Making the Holidays Memorable – December 2009

Ask any parent, and they are sure to agree that the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year.  So how can you take steps now to make sure that the hectic holidays will be special for your children and not just leave everyone exhausted?

According to Samantha Stern, training and development director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “It’s simple to make the holidays special, if you don’t over schedule your family and try to take on too much.”

“The key is for parents to plan ahead and select a few special activities that you really enjoy doing with your children. Then, incorporate each of these activities into the weeks leading up to the holidays, so that you have time to enjoy them all.”

“For example, four weeks ahead, decorate your house; three weeks ahead, make and mail your cards; two weeks ahead, bake your holiday cookies; and one week ahead, visit Santa and see the holiday lights.”

Decorating For the Holidays

When the weather outside gets frightful, there is nothing more delightful than starting a fire in the fireplace, turning on some holiday music, and hanging up decorations to transform your house into a holiday haven.

According to Stern, this can also provide a wonderful opportunity to make some special memories.

“Talk to your children about the significance of your decorations.  Maybe they were passed down from generations, represent noteworthy people or objects important to the holidays, or were special gifts you received,” says Stern.

“If you put up a Christmas tree, consider purchasing a new ornament representing something of interest to your children each year. Then, have your children be responsible for placing their ornaments on the tree. It’s a great way to show your children how they have grown over the years and to fondly remember all the things that have been really important in their lives.”


Making Holiday Cards

When creating your family’s holiday cards, Stern suggests that you consider working together with your children to make one card that truly represents your family, and then take it to a copy store where you can have it reproduced to send out to everyone on your list.

“Creating one card together can be a great way to spend some quality time with your children and to make the holidays extra special,” says Stern. “Trying to create a card for each person on your mailing list is setting you and your children up for frustrations and failure.”

Baking Christmas Cookies

Stern says that children love helping in the kitchen, and this seems to be particularly true during the holiday season. Finding a way to involve your children in the tradition of baking holiday delights is a great way to make this time special.

Stern adds a word of caution, however.  Remember that children have a limited attention span. Younger children should help with only one step of the process, such as decorating cut-outs. They should only help as long as they want to.

Younger children should help with only one step of the process, such as decorating cut-outs. They should only help as long as they want to.

“Older children have a much greater attention span and may be content to help you with baking cookies all afternoon while younger children may only want to be involved in the project for 10 minutes. They key is to make it fun. Play holiday music, don’t get upset if the cookies aren’t perfect, and just live in the moment.”

Visiting With Santa or Driving To See Holiday Lights

 Stern concludes that no holiday season would be complete without a visit with Santa or driving to see the holiday lights in your neighborhood.  She recommends that you check with your local shopping malls to find out Santa’s schedule of appearances or refer to your local paper for special events with Santa and holiday light displays. Both opportunities allow your children to be completely in the moment of the holidays and will provide them with memories to last a lifetime.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers, Inc. will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Making Holidays Special” on Thursday, December 10, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their south side location at 1496 South 29th Street. Come learn more about making holidays special and enjoy dinner on us. This event, which is sponsored by Children’s Hospital’s Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Fund, is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  Please call 414-643-5070 to register.  For more information visit

Ebenezer Child Care Centers will also be hosting a FREE Santa’s Workshop on Saturday, December 12, from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Joseph’s Hall at St. Joseph’s Convent located at 1501 S. Layton Blvd. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, pictures with Santa for $1, gift-making activities for $.50, a holiday store with gift ideas for $.50 and $1.00, and a holiday bakery with items for $.50 and $1.00.