Lovely reader Julia wrote to me about those paint-your-own-pottery places; specifically, how her kids love them but how many ceramic ducks does one family need? But she’s found a great solution:
Start letting your children paint their Christmas presents now. The first time you go to a PYOP store, let them make something for themselves. Get that out of the way, otherwise you’ll be hearing constant whining. Then let them start making Christmas. Make your list, make your budget. Stick to it.
She’s pretty, that Julia! Not only does it keep the kids happy and keep the clutter down, it eliminates some of the “oh my gosh it’s December 10th and we have so much to do” panic.
I’ll add my own tip: I often buy holiday-themed make-your-own ornaments or photo frame kits on Christmas clearance, then let the kids whip up masterpieces for teachers and relatives. They’re just as happy to do it in July as December, and I score a twofer with the cheap supplies and homemade touch.
And when you start early, there’s never a need to say “You will sit down and you will finish that ornament and it will be pretty and you will like it.” Not that I’ve ever done that. Stop looking at me.