Attention Word Slingers readers: Beginning December 11, 2019, all posts will be available at Thank you for reading Word Slingers!

You’re feeling the pressure. It’s the last week before Christmas. You want to make Christmas special and make lasting memories with your children during the holiday season. But part of you just wants to throw up your hands and surrender to the madness of the season.

Even if you’re feeling a bit bah humbug about finding time to make your life a “Pinterest” Christmas, here are a few easy (and free or cheap) things you can do with your kids and still keep your sanity.

  1. Quick trip to the library. Check out a few Christmas books to keep your kids entertained at home. It’s absolutely free!
  2. Allow your children to sleep under the Christmas tree. They have to sleep sometime, right? Why not let them pull out the sleeping bags and have a magical night dreaming under the tree? It was a favorite of my children—and they are now 23 and 20.
  3. Take time to look at Christmas lights. You don’t have to spend an entire evening at an extensive light location. Just pick out a neighborhood that’s nearby. Make it a game by asking your children to rank their top three light displays.
  4. Sit back and watch a Christmas movie. There’s plenty to choose from, so pick a family favorite, make some popcorn or hot chocolate and sit together as a family for a couple of hours.
  5. Put on some Christmas music while you do chores around the house. Find a local radio station playing holiday favorites or enjoy some tunes you’ve already downloaded. Fill your home with Christmas music and see if it brightens the mood.
  6. Bake a birthday cake for Jesus. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Let your children do the work—even the decorating. This is not about perfection—it’s about focusing on the reason of Christmas and helping your children consider the importance of a baby born in Bethlehem.
  7. Attend a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Find one that’s convenient for your family and their time schedule. There’s nothing like starting Christmas with some candlelight and “Silent Night.”