In our October Chat 'N' Sip we asked members to share their best tricks for navigating the holidays from Halloween through New Year's with multiples. Here are the results!!
Kids eat FAST; so think about off-setting the kids' meal times until they're old enough to join you at the table (and appreciate your cooking!).
Let younger kids have their favorite foods instead of hoping they'll like the feast you've prepared. Then everyone will be happy--and fed.
If you really want to relax and enjoy an adult meal, consider hosting it after bedtime.
If traveling for your holiday, consider having an "at home" family holiday before/after, when the family gifts are opened. This gives the kids two eventful days, "drips" the gifts out, and means you don't have to pack/shift gifts to your destination.
You don't need to buy multiple quantities of every toy. Aim for small individual gifts (same type, but different colors perhaps) and a larger gift that can be shared.
Cardboard gifts are great and are easy to recycle after the holidays. They don't stick around to take up space--e.g., cardboard playhouses or cardboard building blocks are basically giant art/building projects that the kids will love for 1-2 months and then can be gone. Some you can also color in together.
Younger kids won't notice that some gifts are hand-me-downs from friends/cousins/etc.
Useful gifts (e.g., electric toothbrushes!) are still exciting and a new experience.
Opening lots of gifts can be exhausting. If you have a lot of "stocking stuffers" try and drip-feed their opening and take play breaks so they can enjoy each gift and not be distracted.
Don't wrap everything if it's too much work; the kids aren't going to care if their gift from Santa isn't wrapped.
Consider using old sheets to wrap presents for the family. You can use tape and/or ribbons to close them. This will teach children about recycling and help you cut down on the amount of paper you use for holiday gift wrapping.
Get in your pajamas early and head out to see the holiday lights! You don't have to go far (or go to anything spectacular!). The "hunt" is part of the fun, and it gets everyone out of the house (and smiling!).
Kids love being involved with decorating! It takes up a lot of their time and energy, too. Try making paper chains and snowflakes, and let them decorate their room if you're open to it.
If your kids are crawling and curious about your holiday tree/decorations--consider putting the tree inside your circular baby gate (which is easier than trying to keep the kids away).
Getting out of the house for exercise/fresh air will help with keeping kids calm and likely more tired at bedtime. Staying indoors all day is nice for adults but can be hard for kids.
If your kids want to celebrate the New Year at midnight but don't have the stamina, consider quietly changing your clocks to a few hours earlier and let them get excited; do the countdown and then go to bed. You can even find a YouTube video of last year's ball drop countdown to make it feel like the real thing.
You can also save New Year's as an adults only celebration until the kids start showing an interest when they're older (6 or 7 and up). Just keep it a secret until they start asking!
If traveling, don't forget to read our WLAPOM blog post on traveling with multiples!
If your kids are too young to stay up until it's dark on Halloween, consider having a spooky pumpkin-lit Halloween breakfast when they wake up at 6.00am instead.
Mix up your "treats" to include little toys/crayons since lots of candy is not a good idea.
Let them have their candy earlier in the day to avoid a sugar high at bedtime.
For younger kids, consider only visiting five to eight houses and keep it close to home. They'll still have fun but won't be worn out.
Please do suggest more in the comments section of this posting! We'd love to hear YOUR tips...
** Pic: Catherine O'Hara in "Home Alone".