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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Create magic for your kids with these simple holiday hacks

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My holiday to-do-list seems never ending, but this year, I’m ditching that list and focusing on making more holiday magic for my kids. After all, as mom, I am the keeper of the magic, and what time of year is more magical than the holiday season? You don’t have to spend hours on Pinterest searching for over-the-top ideas or spend a small fortune to make the magic happen. You just need a few hacks, a few extra strings of lights, and a little extra coffee for you to create amazing holiday magic for your kids.


  • My kids are early risers, and Christmas morning is no exception. To stop tiny eyes from peeking at their presents before Mom and Dad have even opened up their eyes, we started a tradition that gives me a few extra minutes in the morning to set the scene and builds even more excitement for my kids. On Christmas Eve, I tie a rope across our staircase with a sign that reads “Do Not Cross. Love Santa.” While my kids excitedly wait at the rope, I go underneath and set up for the morning. I turn on Christmas music, heat the oven for the cinnamon rolls we will eat for breakfast, and turn the lights on the Christmas tree. The entire time I’m getting everything ready, I say loudly “Wow, I can’t believe everything Santa left for you” and add lots of “Oohs and Ahhs” just to make the wait more dramatic and to make my kids giggle at the top of the steps. Once I have Christmas morning magic all ready, I tell my kids it’s time to come down, and they barrel through Santa’s rope. Who knew a little piece of rope could add so much holiday magic.
  • Before Christmas arrives, makes plans for a special day with each of your kids. Pick them up early from school and take them to a long lunch or a special dinner. Take them shopping so they can buy gifts for their siblings. Go to the movies or let them pick what they want to do. Having a little one-on-one time with each of your kids is the kind of magic we all need this holiday season. This has become a favorite tradition for each of my kids and they can’t wait to plan our special day.
  • Santa can leave behind more than just presents on Christmas morning. Near your fireplace or wherever Santa comes into your home, take a large boot or shoe and sprinkle flour around the shoe. When you lift it up, the flour makes a footprint that is perfect for Santa and will delight your kids. I usually do a few footprints that lead up to their presents.
  • Let your kids create their own festive space with leftover lights and decor. Since most of your holiday decorations are off limits to little hands, let them decorate their room, a small space in your home, a tiny tree, or even a large cardboard box with the lights and ornaments you aren't putting up. You'll love seeing their creativity shine, and they will love having a special place all their own.
  • Sure Santa needs cookies and milk, but what about the reindeer? Help your kids make “reindeer food” by mixing oatmeal and birdseed together. Then on Christmas Eve, sprinkle the reindeer food outside. Later you can leave a few reindeer tracks outside using flour and a little glitter in a heart shape.

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When you're a kid, everything about the holiday season seems magical, and when you're a parent, it's pretty amazing to watch this excitement and wonder through their eyes. So before the hustle and bustle of this busy season comes to a close, do yourself a favor and take in a little extra magic.

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