10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Holidays with Kids

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The holidays are upon us!

Every single day we get closer, the more excited I get!

And I SO desperately look forward to everything the holiday season has to bring.

It's probably because I have been at this mom thing for a while now. I know of the secret holiday missions and the elusive planning so extended family doesn't make you go all REDRUM on them when you get snowed in with them Christmas Eve.

For those of you who are new to this game, here are some insider secrets.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about the Holidays with Kids

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You may slave away in the kitchen all day, and your kid, your nephew, and maybe even your mother-in-law will refuse to eat a thing you've made.

Pro-tip: never start a holiday season without a Costco-sized bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer and a case of wine in the garage.

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You are SO going to dig being Santa. You will actually feel magical when you see your kid's face light up when he comes into the room on Christmas morning and sees his shiny new bike under the tree.

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However, your kids will really not care all that much about the toys you give them.

Seriously, the “Christmas Day toy” phenomenon is a real thing.

They will get some things, play with them for an hour, and then discard them in the toy bin with the rest of the broken ones they never touch.

Also, the piles of wrapping paper could actually be the most thrilling part of your toddler's day, so don't go buck wild. Set a budget and stick to it — no one will be disappointed.

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A live tree may be overrated, especially if you struggle to keep things alive.

Remember: you have to water the thing.

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Frequently.

Or it will become nothing more than a prickly fire hazard that rains evil needles all over your carpet that you will be picking out of your socks for months.

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Your kids may want to do Christmas morning at an ungodly hour. We have late sleepers at our house, but I know my parents were never that lucky. (I was a strict wake-at-5-a.m.-Christmas-morning type of girl.)

Pro tip: set a time and tell them they cannot come out before it or else their presents will disappear.

Because magic!

If your little ones are too young to tell time, tell them they can't get up until the darkness is gone, or until you come get them. You'll be happy to snag any extra minutes of sleep so you can be well rested to deal with kitchen duties and extended-family personalities all day!

{ MORE: Father’s Day Gifts for Every Kind of Dad }

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Work on your back story. Listen, magic is hard to swallow when reality starts becoming a part of your real life.

As your kids age, the questions will begin. If you're a heartless creature who does not believe in the beauty of magic, you can just tell them the truth. But if you want to prolong the loss of innocence and continue to revel in their wonder, make sure you have some answers that make sense.

For example, when they ask why the game they got has the price tag on it, you may want to say that the elves got busy and had to buy some of the gifts with magic money Santa gave them.

Or, er, something.

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Santa is possibly the best behavior-modification tool ever invented. Saying his name anytime in December is like throwing a bucket of act right on your kids — provided you've done a good job supporting the magic.

Pro tip: support the magic.

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Your children will not respect their special holiday outfits.

Or yours.

Don't waste your money on anything too spectacular. They will stain it with cranberry juice and poop up the back of it just like the five pack of onesies they ruin on the regular.

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The Elf is a MAJOR commitment. Your kids will notice if s/he doesn't move, and believe me when I say this: you're going to forget to move it.

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The memories you make will be priceless — even the one where you catch the ham on fire and everyone has to eat Christmas dinner at Bob Evans.

OK, especially the one where you catch the ham on fire and everyone has to eat Christmas dinner at Bob Evans.

{ MORE: Why Parents Are Obsessed with Shows like This Is Us and Parenthood }

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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Holidays with Kids

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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