Christmas is nearly upon us. And that means, so are the school holidays. That coveted time off work will be replaced by round-the-clock quality time with the kids. All of which you’ll need an extended holiday from when it’s all said and done. Or, at least a few hundred gin & tonics to take the edge off.
It’s not all bad. In fact, it can still be quite rad if you just put in a little effort to make this time as fun and memorable as possible. Here’s how to make some lasting memories and create some awesome stories for their 21st birthday party.
Make up your own Advent Calendar.
Christians traditionally use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas. Somehow, marketing got ahold of it and decided that it’s a cool way to sell 25 pieces of chocolate in a crappy cardboard box with die-cut doors that never seem to relinquish their sweet bounty.
Now, I’m not sure how the chocolate sugar hit encourages reflection, that’s why I find it’s a lot more fun and constructive to think of a fun activity to do every day until you hit Christmas morning.
Invent crazy games, plant flowers, bathe your stupid cat, make mommy brekkie in bed, create a Christmas ornament for the tree, write poems, have them paint their sister… it’s all good. Just as long as they’re using their imagination and doing something interesting and different every day.
Teach your kids to give to less fortunate kids.
I’m not sure about your house, but there are enough stuffed animals, puzzles, playdoh cans and sharp, pointy plastic things around here to open a discount toy store. I’m 100% sure they don’t play with 75% of the stuff. That’s why for fun, I like to find some of the toys they haven’t used for a while and regift them to see if they figure it out. Come Christmas morning, they’re in such a sensory overload state they never know the difference.
On a serious note, every year we do make sure our kids go to their toy room and find things that they don’t play with anymore, so they can give to another boy or girl to enjoy. It’s really wonderful to watch them think about all the fun that other kids will have with their toys. And, it teaches them the most important lesson of the season, to give.
Keep Santa on Speed dial.
Now, I realise this won’t make you a rad dad per se, but you’ll feel pretty rad doing it.
While my kids still believe in jolly old St. Nick, I’ll use him to the full extent of his mythical powers. As the days countdown to Xmas, count on his photo on your phone to right all the wrongs of the child-filled crazy house. He will calm tantrums, stops fights, make broccoli and cauliflower disappear off the plate, encourage sharing and get toys get picked up off the ground instantly.
And yes, I realise this behaviour is a bit naughty, but the payoff is so nice. Santa is the gift that truly keeps on giving. Use him wisely.
Make an effort to help them create their school Christmas costumes.
One of my earliest memories was when we had to dress up as an animal in my preschool Christmas play. I chose to be a frog. Not sure if many frogs were present in the stable in Bethlehem back then, but I was a 3-year-old with a wild imagination, and the world was my oyster/amphibian… until the play began, that is.
When I stepped on stage, there were some truly amazing animals present: camels, donkeys, gorillas and some kind of jungle cat, if memory serves. Then, there was that misplaced little frog with little-to-no effort in his costume. Dad had simply put a big sign around my neck that read, “I am a frog.” I did have a green shirt on, but that was the extent of it. Everyone had a good laugh. As did my psychologist when I told him about it years later. Good times.
If you’re not that rad, read them something that is.
Let’s face it, your kids’ opinion of you is really the only thing that matters, and achieving that true level of desired coolness is sometimes hard to come by. That’s why I try to outsource my rad-ness whenever I can, so I can be cool by association.
Now, you can only read so many Christmas stories. That’s why I was stoked when I found my kids this amazing little rock & roll themed picture book that gave me some instant street cred with my offspring. Little Rockstar’s book ABC⚡️DC teaches kids their ABCs, thus making education cool again (if education was ever was accused of that dubious honour in the first place).
Even after they fall asleep, I still like to flip through the pages. Not just to brush up on the alphabet, but to walk down that rock & roll memory lane and reflect on the days when I was considered to be pretty rad.