Let presence be your holiday present.


The present is you.

Holidays can be magical. They also can be loaded with stress and (sometimes self-imposed) responsibilities for parents. Here are 5 tips for staying in the moment, plus a DIY wrapping paper you can create with the Santa's Little Helper in your life.

By Ramona Cruz-Peters @fabeverydayblog

family with christmas tree on car
Photo: Getty Images

1. Get a Head Start

Prep in advance when possible so you can enjoy the holidays with less pressure. Getting shopping done early and choosing gift-wrapping and ship-to options when shopping online will reduce stress later and cut out a few steps.

2. Say Yes to Joy

The temptation to do it all can keep us too busy to enjoy time with those we love. When faced with an optional task, ask yourself if it will add to the memories and bring you joy. If the answer is no, decline or take a guilt-free shortcut. (Store-bought cookies will be just fine for that school party.)

3. Step Away from the Camera

Experience things with your eyes (not just through the lens). As dad Jeff Bogle (of the blog Out with the Kids) notes, some things are best experienced when you set the camera or phone down. Keep that in mind at your child's holiday performances.

4. Put Your Kid Hat On

One of the best ways to pull yourself into the present is to try and see holidays through the kids' eyes. Seeing their wonder, joy, and innocence can bring the magic of the holidays back for you, too, and remind you of what really matters.

5. Don't Skip Traditions

Whether it's the tamale assembly line, the annual viewing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," or letting the kids open one present early, holiday traditions are important. Honor yours. They're the good times that everyone will remember!

Do-It-Together Wrapping Paper

Here's a fun DIY project you can do with the kids. Use mini cookie cutters and a potato to create this cute stamped paper with your favorite little humans. A monochromatic color scheme gives this old trick a more modern look.


  • Potato
  • Mini tree, circle, diamond, or triangle-shape cookie cutters
  • Knife
  • White and/or black tempera paint
  • Paper Plates
  • Kraft paper, butcher paper, or upcycled paper bags
homemade gift wrap supplies
Photo: Allrecipes Magazine


  1. Cut a potato in half.
  2. Press a cookie cutter into the cut side of one potato half.
  3. Use a knife to cut away excess potato around outside edges of cookie cutter. Remove cutter. Repeat with other potato half to make another stamp.
  4. Pour paint onto paper plates, one color per plate. Working with one color at a time, dip stamp into paint, blot on scrap paper to remove excess paint, and then stamp all over the kraft or butcher paper, dipping and blotting as needed.
  5. Let dry.

Stock up! Paint extra sheets and roll them up for next year.

homemade gift wrapped presents
Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.