Edgy Mama: How to survive the holidays with kids

That 18-wheeler barreling down the mountainside at us, with no runaway truck ramp in sight, is another holiday season. Let’s just hope the truck is loaded with Christmas trees.

Every year, I over-schedule, overdo and overtire myself prepping for the holidays, despite my best intentions to relax and enjoy the time with my kids, especially while they still believe in magic.

Here are my plans for stopping (or at least slowing down) that big-ass truck this season:

1. No over-scheduling. Holidays are rife with events, parties, and playtime. But kids and parents need down time. I’m a huge fan of pajama days. My boy would wear nothing else if I let him. I let him play outside and even accompany me on errands in his jammies. Why not? We live in Asheville, and no one really cares what my kids wear as long as they’re decent (another good reason to call this town home).

2. No under-scheduling. On the other hand, being stuck at home with kids staring at me like Bassett Hounds and whining about boredom can be murder to holiday spirit. So I’ll attempt to plan one or two activities or events per day — buffered by down time. One of those activities will include some kind of exercise — a hike, bike ride, or stroll around the WNC Nature Center. Because after a dose of fresh air and exercise, my two are much more likely to snuggle down with a book for an hour. More importantly, they might let me do the same.

3. Cook simple. This year, I plan to stick with easy-to-prepare family foods — no fancy multi-course meals that the kids won’t partake of anyway. If I have the time and energy, I might whip up something fun to eat for adult family and friends, but only if I feel moved to do so. And pizza boy can fix his own dinner if he refuses to eat regular chow. My foodie splurge for the holidays will be good beer for the adults and good hot chocolate for the kids.

4. Shop now. I hate to shop. I’m not sure how I did it before the advent of the Internet. My goal this year is to be organized, order ahead of time, and not be that dazed-looking person wandering around the mall on Christmas Eve pawing through leftover Legos. I will buy local when possible. And I will wrap gifts before New Year’s Eve. Maybe.

5. Clean and clean out now. The annual toy, book, and clothes purge will happen soon — before the tree goes up. Clutter interferes with feng shui, right? Though I’m not going to stress too much about this one. Especially since our toy clean-out usually means moving stuff from the kids’ rooms to the basement. Then we have to navigate between tottering baskets of old toys, piles of used clothes, and jam-packed recycling bins just to find a roll of toilet paper. At which point, I wonder how we accumulated so much crap and swear not to buy gifts for my kids ever again. But I do. Because, after all, it’s Christmas.

These seem like reasonable goals, don’t they? Or at least possible ways to help me get to the side of the road before that truck flies by. We’ll see whether or not I survive holiday season ‘09 or get smushed flat as an opossum.

Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.


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