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Life After Christmas: Dealing With the Holiday Letdown

Many families go through it every year. It’s like the quiet after the storm, or you could call it the “aftermath of Christmas,” and it isn’t always pretty.

Christmas is like a fantasy-land of dreams when you are a child. It can be overwhelming for children to experience all the glitter and glow of the holidays- the Christmas decor, the tree, the lights, the goodies, the movies, trips to concerts and parades. Then there are all the gifts, which are opened with a bang as the room fills with squeals of delight and excitement.

There is no doubt about it, Christmas takes its toll on every child and every parent. The excitement of Christmas can go on for days, but after the wave of excitement, there is can be a letdown.

As a parent, it is best to prepare yourself for the sometimes dreary days of January and the anguish of children who can be overtired and overstimulated. You will most likely see more fighting between siblings, more unhappy screams about everyday things that seem to get blown out of proportion. This is because going through the holidays can be exhausting.

Getting back into the normal swing of things after the holidays can be tough for both parents and kids. Following all the excitement, when the letdown comes,  you will know it. Kids will complain about boredom and will be harder to handle.

So, how do you prepare for it and deal with it?

The answer is easy. Just make some plans. 

There are several ways to be prepared and to make the transition back to normal living easier. Here are some ideas:

Establish a time schedule for daily tasks As ruler of the roost, you as a parent are doing yourself a favor if you make sure your kids know what is expected of them. Establish set times for things like dinner, bath time and bedtime. Be strict about bedtime, and don’t let your children talk you out of it. If you decide bedtime is 8 or 9 pm, you can help your kids wind down and relax before that time, so they are ready to go to sleep.

Do a familiar or easy activity with them Try reading stories, or doing a favorite craft or coloring activity with them. Spend time looking at all the holiday photos on your phone or tablet with them on your lap. Or, if you have some photographs from years past in an album, or a new photo book you just put together, you could browse through it with them. Just sit down and hold them on your lap and be close. Help them relax and unwind before bedtime.
Bath time and dinner time should be relatively at the same time every day, to help your kids get back into a routine.

Spend alone time with each child One thing that has always worked great in my house is to just take a few minutes to devote your time to each child (in houses with more than one of course). This will be your child’s time with you where you are not interrupted by anything else. Leave the cell phone in another room while you sit and talk with your child. Remind them how much you love them and want to know how their day was. Talk about anything they want to and just listen. You will be amazed by what kind of things they want to talk about.

Make plans to do an outside activity Winter fun can sometimes seem like a limited thing, but try and come up with ideas on things to do with your children. There are lots of ways to have fun in winter. Maybe you could go to an ice skating rink, or a roller skating arena, or to a movie. You could plan on taking a walk with them in the park, and if there is snow, you could take out the inner tubes and do some sliding. It is amazing how much fun you can have with kids just doing the simplest things. You could even invite a couple of their friends over and have a marshmallow roast over the backyard wood burning firepit.

These are all easy things to do to help kids recover from all the excitement of the Christmas holiday and prepare them for getting back into the daily routine at your house. These are simple things I have always done and believe me, they work. As a parent we all learn to do the best we can with anything our kids throw at us!

As far as the household commotion and turmoil that happens after kids become over-tired,  my best advice is just to keep calm and chive on!

Karen Bresnahan's picture
Idaho journalist and mother

Karen Bresnahan is a journalist, photographer and artist from Boise, Idaho. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Photography from the University of Idaho and owns Idaho Naturals Photography and Desertscapes, KB Lifelines Positive Quotes, and Romantic Idaho Weddings. She is the proud mother of 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. Karen enjoys writing about health and fitness, motivation, positive relationships and parenting.  You can email her at or message her on Twitter @idaho1111, visit her website at or see idahonaturalkaren on Instagram. See more of her writing at