This is the first time any of them have expressed an interest in actually doing more.
We haven't done Christmas gifts in many years. I have a child with a birthday right before Christmas, so that definitely makes it harder. Last year we went to candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. Then on Christmas Day we read the Christmas Story, got take out, and marathon watched Christmas specials.
I generally make big plans as to how I'm going to make a zillion batches up cookies leading up to it (as my mom made a different kind of cookie for all the 12 days of Christmas...) and then burn out after two days.
With the decorations, part of the problem is that I have sensory issues. If there is a lot of "stuff" in my space, my brain is spinning and I cannot think. If we have decor, it needs to be isolated enough for me to have a part of my living space relatively stark.
(parts of OP snipped for space)
I am greatly in favor of simplicity, and not overdoing holidays (plus I'm broke and lazy, LOL!) but I do try to make things happen so my kids have happy memories and something to look forward to. My girls do a lot of the decorating and preparations. I hang out nearby and provide snacks.
BIRTHDAYS/GIFTS. One child has a birthday on or near Thanksgiving, another a few days before Christmas. We celebrate their birthday as if it were any other time of year, but since we aren't able to have several family gatherings for a birthday and holiday in the same week, with family (just grandmas) they get a birthday candle on the dessert of their choice, not just stuck in the pumpkin pie
Gifts can be simplified, and even very practical. Stocking stuffers are things we'd normally buy year round- toothbrush, character band aids, pocket size tissues, lip balm, candy, socks, pencils, etc. Regular gifts can also be "boring" like new pajamas, underwear, books, a new pillow fills a large box nicely, gloves/hat/scarf... It sounds like you might prefer they be wrapped in plain paper, maybe even brown kraft paper so thy blend in better than neon green movie character with glitter?
The goal can be to have a few things for them to open up. My girls really did enjoy getting underwear- whether it was in their days of character-6-packs, or the upgraded Target 5/$20 stuff.
COOKIES. The thought of Christmas cookies gives me hives. My mom was NOT a Martha Stewart, but she tried to be with Christmas cookies and I still can't laugh about it, it was so bad. I realized all my kids cared about was decorating and eating cookies. Baking wasn't the main event. So I found frozen pre-shaped dough at a restaurant supply store (Gordon Food Service) so we just loaded th frozen cookies onto trays, bake, cool, decorate. I also bought their tub of white icing, and bought some containers of sprinkles. You could also have a bakery/grocery store bakery sell you baked undecorated cookies.
DECORATIONS Maybe instead of "Christmas" decorations aim for a little more "winter" such as a red tablecloth with white dishes, or a "theme" of silver and white? It doesn't have to look like Dr. Seuss' Whoville to look like Christmas. Except for our tree, almost everything we decorate with could be out from Halloween through Valentines Day and not look ridiculous. With a theme, it could be easier for your kids to help you. Instead of wandering around Walmart being overwhelmed, tell her that you'll spend $XX.00 on silver and white decor, and see what she finds. Then it's easy to say "No" to the neon animated light-up honking Christmas goose, LOL!!!
Look here... this may be a planner for way more than you'll ever need, but it breaks things down into manageable parts. Gomthrough it with DD and a sharpie to mark out the irrelevant parts, and get some ideas for new traditions. You may end up blacking out 90+% of it, but skim through it as a guide. http://www.flylady.n...pdf/hoj_coj.pdf
Traditions can be about doing stuff outside the house too- no clutter, LOL! Go ice skating and have the family wear silly knit hats or crazy color scarves. Wear pajamas or character onesies, bring hot chocolate in travel cups and drive around looking at lights. Go to local schools holidays music or chorus concerts. Go see a small ballet studios Nutcracker.
I believe you can do this very simply, and it will be enough of a boost that your kids will love it, and still maintain your peace. Let me be the first to wish you Merry Christmas!
Edited by Rebel Yell, 22 October 2017 - 07:10 AM.