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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

The Refreshing Christmas Break Plan

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Once our Christmas vacation finally arrives, we find It is oh-so-tempting to walk in the door, dump the backpacks on the floor, and not think about school again until “next year." The reality, though, is that next year is only a few weeks away, and if I don't act now, my kids will head back to school in January exhausted and cranky with glitter, crushed candy canes, and old papers jammed in their backpacks.

To avoid this, I activate our 3 Steps to a Refreshing Christmas Break Plan - just don’t tell my kids it’s an actual plan with an actual name or they will freak out.

Step 1 - Get Rid of School

Clean up all school related detritus from our life immediately - ideally as soon as they walk in the door. Recycle all study sheets, notebooks, tests, and quizzes. Have them clear their desks, rooms, and the dining room table of anything and everything school related.

We always blast Christmas music while freeing ourselves of school. We love Ella Fitzgerald, and think the best Christmas album ever is Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmasir?t=thepresscho-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000W0AFXK by Ella Fitzgerald.

I take this opportunity to turn their backpacks inside out and wash them. I love to send them back in January with a fresh clean backpack. After school has been purged and the backpacks are drip-drying, we make a quick list of any new school supplies my kids will need, and put shop for school supplies on my calendar, then we forget about school until January.

This whole process takes less than an hour, and it is the single most important thing we do to ensure a refreshing school break.

Step 2 - Get Rid of all Electronic Devices

I wish.

This year, I think I will have to settle for limiting screen time…for real.

This Christmas break we will spend time talking to each other, visiting with extended family, seeing new places - the kind of stuff that feeds your soul and really refreshes you.

Wish me luck with this one, but in the immortal words of Winston Churchill, “never give in, never give in, never, never, never." If England could persevere against insurmountable odds and save the free world in the process, I can continue to fight the good fight for my children’s souls.

People instead of electronics. I can enforce this!

Step 3 - Enforce Good Habits

The final step of the Refreshing Christmas Break Plan is to be healthy. I'm planning on early enough bedtimes that we can get enough of the good kind of sleep - the before midnight kind. Since we live in North Carolina, the weather should still be nice enough to enjoy some long walks to get enough fresh air, and I predict there will be a lot of driveway basketball games happening, too. I'm planning on most meals being healthy enough to balance all those cookies and treats. None of these things will work perfectly, but I'll aim in that direction which I figure is better than not trying at all.

I am so looking forward to these next two weeks, and I know you all are too. I hope your holiday breaks are full of love, laughter, and lots of family time!

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