Holidays Tips

Read these 18 Holidays Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Understanding July 4th

Fourth of July is right around the corner, well this Sunday. It's right smack dab in the middle of the summer and a great way to spend a day with family, friends, or just a special someone.

Although the celebrations of the 4th can be exciting, parents shouldn't forget to explain why it's important to our country.

Yes, it's about fireworks, hot dogs, playing outside until you resemble a cooked lobster, but it's specifically about the risk our forefathers took when they told the powers that be in Great Britian to stick it you know where.

We'd already been at war for a year when the Founding Fathers amended and approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, in Philidelphia, PA. Most of those who signed it didn't add their signatures until August 2, 1776.

They took a big jump in saying they were ready to govern themselves, despite what King George thought. Although actually winning independence took another five years (1781), our country, despite its problems, is an amazing place to be.

It's important as parents that we instill a sense of pride and patriotism in our children to be proud of where they live and who they are. This doesn't mean you agree with the political climate or where our troops are deployed, it simply means to stress the importance of living in a country where opinions are protected and voices are allowed to be heard.

This July 4th, be proud to live here in America.

How can make Christmas special for my kids?

A Tree for Tots

Rather than put up just one big Christmas tree for the family, try putting up a small tree as well, for the kids. They can make their own decorations, wrapping paper, ribbon, and string their own popcorn. On Christmas morning they can hand out the presents from their own tree.

The beauty of this is kids can make decorations as well. Don't worry if the ornament is perfect or even a Christmas theme, the point is the child is using his/her creativity and fine tuning motor skills through coloring, playing with clay, or using (safety) scissors.

Putting the ornaments on the tree also challenges the child to use eye-hand coordination and how to balance items.

Plus, this could easily start a tradition of a new ornament each season for the child to cherish years after they've moved out (hopefully) and started their own families.

How do I keep my kids from overeating Halloween treats?

Halloween Fairy

To prevent your children from overeating on Halloween treats, introduce them to the Halloween fairy. After the kids have tried some of their treats, have them set out the rest for the Halloween fairy, who visits at night, and replaces their treats with a small toy. This way the kids still get to try some treats, but do not overeat, and do not feel cheated, since their treats are replaced with a toy.

How do I keep my kids busy at an adult party?

Taking Kids to Parties

If you are taking the kids to a holiday party for adults and expect them to keep themselves entertained while you visit with friends, make sure you take along supplies to keep them busy. Things such as sketch pads, markers, stickers, and games.

How can I ensure my Christmas tree is safe?

Safe Christmas Tree

To keep kids (and pets) at arm's length from your Christmas tree (and the presents under it), recycle your old children's playpen. Paint it with bright Christmasy colors and place the tree and presents inside it. This prevents anyone from pulling the tree on top of them, and from opening presents before the big day.

What do I do with Halloween candy?

Candy Control

Once your kids return home from trick or treating with an enormous bag of candy, have them divide it up into small sandwich bags. Have them put 2 or 3 treats in each bag, then store them in the fridge or freezer. You can limit them to one bag a day, or just pull them out for a special treat. This way, the kids can keep their candy, but you ensure it is not eaten all at once.

What can I offer at Halloween?

Trick, Treat or Toy

If you have a lot of kid's meal toys or small toys in good condition that your kids no longer play with, add them to your candy bowl on Halloween. Then, allow young treatsters to choose between a toy or a sweet. It's a nice change for them and eliminates some clutter in your house.

How can I ensure my Christmas tree is safe?

Christmas Tree Safety

To ensure that your tree doesn't tip, anchor it firmly in its stand and secure it to the wall with string if necessary. Place small or breakable ornaments and any food or foodlike decorations - candy canes, gingerbread men, plastic apples, artificial berries - high on the tree.

What can I do with toys my kids have outgrown?

A Tree of Memories

Start a new family Christmas tradition by saving small toys that your kids have outgrown. Attach a ribbon to each toy and a note explaining the toy's significance, and you will have treasured ornaments for your Christmas tree. You will soon have a tree decorated with childhood memories.

What can my family do on Halloween?

Family Night

If your prefer not to trick or treat with your kids, you can still make Halloween fun and memorable for the whole family. Buy your own treats for your kids, (make them fun Halloween baskets, with non-candy treats as well) and stay in with them. You may want to watch some spooky movies or tell ghost stories and play games. It is safe and fun!

How do I stop my kids from opening their presents before Christmas?

Prevent Present Rummaging

To prevent your kids from rummaging through the presents under the tree to find their presents before the big day, here's a handy tip. Instead of writing the name on the present, put a number corresponding to a family member's name. The key to the numbers and names is kept safely hidden until Christmas morning.

How can I remember Christmas carols?

Quick and Easy Carols

If your young ones love to sing Christmas carols, but you have trouble remembering all the words, try making a family carol book. Type (or print out) your favorite hymns and songs, and decorate the pages with cutouts from Christmas cards. Put the pages inside page protectors and into a binder. You now have a wonderful keepsake and a record of your favorite songs.

How do my kids show thanks on Halloween?

Sweet Appreciation

A simple way for trick-or-treaters to unmask their manners on Halloween is to make some homemade thank-you cards. On Halloween night, as the kids receive candy, they hand out their notes. Your neighbors will appreciate seeing this show of thanks.

How can I make the holiday season less stressful for my family?

Take Time Out During the Holidays

The holiday season is such a hustle--Christmas, Chanuka, and Kwanza shopping, kids school holiday programs, finals, weather changes, colds, flu, in-laws visiting...almost the idea makes my head spin around just thinking about it all. There is no doubt that the holiday season can be overwhelming at best, so it's important to have "down time."

(1) Opt for sandwiches and soup (canned is just fine) for dinner during this cold time of year. Get the crock pot out and make a roast, chili, or red beans and rice, something that takes very little intervention from you. Even consider ordering out or picking up dinner.

(2) Spend one evening a week not answering the phone after six or when you get home.

(3) Don't turn on the TV for the first hour when the family is at home. Instead, spend the time together playing games, talking, or even thinning out toys or clothes to give away to those in need.

(4) Take a nap. Who says naps are for kids? With the colder weather (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), the want to snuggle in a hibernate is natural. Schedule half an hour to close your eyes and rest your brain from noise, committments, and craziness.

(5) Laugh a lot, hopefully with your family. Make a new (unofficial) holiday tradition where you all talk about the funniest moment the family has spent together.

(6) Breathe...and allow yourself to realize this time of year is truly about spending time with those you care about. No amount of gifts, fancy dinners, sparkling decorations is worth sacrificing time with those you love.

How can I make taking photos with Santa less stressful for my child?

Photos With Santa

If having your child's photo taken with Santa is stressful for your child, allow them to just watch for awhile. Talk about the process. Point out to your child how many kids are smiling, seem happy and receive a treat after a short visit with Santa.

How can I ensure safety during the holidays?

Holiday Poison Alert

Keep an eye out for these hazards: Holly, mistletoe berries, alcoholic drinks left over from parties, especially sweet ones such as eggnog. Cigarette butts left over from parties and artificial snow spray are also dangerous. Ask any holiday guests not to leave medications in places where kids can easily get them - purses, beside tabletops, and bathroom sinks.

How can I ensure safety at Christmas time?

Present Safety

Keep ribbons on presents short; a small child can wrap a long ribbon around her neck and choke.

What do I do with photo greeting cards?

Picture-Perfect Ornaments

When you receive photo greeting cards from friends and family during the holiday season, don't file them away. Instead, turn the cards into decorative ornaments. Cut them into different festive shapes, adorn them with glitter and garland and attach a ribbon to the top. You may wish to keep them to decorate your tree or return them as keepsake gifts.

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer