Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

1.Keep the holidays from being stressful by remembering that your kids care more about getting your time than getting your presents.

2.Don’t kick your kids out of the kitchen during the holidays; let them be part of the magic (no matter which parent is doing the cooking).

3.Stress Less. Don’t worry about the mess.

4.Don’t try to make it the best holiday ever – the high expectations will be the ruin of it. Just relax and enjoy each moment.

5.Before the holidays, spend some time with your kids going through their things and clearing out the clutter before new stuff gets unwrapped. Some great websites to send this clutter to include Amazon, Ebay and

6.Regifting is the best kind of recycling – let your kids pick gently used items to share with friends, family, and those in need for the holidays.

7.One time we spent more than we should on a gift for our daughter. She ended up playing with the box all day. Remember, it’s not how much you spend but the time you give that makes it special.

8.Create traditions that are unique to your family. Don’t worry about trying to live up to traditional expectations.

9.Make time to see your kids’ performances in school choirs and plays. These moments are incredibly important to your children and have an impact on their self-esteem and success throughout their lives.

10.This is a good time of year to help your kids understand that everyone has a different way of celebrating the holidays and that it is our unique ways that make us strong. Embrace difference.

11.Don’t stress if your kid would rather eat chicken nuggets than your beautifully cooked turkey. It’s not about what you eat but that you share the mealtime.

12.Set the example for your children by making the holidays (whichever you celebrate) the season for forgiveness and tolerance.

13.Take advantage of cold winter days by having movie and popcorn day with your kids. It’s cheaper than going out and lets the kids snuggle up with you on the couch for a classic favorite.

14.Do something fun when you’re cooped up in cold weather. Bake chocolate chip cookies with the kids. It will warm up the house and homemade cookies are always cheaper and better for you than prepackaged.

15.Encourage your kids to explore their talents by supporting their desires to express themselves creatively through art, music, and dance.

16.The holiday season can be chaotic, so Moms and Dads, make sure you get away for some alone time to recharge your batteries.

17.Fun is NOT just for kids. Get out there with them to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or go sledding.

18.Dads, take your kids shopping for Mom or provide them with the supplies to create a homemade gift. It will be her favorite gift. Moms, do the same for Dad.

19.Blended families have it tough around the holidays. It’s ok to cherish everyone’s favorite parts of the holiday season and create new memories for your new family unit.

20.Turn off the cell phone, look your child in the eyes, and truly engage with them every single day.

21.Let your kids wrap their own presents – only the paper has to be pretty, not the wrapping job.

22.Grown ups can help make the holidays go more smoothly by remembering that the kids want to spend time with everyone they care about, so put custody issues aside and get along.

23.Bruce Family Tradition worth sharing: on Christmas Eve, we drive around looking at Christmas lights, then come home and have peppermint ice cream milkshakes made with eggnog. Yum!

24.Bruce Family Tradition worth sharing: Tired of having turkey twice during the holidays? Skip the bird at Christmas and have Lasagna or another favorite dish.

25.It’s normal for kids to be bouncing off the walls and totally excited this time of year, and it’s ok for you to catch their enthusiasm instead of try to curtail it.

26.Teach your kids to do something nice for someone else this time of year – donate food, dish Thanksgiving dinner at the local soup kitchen, sponsor a family at Christmas.

27.Tip from Anika: Make sure your kids have plenty of healthy snacks around so they eat healthy foods.

28.Tip from Parker: Understand your kids enough to know what they’re talking about and why they’re acting the way they do. Don’t just assume they’re misbehaving.

29. Let your kids play outside, but be sure to monitor them and make sure they are bundled up.

30. Christmas cards can be expensive, but grandparents love handmade drawings from the kids and photos more than anything.