Managing Christmas with Little Ones...

Hi friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Ours was absolutely lovely.  There's just something magical about the holidays and I'm just trying to enjoy it all at the moment.  I'm so proud of my little ones this year. Despite being sick, they were overall wonderfully well-behaved little girls.

There is something incredibly special about sharing Christmas with little ones.  I have to say though that I was worried.  This was our first year of having two opinionated children at Christmas.  Last year Ellie was so little that her needs could be met with food and a clean diaper.  Not this year.  Ellie reminds us on a daily basis how she's a little person with her own needs and wants.  We just recently celebrated her first birthday, and there were many moments that made me fear Christmas gift opening would be a disaster.  Toy wars. Screaming.  Crying.  I wasn't ready for it.

Everyone told me that the only way to survive Christmas with little ones would be to get them identical toys.  Now it is true that since Lu and Ellie are close in age there are many toys that could easily go for both of them.  But our house is small, and we just don't have room for double of everything.  The advice made perfect sense and I knew that it would make things so much easier on Christmas morning.  But I didn't go double this Christmas.

And I'm so glad I didn't. 

Here are a few things I did to make the whole experience go smoothly.

Our Christmas gift opening was set up as a matching game.  I would wrap two presents identically and the kids had to find a match.  Oftentimes both of the presents were for both of them.  I did this to make sure that one kid wasn't opening clothes while the other was opening some incredibly awesome toy.  Lu loved that we made a game out of finding the presents.  Finding a match is one of her favorite games to play at the library.

By the time they got to the grandparents house for Christmas they seemed to totally understand that gifts were to be shared, even if their grandparents had gifts specifically for each child.  I was shocked at how overwhelmingly smoothly the whole process went.  We only had a couple instances of "No!  This is mine!"  which I thought was a major success.  Two days later and the girls seem to still be sharing well, and I'm shocked by the success of it all.

As for the gifts themselves, I tried to go much simpler this year.  Last year we'd gotten lots of little things for the girls and I think that Lu was overwhelmed by it all.  This time I tried to simplify a bit, focusing instead on just a few main things.  These were my gift guidelines:  something bought to play with, something made to play with, something to read, something to wear, and something to make.  After years of playing around with how to do Christmas, it was just nice to feel like we finally 'got it right this year' making it an experience that we could all enjoy.

I hope you all are enjoying spending time with family and friends and that your Christmas went just as smoothly.  Hope to see you all back here in 2013.  Happy Holidays everyone!

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