top of page

How to Survive Christmas Visits with Children

So you’ve committed to hosting the family Christmas get-together at your house. What were you thinking?!

Seriously, it can be a time of building great memories. Often family members live far away and arrive exhausted after a long car ride. The parents need rest while the kids are energized and ready to run, jump, and turn cartwheels.

A little forethought can keep things peaceful and allow grown-ups a bit of relaxation after spending grueling hours behind a steering wheel. Here are some suggestions for making everyone’s Christmas more enjoyable.

  • Plan an activity for the grandchildren as soon as they arrive. I had cookie dough ready to bake last year, when our grandchildren arrived after 16 hours on the road. Our hyperactive granddaughter helped roll out the dough and we baked quietly, which allowed her exhausted mom to sleep.

  • Invest in some inexpensive paint-with-water books. The kind where you smear water onto a page with a small brush, and colors magically appear. Forgot to buy paint brushes? Use q-tips. Our granddaughter enjoyed gluing on googly eyes which were left over from craft projects.

  • Keep coloring books and crayons available.

  • Keep a box with craft popsicle sticks, glue and scraps of colored paper.

  • If weather permits, take active children outside while their parents rest. Play in the snow or take a walk around the block. Teach them old-fashioned skills like jump rope or make homemade stilts from cans and ropes. My husband allowed our eleven-year-old grandson to drive the riding lawn mower (minus the blade) around our country acreage, while closely supervising. The boy was elated.

  • Read books aloud to children. Snuggling is a wonderful benefit.

  • Keep puzzles available. Small children enjoy puzzles for their age group.

  • This is one of my grandchildren’s favorites: Make homemade play-dough. Our grandchildren were wide-eyed when I told them their mother used to play with the same thing when she was their age. See recipe below.

Recipe for Homemade Play Dough

1 cup flour 1 cup salt 2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup water 1 Tbsp. Salad oil food coloring

Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Add water, food coloring and oil. Cook until mixture pulls away from pan. Knead as soon as you can handle mixture comfortably. Double this recipe fills a large Cool Whip bowl. Store in air-tight container.(Note: the oil keeps it pliable.)

A few of these ideas will keep everyone happy and give grandparents/aunts/uncles a chance to re-connect with children who live too far away for regular visits.

A Merry Christmas to you and yours!

What about you? Any further suggestions? Use the comment box below.

bottom of page