Savvy Holiday Sleepovers
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Libby Gray
For those of us without children of our own, holiday shopping time can be a treat—a time to feel part of a larger community by purchasing special gifts for our nieces, nephews, and other loved ones. But for parents, the beginning of holiday shopping season (i.e., the day after Halloween) can be overwhelming at best and panic-stricken at worst.
One of my dearest friends has a large family (six children and counting!) and finds the beginning of the holidays to be stress-ridden, of course. I have enjoyed spending time with her growing family, and the past few years, I have started a tradition that helps both of us get into the spirit of the season.
Three years ago, after a tearful call from my friend the week before Christmas, I offered to have her kids over for a sleepover two nights before Christmas. We decided to call it "Christmas Eve Eve." She readily accepted my offer, and I asked another friend to help me (four is my limit for solo babysitting!). We planned an evening for the kids that began with pizza and a Christmas ornament-making session, followed by a holiday movie and bedtime. This allowed my friend and her husband to finish their shopping, get a start on wrapping gifts, and have some much need couple-time in the midst of the busy holiday rush.
In the morning, we made pancakes, and the kids wrapped their ornaments to give to their parents on Christmas morning. They left excited to go home for Christmas Eve, and I still had time for a long bath before heading to my parents' house for our own family celebrations.
The next year, my friend asked if we could have "Christmas Eve Eve" again, and we did. I'm planning on a third celebration this year with my new husband, and I hope we'll continue this fun tradition in future years. The holidays are a time for children, and helping out to a friend who spends every day giving to her kids helps me to feel the childlike joy of the season.
Want to do something similar for a friend or sibling this holiday season? Here are some tips on hosting your own holiday sleepover:
1. Select a friend or family member who seems to be the most overwhelmed and the least supported. This may not be the person whose children you spend the most time with during the rest of the year, but it should be one that you know well enough to host their children overnight (or for an evening, if you're not up for a slumber party.)
2. Make a schedule for the evening, and keep it simple. Pizza, holiday movies, and a craft should be plenty. Let the kids know when they arrive what the plan is, so they know what to expect. If you are hosting more than one or two children, I suggest preselecting movies and crafts to lessen bickering among your house guests.
3. Make sure you have emergency contact information and medical release forms from parents, just in case Santa's elves end up needing more than a Band-Aid.
4. Know your limits. Set clear drop-off and pick-up times, and call in help if needed (e.g., a friend or willing family member). It's great to help a friend, but know when you need to have your house back so that you can prepare yourself for your own holiday celebrations.
Published: November 20, 2012