Stress-Free Winter Holidays

One after another, the holidays in December and January add warmth to the cold winter. Unfortunately, they can also add stress for busy families. But they don't have to. Here are some tips to keep your family cool and calm, so the holiday memories are warm and colorful.

Stay cool, calm and collected...

From Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day through the New Year, families come together to share and build memories. That's why December is known as National Stress-Free Family Holidays month. How can busy families do that? Organize, plan, and decide if you really need to do everything you have planned. Keep the tone warm by staying cool. Frantic parents may be trying too hard and defeating the goal of building warm memories.

Keep a Planning Calendar.

Set dates to complete key tasks and record upcoming events. A calendar will help organize your plans in order of when each task must be done. For example, select the date that you will:
  • Select party invitations - The Coloring & Activities has great party invitations for Christmas, Chanukah, and Seasons Greetings.
  • Send party invitations.
  • Select and send holiday cards.
  • Create holiday decorations - Check out the Print & Celebrate Holidays in the Coloring & Activitiesand holiday ideas in Arts & Crafts.
  • Plan the party and or holiday meal menus and prepare shopping lists.
  • Make handcrafted gifts - Search for "Gifts to Make" in Arts & Crafts.
  • Complete gift and party supply purchases.
  • Make travel arrangements and check out tips for traveling with kids.
  • Wrap holiday gifts - You can make your own wrapping paper.
  • Bake traditional foods and holiday.

 Identify which of these tasks you will do with your children. Enjoy a feeling of accomplishment as each of the tasks on your calendar are completed.

Ask for help

You don't have to do all the cleaning, cooking and shopping alone. Can you hire a cleaner, caregiver, or caterer? Which jobs can you assign to other family members? How can you divide the work or make your list less overwhelming?

Be sure you enjoy your own holidays and parties. Encourage peace and caring for others this holiday season. Let family and friends know that the gift of time helping each other is as precious as wrapped gifts. wishes you safe, heart-warming holidays.

Involving the Kids in Winter Holidays

Children's fond memories can be of working together -- cooking and decorating for the holidays, as well as enjoying the fruits of their labors.

What's important?

Make sure children are aware of the reasons for, and the primary message of each holiday you celebrate. Receiving gifts may be the child's focus until you explain the origin and broader meaning of the holiday. Lights (stars, lamps, candles), foods, and gifts often play a central role in winter holidays.

Greet the holidays as joyous family events

For every holiday task, try to engage the entire family. Turn tasks into fun family events. For example, enjoy a family-wide card sending event. While adults write, young children color holiday cards to include in the envelopes.
  • Santa
  • Reindeer Gift Wrapping
  • Chanukah Menorah
  • Chanukah Celebration
  • Kwanzaa
  • Kwanzaa Celebrations

Brainstorm the shopping list as a family.

Children often have perfect ideas for gifts for relatives and family friends. Cook together. Each family member can help in the kitchen, from chopping to washing. Hold a whole family cookie-baking event, or experiment with different latke recipes and have the family vote at a tasting party. Wrap it up together. Sing along with seasonal music while everyone helps tie the ribbons and make the gift tags. When you share lively conversation, the packages are ready in no time.

Keep the kids busy with holiday fun

When kids are out of school for the holiday break, keep them busy. Less sibling arguments occur when kids are engaged in fun activities. Quiet quarrels and lessen stress by suggesting the following activities to your kids:
  • Send Thank You notes.
  • Make holiday scrapbooks.
  • Practice some math activities or make print and play games.
  • Write a holiday story and submit to Books and Beyond.
  • Celebrate nature by dancing with the first snow flakes. Create snow related crafts.

Think offbeat and fun.

Create family traditions

Join hands and hearts among generations by holding on to traditions that are dear. Start some new too, to carry into the future. Have the kids write or E-mail grandparents and relatives to plan some traditions that may surprise you.

Play and sing together

Make a dreidel. Teach family members and friends how to play this traditional game.
Serenade people who will appreciate your holiday cheer.

Share your seasonal celebrations with others who are interested in learning about others' traditions.

Treasure today for tomorrow

Take photos and create drawings of your celebrations to save priceless memories. Create a holiday scrapbook with the children illustrating memorable events of this year's celebrations.

Herald the new year.

Count down the hours until the new year starts with several generations of family and friends. Create an impromptu skit-about the past year or the future. Make costumes and masks using Crayola markers and crayons.

Fill a family time capsule with children's drawings, news articles, and other artifacts.

Declarations and Decorations of Love

Warm the hearts of family and friends with declarations and decorations of your love on Valentine's Day! Here are some creative ways to let people know you care.

Hearty Mealtime

Create Valentine's Day placemats for each family member. Start with a large paper heart, write words of love in Crayola® marker or crayon, and then cover with clear plastic adhesive paper, such as Con-Tact® paper. Make napkin rings to match with recycled gift-wrap cardboard rolls cut into 3 inch sections.

Wear a Valentine

Make holiday necklaces for your favorite people. Shape red and white Crayola® Model Magic® into hearts of all sizes, string on a ribbon, and voila-loved ones can wear your lovely gift.

Write petals of love

Cut flower petals and leaves from paper. On each, write an endearing message with Crayola markers and decorate with heart designs. Attach to chenille stick stems. Create an entire bouquet.

Start an Annual Valentine Memory Book

Create your own memory book. Draw a heart on the cover. Each year on Valentine's Day, you and special loved ones write about the good times you shared the past year.

Children Create Coupons

Everyone would appreciate coupons that grant wishes and offer to do chores such as: clear dishes off table, pet care, help with laundry, and even extra hugs. Use Crayola Metallic Colored Pencils to draw each promise on a construction paper heart and arrow. This generosity will go straight to the recipient's heart!

Have a Heart to Heart Huddle

What better time to reminisce with loved ones about fun times you've spent together and talk about what is important to each of you. Take time on this holiday to talk, heart to heart.