origami Christmas tree napkins which she’s been working on since Halloween.
Do teach your toddler Christmas carols to sing with everyone. Few things are as cute as a kid singing Jingle Bells. Especially after a few Screwdrivers.
Don’t let your kid sing “Let It Go.” It is not a Christmas song just because there’s snow and we’re all tired of it the stupid thing. Dear Santa, make it stop.
Do let your baby help open presents. Ripping wrapping paper asunder is one of life’s great joys to a baby. It’s practice for wrecking your house.
Don’t use wrapping paper smattered with glitter. Eating wrapping paper is also one of life’s great joys to a baby and you really don’t wanna change a diaper that sparkles.
Do take a moment to step back and see the awe and wonder of the holidays through your child’s eyes.
Don’t expect them to nap. You could put them in a sound proof, black out curtained room and it still won’t happen. There’s a party going on that needs them.
Do let your kids watch the big game. Football is a Christmas tradition and they may as well learn now that it’s the only thing they’ll get to watch on TV until Dad passes out in the recliner with a half empty beer in his hand.
Don’t let your kids repeat what they hear while watching the big game. The holiday spirit isn’t so merry and bright when you’re trying to explain to the daycare lady why your toddler won’t stop yelling, “Is this ref effing blind?!” during a game of tag.
Do pack up the car with all the new gifts shortly after they’re opened. It’s one less thing to worry about and it’s the last few hours of sanity for you because, once you get home, it’ll look like Toys R Us had a drunken frat party the night before.
Don’t forget your kid’s new toy that lights up, blares music, shakes, rattles and rolls at Aunt Sally’s. Your kid will scream for days that it’s their favorite and you’re an awful mom for forgetting it, and Aunt Sally will have already packed it away for next year. That’s what happens when your kid cuts down the napkin Christmas trees.