Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

My December list was so handy last year (and the year before), I revised it and am re-using it again. This summary of articles from the Kidoinfo archives includes craft projects, local events, and books to read, along with tips and ideas to make your holidays a little easier, hopefully less stressful–and memorable for the kids. Some of you may be way ahead of me, so pick and use what you need and please share your own helpful tips and ideas below with the Kidoinfo readers.

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1. Make an advent calendar to count down the days till Christmas or buy one at a local shop (probably on sale now). Now that my boys are in third grade, it was time to change the words in the advent envelopes - making them more challenging. Download new list here.

2. Mark you calendar with upcoming events and parties for school, home, work, etc. Plan which local events or family traditions you plan to participate in this year. If you plan to see a show, order your tickets and put them in safe place. Subscribe to Kidoinfo and receive our newsletter list of “Weekend Picks” in your inbox every Thursday.snowflake6.jpg

3. Plan your holiday card. Or in our house, a New Year's card. Find an adorable photo of your child(ren) or schedule a professional or at-home photo shoot. Buy ready-made cards or make your own. Use old magazines to make collage cards for family and teachers. I organize my contacts in BatchBook so I can easily print all my addresses on mailing labels.

4. Teach your children about the many holidays celebrated at this time of year.
(Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice). Read books, listen to music, and try new foods associated with the various holidays. We have an international house–our family celebrates Christmas, Eid, and Hanukkah.

5. Make paper snowflakes.

6. Plan as a family or as a class how you will thank your child’s teacher or caregiver this year. (Gift Ideas)

7. Buy and trim Christmas tree. I find it easier–and less frustrating for my boys–to bring out all the decorations and test all the lights before announcing that it’s time to hang the ornaments on the tree. After the decorating is done, we usually celebrate with hot cocoa and popcorn or holiday treats.

8. Take the Buy Local-Buy Handmade Pledge. Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts sponsors a statewide initiative to grow the sales and consumer base for locally owned businesses during these challenging economic times. See her list of Buy Local RI “Main Street” events. Check the Kidoinfo guide of holiday craft shows

9. Plan to make holiday gifts this year–they’re good for the budget and the soul. Remember that your child’s handprints always make a nice gift for family. Keep it simple–put it on card or ornament; or not so simple–make it into a book.

10. Turn your craftiness into an an event. Plan a Craft Exchange and give gifts this year made by you and your friends.

11. Plan holiday baking — for home, for school, for gifts for the community. Check the Kidoinfo Food category for even more ideas and cookbook reviews.

12. Write a letter to Santa (if you believe). Did you know if your child sends a letter to Santa and includes a return address, he or she will often receive a letter back via the post office?

13. Make a gingerbread house–from scratch, from a kit, or as in our house, hacked together.

14.
Read books by Jan Brett.

15. Remember to squeeze some healthy eating into the whirl of holiday parties and cookie baking. Here is a list of super foods to eat.

16. Introduce your kids to
the Nutcracker story with books, music, a show, or make it a family movie night.

17. Participate in community giving.
Check your local church, school, and businesses for ideas.

18. Record family traditions in a book. Add to it all year long with words or photos.

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