Serenity for Little Ones During the Holidays

Note from Lindsay: We are excited to welcome Daniele at Domestic Serenity as a new monthly contributor! Daniele is a lovely pastor’s wife and mother of five children and has lots of wonderful wisdom and insight to share with us on living simply and intentionally. Beside this, loves to help busy students to make their essays at Check out her blog for sweet encouragement! So without further ado… here’s Daniele.

 ”Okay kids!  Here’s the plan and agenda for today — first, we’re running to the craft store for supplies, a quick stop for groceries, then off to the library to check out our holiday books…won’t that be fun?  After lunch, we’ll bake gingerbread – lots – and deliver the cookies to our neighbors.  Oh, and we’ll shop for our Angel Tree child somewhere in there!

When Daddy gets home, off to get our own tree!  We’ll decorate, have hot chocolate, play Christmas music and do our Advent calendar.  This year we’re reading some exciting stories each night that I know you’ll just love!  Right before bed, we’ll pause to choose a few gifts for those in need.  Hmm, what shall it be — chickens, pigs, Bibles, a bicycle?  Can’t wait to decide!  This is going to be such a fabulous day, right?

Kids?  Kids!?…”

{Mom looks around to find that her children have dozed off.  She sighs and wakes them.  Off they go into the day.}

Okay, so this is a fictitious scenario I’m imagining with Mom excitement-filled and kids running very quickly out of fuel.  It’s too full of over-the-top-activity that none of us would actually attempt.

Or do we?   Reflect for a moment on the upcoming holiday season :: the plans, ideas, gatherings, celebrations, activities and timeline of events for your family.  Now think of the little ones in your home (or the big kiddos as well).  Does the pace ahead provide some breathing room, time for pause to soak it all in, some time for…


Serenity is a fancy word for a state of stillness or calm, of peacefulness.  We all gravitate towards this need because I believe our Maker created us with a ‘pause-o-meter’.  An internal reminder that our minds, our hearts, our bodies can only go so fast and so long before burning out.  The same is true for our children.

I’ll be the first to admit of this tendency to over-schedule November and December with good things, but plans nonetheless that rob our home and my little ones of the greatest gift I could bless them with during the holidays — time for pause.  Time to reflect.  Time for serenity.

I’m committing to three areas of provision for this gift in our home.  Perhaps we could all use a gentle reminder — care to join me?

Serenity Socially

Simply put — I’m cutting back on people contact.  Instead of succumbing children to extra doses of hustle bustle, seek to run errands in larger chunks while they stay with a spouse, friend or sitter.  If there’s a stretch of many activities, try for days ahead or afterwards of just being home, sandwiching the fullness with rest on either side.

Prioritize which people events to include the children, which to provide for another option and which to say ‘no’ to for this year.

Serenity Physically & Emotionally

Little bodies become weary much quicker than Mom or Dad, so pausing and keeping to routines and schedules should play a huge role.  When I cut short the toddler’s nap, no wonder he’s not interested in smiling for pictures later or in Christmas crafts {or such is our case, wails loudly in aforementioned craft store! Ahem.}

Evaluating how much stimuli surrounds our days is important — offering the sights and sounds of the season in bite-sized doses instead of too much at once allows children time to receive each one, and to enjoy.

When are children are physically rested, their emotions are more likely to stay in check.

Serenity Spiritually

Scheduling our families to complete a large list of hospitable and charitable activities can leave us just short of irritable.  That’s not quite the gospel Jesus had in mind.  He does asks us to meet needs of those less fortunate and to open our homes, yet we should choose wisely and carefully how to involve our families.  How can your home attend to this commission while still honoring Christ’s command to rest?

The same is true for spiritual instruction during this season – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Each passing year as we’re faithful to teach, our children understand more and more.  There’s no need to download it all at once or to fear that they won’t get ‘the reason for the season’.  They will.  A little bit at a time.

The holidays are a celebratory time, yet they’re not in isolation from the rest of life.  We can and should provide for both a joyous and peaceful season in our homes, and especially for our children.

Grace in the journey…

About devans

Daniele is a pastor’s wife, a homeschool mother of five and a passionate defender of children who need an advocate. Daniele and her family live out their days in Central Pennsylvania where she enjoys cooking, writing, reading and photography. Daniele takes pleasure in documenting family memories and nurturing the spirit of fellow believers on her blog, Domestic Serenity.

6 Responses to Serenity for Little Ones During the Holidays

  1. Marta November 21, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    I love what you said about the pauseometer. That is so true! When we deny our need for serenity things can go downhill quickly. Thank you for this post!

  2. Alex November 21, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Thank you for your encouragement. Sometimes, we as parents try so hard to give our children all the “right” experiences and information that we lose sight of the big picture: living daily with the simple truth of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. I honestly think that we should be spreading the message of Christmas over the whole year and then giving to the needy and providing for the poor and servant-hood in general, is a common activity that our children don’t have to cram into a season. Plus, our service to others shouldn’t be seasonal anyway. As for other “fun” activities, we know which things we would like to establish as traditions for our little ones and those are the ones we should focus on. I was so happy to see this post, as it gives me the chance to re-evaluate what I was going to do for my season and I am thrilled that you shared with us!

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity November 21, 2011 at 7:31 am #

      “Our service shouldn’t be seasonal anyway” — Great reminder, Alex! Appreciate the encouragement to us all….

  3. Anja November 21, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    So much wisdom in this post! Do you have some practical tips on how to involve our little ones (I have 2 toddlers) in charitable activities?

    How do I make them aware or help them understand that there are those less fortunate and blessed than us?

    Lindsay, thank you so much for all the inspiration and godly wisdom, I am so grateful for this blog and what it’s brought into my life and that of my family.

    Much love

    • Daniele @ Domestic Serenity November 21, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      Hi Anja,

      Here are some things we’ve tried, maybe you can glean from them or they’ll spark an idea:

      - take little ones to the grocery and purchase their favorite snack or non-perishable food to give away. I would purchase 2 of however many you decide to give. One for your home & one to give away. Toddlers are not interested in simply donating, I’ve found! :) Right away, drive to a food bank or designated place and give.

      - allow little ones to help in only part of a project. Let the rest of the family (or Mom) finish it up. For example, our 2yr old might only help with putting items into our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The rest of us do the other work.

      Those are off the top of my head — anyone, feel free to add!

      • Anja November 21, 2011 at 11:17 am #

        Thank you Daniele, those are brilliant practical ideas. I have been thinking of the shoebox idea and I think I’m going to get the older one (3 years old) to decorate the box with stickers…
        God bless you!!