When I first started babysitting as a teenager, I started to pick up on a familiar trend in the homes of busy mothers. Parents would load birthday gifts or wedding presents into the car and then exclaim loudly that they had forgotten a card. All packed up and ready to go, mothers would instinctively search the house for the tot with the most underdeveloped motor skills and ask if they wanted to make a card for so and so.
A pad of paper and a few crayons later, these parents had a birthday card, a get well soon card, or an anniversary card — whatever.
There are perhaps only a few things more endearing that somebody handing you scraggly drawing and telling you that their kid made it “just for you.” I say not only employ this strategy year round, but especially during the holidays when you’re checking gifts off your list, scouring web sites for shipping deals, and figuring out what holidays dishes that you’re going to make.
Give your kids a bunch of construction paper and markers and tell them that they’re responsible for all the holiday cards this year. Make a list of Nana and Aunt Charlotte and everyone else and put them to work. Pair their work station with some Christmas cookies and say that you’ll be back to check on their creations later. It can be three scribbles of green with a dot of red and not one of your family members or acquaintances, should they have a soul, will be compelled to comment otherwise.