22 Sure-fire Ways to Survive the Holidays with Busy and Messy Kids

If all you did during the holidays was watch Christmas movies and looked at Pinterest boards, you would be deceived into thinking that the holidays are completely magical and simple. Unfortunately, if you have busy and messy kids, your house is full of much more than mistletoe and gingerbread. The first thing I want you to do is let out a big deep breath and know that you are not alone. In fact, along with my partner Bounty, I’ve gathered together some amazing tips from parents just like you, that are just trying to survive the holidays with busy and messy kids.

Sure Fire Tips to Survive the Holidays

* This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for my full disclosure.

It is a given that the holidays are a busy time, but add in some kids that are extra busy or extra messy, and the holiday can feel like a train that is madly out of control. From kids that can’t sit still at grandma’s dinner to kids that touch absolutely everything, parents need some survival tips to keep the magic alive. Look no further.

22 Sure-fire Ways to Survive the Holidays with Busy and Messy Kids

Before the big day survival tips

” Write on a calendar, beginning of December. Include the dates you plan to shop, do fun Christmastime stuff, get/decorate tree, put lights up etc. Another list for presents/include budgets! Stops you from overspending. Hire a house cleaner or at least find a sitter for a full 8 hours so you can clean..” ~ Heather C.

“Let go of your expectations of the holidays. Waking up peacefully on Christmas morning with happy kids excited to see that Santa came, sipping coffee while watching them open presents, having a calm and fun family breakfast and then peacefully watching Christmas movies and playing with toys while waiting for Christmas dinner may not be your reality, and that’s okay.” ~ Kaylene G.

“Just embrace the chaos and keep the kids involved. I find in our house if I include them in the dinner prepping, present wrapping, and clean up they are less likely to be off making messes everywhere. ”  ~Rhiannon L.

“My best advice is to just roll with the punches. I get so tired of people saying, “Why don’t you do a NORMAL Christmas?” And my answer is simply, “This is our normal. And we’re happy with it.” ~Jennifer R.

“Lower your expectations, let go of a Martha Stewart, June Cleaver or Norman Rockwell perfect Christmas. Search Pinterest to incorporate a Christmas theme into your sensory routine. Take headphones everywhere you go just in case. Talk to child about what is going to happen before the event.” ~Ed H.

“Get all the shopping done before December and shop online when you can! Leave for December only the things that truly need to be done that month. For us, that includes decorating the tree, seeing Christmas lights, and finding some small service to do as a family.” ~Heidi W.

“I take all packaging off of gifts and dispose of it before Christmas , put together any that need it and depending on age only wrap those for older kids. I have found this to be the easiest when you have multiples of a young age. Definitely helps prevent the meltdowns over “do mine first”. ” ~Karen K.

“An easy peasy tree! Right now we are in an apartment while we wait to see if we will be moving out of state. Not much room for a tree, real or fake, an spd kiddo, & two big dogs led me to look on good ol’ Pinterest & I was not disappointed! Behold: our non tree Christmas tree!” ~Brittni


“We have a giant toy cull and declutter before xmas. On the day we have the bin ready and each child has a box for their stuff is not everywhere.” ~Natasha Humphrey

Survival Tips for the Big Day

“Make breakfast the night before… egg casserole, cinnamon rolls, fruit salad. Pop the eggs and rolls in the oven to bake while you open & clean as you go.” ~Colleen B.

“For Christmas day specifically, feed them. Make bite sized goodies if you can, don’t wait for a big feast on the day of. Even if they are opening presents and eating sausage patties or egg cups, having them fed will go along way to good attitudes and for the parents too!” ~Becky J.

“Divide up tasks between all the adults who come to our Christmas. That way, Mom isn’t responsible for everything. When I’m less stressed, my kids are also better behaved. Plus, it’s easier to deal with fussy kids when you’re relaxed.” ~ Brenda P.

“Turn picking up wrapping paper into a game after Christmas morning. The trash bag becomes a “hoop” and the kids have to crumple up the paper (loud!) and “shoot” it into the trash.” ~Kaylene G.

“Ditch the idea of traditional meals for main holidays and we plan a meal we all enjoy together. Who wants Christmas pizza?” ~Sarah M.

“We eat off paper plates and use paper towels so we can enjoy Christmas instead of doing dishes.” ~Rhiannon L.

Survival Tips for the Holiday Break

“Keep them out of the house! LOL I am already planning our Christmas break survival calendar…searching all the parks and rec and community websites to see what is going on that would work for them. If they stay at home they will go bonkers.” ~ Rachael W.

“Little as possible late nights… try and keep the same schedule .. 2 weeks goes fast and just as they adjust to being off , they will go back.. and you will need to start all over again.” ~ Nikki S.

“Be ready with sensory activities, brushing and massager when things get overwhelming. I give prior notice of how and when things are going to happen.” ~Rachel R.

“I also do craft kits. I separate big kits into busy bags that are easily accessible and can be grabbed quickly and put into action. It takes some prep work which I usually do when they are in bed but the ease of just grabbing a bag when needed makes it worth it.” ~Karen K.

“Having 2 children with autism and sensory issues I pull out the big container of their own craft supplies and a old sheet and let them sit in the middle of the living room floor. So I can get stuff done. Works not just for holidays.” ~Sumner G.

“Breathe.” ~Meghanne C.

Your #1 Strategy for Surviving The Holidays With Busy Kids

Paper Towel… keep lots of paper towels on hand during the holidays.

While the holiday season is a joyous time, they also deck the halls with messes. The last thing you need is to run out of paper towels that help keep your home tidy. Stock up on Bounty paper towels before the season kicks into full gear!

Bounty Paper TowelsAfter the holiday party comes the “dreaded” clean up. When messes strike, make sure you have plenty of Bounty paper towels on hand to quickly and easily pick up.


Bounty Printable Coupons

There are a lot of things that can go crazy during the holidays with busy kids, don’t let the clean up be one of them. Let Bounty help. They want to give you a little help this holiday season too with some great coupons and offers on the paper towels you need most.

This conversation is sponsored by Bounty, as part of the Quicker Picker Upper Crew but all opinions are my own. 

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