Right now, I’m dreading December. Not because of the holidays. I love those. It’s because for the whole month of December, until winter break, there will be no breaks.
Three straight weeks of school.
It’s bad enough for the teachers, but at least we get paid. For the kids, it’s pretty awful. All the excitement for Christmas and Hannukah is bubbling just under the surface. A super long vacation is right around the corner. But first, school.
This month can be a fight to survive. But with a few easy tips, you and your family can survive December.
Back off on the stress.
I get it, it’s tough this time of year. There is a LOT going on: holiday prep, present purchasing and major school projects to boot. But take it all with a grain of salt.
Is it REALLY going to matter if Aunt Ruth gets the blue one or the red one? No. And for the elementary set, slacking just a little in the run-up to Christmas isn’t going to affect their college chances either.
So take a load off, bake cookies on a school night and shuffle a few (minor) homework assignments.
Heck, maybe even get out of town early! Just be sure to ask the teacher for work before you go. At least for me, I send a few pages of math, ask the child to read every day and journal about their trip. Super easy!
Celebrate the weekends, every weekend!
December is a magical time, no matter where you live. There are lights glowing on every corner, tree lightings and Santa visits.
Try to keep weekends sacred for family time this month.
Even if it’s just one day each weekend (there are only a few before winter break!), pick something fun to do in your area. As a bonus, a lot of holiday fun can also be super culturally educational!
Going to see The Nutcracker? It’s a ballet, classical music and etiquette class all rolled into one! Plus, you could ask your older children to make a budget for the evening: ticket price, snacks, parking, etc.
Baking cookies? That’s science, math, research and history! Talk about the family history or the cultural background of favorite recipes. Or you can find a sweet new treat by scouring cookbooks and magazines.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to volunteer on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Actually, December is pretty much booked solid with holiday cheer at the soup kitchens!
Instead of joining the masses, commit your family to giving back during the New Year. Trust me, you will need something to break up the long, dreary days of January, February and March.
Find a local soup kitchen, women’s shelter or animal sanctuary that you love. Then contact the group and set up your volunteering, or donation(s), for 2017. They will love to have a firm commitment on the books, since the things they need will still be there next year.
Get some perspective
Sure, these three or so weeks are going to be BRUTAL. I can’t sugarcoat that. It will suck really bad.
You know what’s going to be worse? The first three months of 2017.
The holiday season will be over. Unless you live on a tropical island or in a vacation destination with nice weather, winter will be getting real. Except for a few federal holidays, there will be no breaks until right around Easter.
That means weeks at a time of school, and work. Plus, a whole bunch of cranky kids who are stuck inside for recess.
Stick around, because I’ll be sharing some indoor fun ideas in 2017 to help keep cooped up kids (and parents) a little less crazy!
How are you going to survive December until Winter Break?