Because my house pretty much still looks like this:

Honk if you see the cat.  It's like a Where's Waldo game.

I'm trying to take a little time off from the computer.  It's been a busy year and December kind of caught me off guard this time around.  I managed to pull Christmas together with all the other demands on our time this year, but in mostly a half-assed way.  Let's just say that I'm feeling rather pleased with myself that I didn't have to come up with some lie where Santa had the flu and shows up a month later when it's way more convenient for me. (Though that's an interesting lie and there's already been a TV show about it... so I think I could pull it off if necessary. I'll be keeping that one in my back pocket.)  All I  want for Christmas is my balance back.

I know it seems counter-intuitive, and it probably is counterproductive, but when I'm crazy torn in a hundred directions, I tend to try and keep the kids busy doing weird little crafts so they don't notice that all I'm really doing is trying to get them out of my hair.  Since so many people were appreciative of my posting of the ornament craft with plenty of time to find acrylic flow release (hint: you don't actually need that stuff) and glass craft ornaments (hint: you can find plastic if you think kids will put their thumbs through each one and you haven't scheduled in the time for the emergency room visit) before Christmas -- and then sent me emails with the subject line, "You SUCK" -- I'm sure these following ideas, coming two days after Christmas, will be even more popular.

Ways to get your children out of your hair around Christmas

Ask them to wrap presents:

You're gonna need to make sure you've got at least eleventy-seven extra rolls of tape and then hold your composure when you find they've individually taped all their toes as well.  But this is an awesome way to keep them busy for an hour with very little supervision.

Have them make Santa napkin holders:

These make excellent busy work when you're stuck in a Christmas church music program rehearsal that's supposed to last forty-five minutes and instead goes for three hours on Christmas Eve.  They also make excellent hostess gifts for the people who invited you to Christmas Eve dinner along with thirty of your closest friends. 

Cook up some magical reindeer food for Santa's team:

This keeps them busy for at least an hour and has the added bonus and making a huge mess out of your kitchen, but you don't care because you haven't cleaned your kitchen since November, so have at it.  

It makes an especially large mess if you got all creative and purchased edible silver cake grafitti spray paint to create an added luster.  But you can also huff the fumes if you need a bit of an escape from the day.  Quick tip: Some recipes add glitter, which I suppose you could do and make sure parents know that their children can't eat it, but then you can't reuse leftover oats and make children eat them for breakfast the next day. Reindeer indeed.

You can make a ton of these and give as gifts to the kids at the dinner party you're attending on Christmas Eve.  Then when people say how creative you are and what a great mom you must be because you spent so much time with your kids, you can just smile bashfully and forget to mention that you stole the idea off the interweb.  

Don't forget to actually let them feed Santa's reindeer with it that night.