You and the kids will have a perfect Christmas

We all do it, we dream of the perfect Christmas. We dream of families gathered around the table eating delicious food with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. We dream of an abundance of gifts under the tree, with each family member present to open their ideal gift. We think of how grateful each of our children will be and how full of joy they will be.

Sometimes we dream of snow falling gently on the ground while we sit by the fire and play board games with our children, who lovingly take turns saying please and thank you. Oh, and no tantrums if they lose.

Then we snapped back to reality and it was easy to let the mass of emotions crowd out Christmas. I realize that many people have these wonderful family experiences during the holidays. Believe it or not, we had them too! Oh, yes, even the board game part. Oh, what a precious memory that is.

But to be honest, ours wasn't perfect. So I wanted to share with you 5 ways we've found to have the perfect Christmas when life isn't perfect.

Simple Christmas Cookie Tree Pile
This easy Christmas cookie tree pile is simple, and effective and will make you look like you have elves helping you this year. Simply make or purchase cookie dough, cut out 10-14 stars (the stars need to be sized from large to small) and bake until cooked. Once cooled, coat each cookie with white icing. Once the icing has set, stack the cookies; the largest stars should go on the bottom and the smallest should go on the top. Your kids will love this stacking.

Get the award for the best-wrapped gift
If you're like us, you'll know that your dream of having elegant Christmas gifts for your loved ones is a dream that can never become a reality. However, wait, we have great holiday news for you and your loved ones! Go to your local store and ask them to provide cardboard boxes that you don't need. Then simply pop all your awkwardly wrapped items into the relevant boxes before wrapping them. If you don't have enough time for this cunning packing technique, simply purchase pretty boxes and add bows or ribbons for decoration.

Make it fun and festive
Get the lights out. Hang the tree. Blow the tunes. Decorate. Dance around the house. Invite people to come dance with you. Sing carols. Pop some popcorn. Watch a funny holiday movie (Elf is our favorite) or some standup comedy. Laugh out loud.
Get into the season. Don't wait for the season to get inside you! Dive into it headfirst and it won't wear you out. Jump in first, and it won't take long for you to realize that the season has surrounded you.

Listen to great music.
Everyone has their favorite holiday music, and it creates the background mood for the holidays. Consider music that is calm and soothing and brings calm at this busy time of year. I love Stanton Lanier's music during the holidays or any Windom Hill music.

Baking parties.
Set aside a morning with family or a few friends to enjoy baking together. Bake a batch of Christmas cookies, pumpkin bread, or your favorite holiday treats.