If you have kids in your home during the Holidays, would a court convict you of incorporating them into your decor and entertaining? Or would you be convicted of banishing your children to the basement where you discover the "kid tree" all Charlie-Browned out and looking sad and neglected?
For many moms Christmas and New Years is a time for their decorating flair to show through. But what about the kids? While it may seem like you will forever have kids tripping up your feet for the rest of your life, the reality is your kids will only be "kids" for a very short time. Why not embrace this magical time of year and bring their excitement, visions and dreams into your Christmas themed decorating? It's only a few years where their young exuberance is going to last. Soon enough they will become sullen pre-teens and teens. Then they will be stogy old people like most of the world - wishing they could muster the energy and exuberance of a kid once again.
This year, while they are young and excited about decorating and baking and diving into the Season, let them. You can start with the table.
I know. You thought I was going to say the tree. Why the table, you ask? Why not? You can embrace your child-filled home with respect to the tree AND the dining table. And unlike the Christmas tree, if you entertain at other times of the year, you'll have more opportunities to let them decorate and set it again and again.
First talk about the centerpiece that's truly childlike. Kids are naturally creative so indulge in this. Show them some pictures or let them pick out some special ornaments on the tree. Line them up along a table runner that's made of red and green paper and painted with all their Christmas dreams. The possibilities are endless.
Bring out the china and let them set the table. Kids love to sort and figure out patterns. If you give them one place setting to copy - complete with the flatware - they will gladly match all the pieces to the remaining places for your guests. Then there are the napkins. Allow their inner Origami to shine through and let them fold and crease and figure out a cool idea for your guests.
Finally, let them decide on some name cards. Simple pieces of paper and a list of guests will keep your little ones busy for hours. While they spell out names and draw a stick tree or bell, another can tie them to ornaments that can sit on plates. It will be cute and fun to bring them out year after year.
Now your table is set. Your kids were involved. They know how to set a table and they've become indispensible to you for years to come. What was once considered a chore for many moms is now a Holiday tradition that will carry your young family through the teen years and beyond.