Create a December Calendar of Events
Last week I printed out a December calendar and wrote down all of the month's events. Places to be, parties to host, activities to do with the children, etc. It helps to see the big picture of the month. After listing all of the items that are assigned a particular date, I then filled in the gaps with things I want to do with the children this month. Doing this made me realize that I really prefer not doing any school after Thanksgiving! I plan to budget this month off in our school calendar next year. We are planning a trip to Disney early next year, and since I needed a chunk of time off for that I did not schedule us much time off before Christmas Day this year. So here we are doing school for most of the day and then squeezing in the Christmas fun.
Create a Plan For Sibling Gifts
For many years now I have hosted a sibling store. When my children were younger, it was just too stressful to take them one at a time to a store for them to buy their siblings a gift with their own money. Throughout the years they have made handmade gifts for one another (and they are continuing to do that), but they also like a "store bought" gift for each other sometimes too. So I created a sibling store. Basically I bought 4 gifts for each of my children to be placed in our store. These were items that I felt were educational or fun, or things that they had asked for. Sometimes I put more than 4 items in the store, and what no one chose ended up being a gift from Mama and Daddy.
One at a time the children would come into the room and "shop". I charged each of them a flat fee for all four gifts….based on their age. Very young children would pay $2-3 (total) for their gifts, and older children would pay $10-20. Then they would wrap their gifts and place them under the tree.
This year, however, I am not having the sibling store. I have two children with a driver's license, and it is really no trouble to take any of the them to the store to shop. I scheduled shopping for your siblings on our December calendar this week. Today I will take Sam shopping. He wants to buy some supplies to make Leah a gift, and then he has a short list of gifts that he needs to buy. He will spend his own money on his siblings. I will take the other children, one at a time to town this week.
However it's done, I think it is special and fun for my children to give one another gifts. They take a lot of time planning what they want to make and buy each other. Then they eagerly anticipate their siblings opening and enjoying their gifts.