Advent calendars have become all the rage among those who celebrate Christmas. However, that doesn't have to be your winter holiday of choice to make preparation free of stress, and a celebration in and of itself. Personalize these tips to your family and your own holiday preparations, and you'll find as much joy in preparing for your holiday as you will in celebrating it!

Choose One Thing

There are many, many options when it comes to getting ready for a  holiday. Looking at the different Advent calendars available can give you some ideas. There are calendars with a piece of chocolate or a tiny toy for each day, and others that are more religiously-oriented with Bible verses and/or activities a family can participate in.

While it may be tempting to choose a bunch of different options, children will probably respond best if you pick one method of preparation and stick with it. You can read a story every day, eat something special, or even go someplace important, but doing one thing will help both you and your kids focus on preparing for the holiday.

Make It Routine

Once you know what you want to do with your family, find a time of day where you can engage in your chosen holiday-themed activities. Preferably, this will be a time when everyone is awake, alert, and reasonably happy (though that may not be possible with small children). Having a routine will help your kids engage with the preparation activities, and even come to enjoy and anticipate them.

If keeping to a routine is hard given your schedules, etc., at least make your actions inside the preparation time routine. If you're going to talk a bit about the holiday and eat some candy, do things in that order every time. This will make the preparation time something your kids can rely on, even if you can't do it at the same time every day.

Tailor It to Your Kids

If you want to include your kids in holiday prep, make sure the activities you choose are something they can engage in. Make sure activities and events are age appropriate, and try to choose something that will appeal to each child. If your kids are of very different ages or have vastly different interests, you may have make part of your preparation time appeal to one, and the rest to another. By doing this, you help them see how important the holiday is to you, and help them incorporate something that is important to you into their own lives and minds.

Keep It Fun!

Preparing for a holiday often sounds fun, but it can be hard to keep going day after day. If you find that your preparations begin to feel arduous, either quit doing them or find ways to make them fun again. After all, you don't want your kids to associate your holiday with feelings of confusion, frustration, or dread.

If you don't know how to make things fun again, consider these ideas:

  • Read some holiday books
  • Watch fun holiday movies.
  • Go outside and celebrate by letting your kids run, or take in a movie together.
  • Throw a dance party in your living room as part of your celebration, or let your kids choose an activity one day. There are a million ways to help your kids associate the holidays with fun and excitement!

While it takes some time and planning to successfully prepare your family for the holidays, doing so is worth every investment you make when your kids take on family traditions, and value your holiday like you do. You may even find yourself making a family tradition that you can return to year after year.