By now most of us know the festive things we can do — or should do — during the holiday season, provided we have the time, energy, money, Christmas spirit, etc.
- Don’t wrap your children up in a big box. Should you find yourself with a big box, a roll of wrapping paper and the wild idea to wrap one of your kids in a box because their other parent is on the way home and it would make for a funny surprise — well, don’t do that. Even if the parent says they’ll be heading home soon, don’t do it. I mean, it could be pretty funny, but only if said parent was really and truly less than 10 minutes away. Waiting in a wrapped-up box for any longer is not fun for anyone and it would be a huge letdown to have the kid emerge from the box cramped, sweaty and delirious for want of oxygen.
- Don’t take young children ice skating who don’t know how to skate. It sounds like Christmas-movie family fun, but ice is slippery and skates make it only more so. Chances are your first-time skater won’t understand the reality of this until the second their blade touches the ice. If they thought they had signed up for effortless spins across the ice but are instead having to learn a skill that involves balance, technique and plenty of bruises, it is possible they’ll feel betrayed — and that the look you get as a result might have you sleeping with one eye open for the next few weeks.
- Don’t serve anything with artificial red dye at a children’s party. It doesn’t matter if red is a Christmas color. What matters is that you maintain a grasp on what little sanity you have left. But don’t worry, the lack will not be noticed: holiday anticipation and sugar will provide your young guests with more than sufficient levels of energy for the event. If another adult protests your decision, offer to have them host the party instead.
- Don’t make all your holiday gifts. It might sound simple and inexpensive, but it is the opposite. Say you decide to make bacon soap, for example, because it can be done and because the recipient likes bacon. It will take months to save up the necessary bacon fat, the additional ingredients will be expensive and you’ll have to worry about getting the soap-making process just right without maiming yourself or others. And in the end, you find that bacon soap doesn’t even smell like bacon, it just smells like bad soap. In this instance, it may be cheaper and faster to go online to buy bacon soap.
- Don’t give gifts that require maintenance on your part. It might seem like a good idea to give someone you love something like a “Magical Cookie Jar” — a container that will “magically” be filled with your homemade cookies once a month. But this will cease to seem like a good idea within a short time, when you have to actually be “magical.” “I’ll do this for you later” gifts seem easy and sparkly and grand, but don’t forget about the part when you have to do what you said you would do.