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It's the most wonderful time of the year, they say.

But what they don't say: it can be busy and stressful and exhausting—especially for you, mama.

You've got a lot of things swirling around in that mind of yours: pulling out the holiday decorations, decorating your spaces, finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones, stuffing their stockings, wrapping all those gifts, setting the menu, preparing for guests or preparing to travel, cleaning your home, and all the other things swirling in your mind.

But, if you're anything like us, the most important thing is making things magical for the littles. Because, really, the holidays are so much more fun with kids.

Here's a little secret from our not-so-expert selves: you don't have to do something extravagant every hour of every day in December to make it magical. A little intentional planning goes a long way for them.

Magic isn't exclusive to the big, wild, extravagant Pinterest-worthy parties. Magic can be created out of scraps of paper and cups of hot chocolate and baking and reading books.

So, we put together a list of 15 simple things you can do to create that magic. Pick a few, do a little planning, and when the time comes—ENJOY IT!

Let's get to it.

  1. Decorate the tree: Crank up the Christmas music and make a batch of hot chocolate and break-and-bake cookies while you decorate the tree!

  2. Hang an Advent Calendar: Grab an Advent Calendar to hang on your wall with pockets. Make a trip to the Dollar Store or Dollar Spot and fill it with favorites. It's a fun way to celebrate the countdown to Christmas. It doesn't have to be candy, either! Think about necessities you need to restock (toothpaste, hand sanitizer, bows, etc.) and not-sugary treats.

  3. Read, read, read: Stock up on holiday books to read each night as you lead up to Christmas! Our favorites: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I Spy Christmas Edition, Construction Site on Christmas Night, A Very Fuddles Christmas, Little Blue Truck Christmas, The Polar Express, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, and The Night Before Christmas.

  4. Buy your stocking stuffers in one click: Skip the stress of buying stocking stuffers for your littles and order your Done-For-You Stocking Stuffers from Persnickety! #shamelessplug

  5. Watch a Christmas movie: Pick a Christmas movie to watch as a family and make a fun holiday treat (or simply buy a box of Christmas Tree Cakes from your grocery store). Can't-Go-Wrong Hits: Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original, of course), Klaus, The Polar Express, and Rudolf!

  6. Bake (easy) Christmas cookies: Make Christmas cookies the lazy-mom way. Grab pre-made sugar cookie dough, pre-made icing, and sprinkles from the store. Get this set of Christmas Cookie Cutters and get to decorating!

  7. Get crafty (with easy kits): Feeling crafty? Spare yourself several trips to Hobby Lobby or Michael's! We love the Christmas Craft Kit, DIY Snow Globe, and Paper Mache Ornament Kit from Kid Made Modern.

  8. Make Christmas cards: Send kid-made Christmas Cards to your favorite people. While the photo cards are so fun to get, homemade cards from your littles are the definition of heartwarming. All you need is paper and some markers or crayons!

  9. Visit a tree farm: Whether you use a faux tree (like Julie!) or get a fresh one each year (like Irene!), a trip to a local Christmas tree farm is always so fun. Pack a few candy canes and wander around to soak in the Christmas magic.

  10. Write letters to Santa: These are more fun for you to hold onto for keepsakes! You can even mail them to the North Pole.

  11. Meet Santa: While they try to nickel and dime you for prints, some places like Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's offer free Santa photos.

  12. Practicing giving as a family: Pick a child or family to sponsor locally and take a family trip to Walmart or Target to buy their Christmas presents.

  13. Paint with snow: No, not actual snow (you are welcome, Florida friends!). Use this simple recipe for this fun activity.

  14. Research holiday events for kids around you: We love going to a fun "Breakfast with Santa" or local lights show. Often, kids' museums will have special events to enjoy throughout the season!

  15. Plan a family Christmas light date: You won't even believe the extravagance of some people's light displays, likely nearby. Most local papers do write-ups about great neighborhoods to go "light-looking". Google and set a date. Then, don your holiday jammies, crank up the tunes, grab a festive drink from a coffee shop, and prepare to oooohhh and ahhhhh over the outrageous electric bills they are racking in.

We can't wait to see what magic unfolds for you and yours this season!