Every year I watch the people around me get a little too keyed-up over the holidays. Buying presents and trying to make everything work into some personal fantasy, but what they forget is what Christmas is all about.
I'm not talking the religious aspect, I'm referring to the bringing together of your family in this happy season. Stop being so uptight and let yourself go, not only will your family love it, but you'll feel better!
My advice is always the same:
Have a junk food night. Skip that sensible dinner, have Oreos, cupcakes, and popcorn (or whatever you like) with hot chocolate while watching a movie in your pajamas.
Take a walk through your neighborhood and look at the Christmas lights. If you live in a rural area, go to town and drive around looking at the lights.
Skip the computers, video games, and television (unless it's a family show you're watching together like Frosty, Rudolph, or Charlie Brown) and build a puzzle together. Put out some chips or pretzels, put on the Christmas music and assign everyone a section.
Play a board game. It doesn't have to be a complicated one, my kids are older, but a game of Candyland or Chutes & Ladders is quick and fun for the whole family. We like to play Sorry and see just how snotty you can say "Sor-ry!"
Wear the silly hat, the reindeer antler headband, or elf ears. If they light up, play music, or move, all the better. Don't be shy about it either. Wear them out to dinner and act like it's not there. Everyone cracks up when they see the look on a waitresses face when I pretend I have no idea what they are looking at.
Make cookies together. Or at least let the kids decorate them. The crazy colors, or the fact that Frosty's head was made into the middle circle can be funny as well as yummy.
Talk Like A Cartoon Character. Make a whole day of it. Nobody can be irritated or angry when you sound that silly!
You don't have to do these things every day, but at least one day a week gives the kids something to look forward too and they'll stop asking if they can open a present now. "Just one??"
Or come up with your own fun ideas, but do something, anything. If your kids see you stressed out, they get stressed out and started acting bad, you get irritated, and it's an endless cycle of anger and unhappiness. Take a good look at your actions. This is how they will treat their kids in the future.
Think like a kid, then act like a kid. That's my motto.
Most importantly: Don't forget to laugh, dole out hugs, and tell people you love them.