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Uh oh, is it that time already?

The holiday season is upon us again, and this year I'm really looking forward to it. My son is just old enough now that he wants to be involved in the preparations, and I don't want to discourage his enthusiastic help! We have started working on our Christmas crafts nice and early (for a change) and I have discovered some wonderful books and websites.

 Judy Press' Bug Fun Christmas Crafts & Activities is a good place to start. There are more than 200 ideas in this book for kids aged 3-7, and many of the ideas can be adapted for older, more skilled hands.  This website has crafts, recipes and other ideas for holidays as well as every day fun. You can choose to search by age group, subject, or position (parent, teacher, babysitter, etc.). We have found a lot of gift ideas on this site that are just perfect for little hands, and the recipes are fun too. There are many crafts for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa on this site as well, and lots of other festive ideas. A great site to visit! This site is perfect for tweens and parents alike! There are many great ideas for crafts, as well as an array of bath products to make and give as gifts. Kids love giving handmade presents, and this site has so many neat ideas.

There are lots of other things that children can do to help during the holidays, and allowing them to assist you makes them feel like they have a role to play in the festivities. For example, kids can help knead dough for any number of recipes, from Sufganiyot (yummy Hanukkah donuts) to St. Lucia's bread, and they don't seem to tire out as fast! Dinner prep is fun for kids too, mashing potatoes and beating cake mix. Even simple things like drying the dishes before setting the table (since our good flatware hasn't seen daylight since LAST Christmas) and making sure the poinsettias are watered are ways to keep kids engaged in what goes on around the house and gives them a sense of accomplishment when they see how much they have contributed.

Holidays are for fun, not perfection, so go have fun. Make a snowdude, wear garland in your hair, whatever.  Hanukkah is just around the corner, and Christmas soon after, but then they're gone for another year. So enjoy the prep instead of dreading it. Your kids will have wonderful memories, and you might be that little bit more relaxed, too!