back to top

Holiday Activities Ranked By The Odds Of Your Kid Melting Down

"Pa rum pa tantrum, rum pa tantrum."

Posted on

20. Christmas crafts.

Flickr: the_pdub / Via Creative Commons

For the most part, this is a nice, low-risk activity. That being said, if the finished craft doesn't turn out the way your kid hoped, all hell could break loose.

Risk of Meltdown

19. Driving around to look at the lights.

This is normally fun for the whole family, but if you leave your kids in the car too long you risk turning your "silent night" into "Hark! The herald angels scream."

Risk of Meltdown: LOW

18. Getting a Christmas tree at a lot.

Flickr: j_regan / Via Creative Commons

Fact: You're not buying the 11-foot-tall, $200 tree even though your kid fall is in love with it. Cue meltdown city when you leave with a normal-sized one.

Risk of Meltdown: LOW

17. Cutting down a Christmas tree.

Flickr: nguarracino / Via Creative Commons

Here you have all the same meltdown risks involved in the Christmas tree lot scenario, but with the added potential of "I wanna hold the saw by myself!" drama thrown in.

Risk of meltdown: LOW/MEDIUM


16. Listening to a reading of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.


Younger kids have trouble understanding 19th century English terminology, which would lead to a lot more meltdowns if the poem wasn't so mercifully short.

Risk of meltdown:

14. Attending a performance of A Christmas Carol.

Flickr: theatrebhs / Via Creative Commons

Kids enjoy this classic (especially with all the ghost stuff), but the nearly two and a half hour running time will cause some little ones to lose their you know whats.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM

13. Making holiday cookies.

The trouble here comes once the cookies are in the oven. Say "Just twenty more minutes" at your own peril.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM


12. Building a gingerbread house.

Flickr: gardener41 / Via Creative Commons

If kids get squirrely when they have to wait 20 minutes for cookies to bake, they get really squirrely when they can't eat their gingerbread house at all (or at least for a day or two).

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM

11. Christmas caroling.

If your kid finds this embarrassing, then you can pretty much guarantee they'll make a scene midway through "Jingle Bells" at your neighbor's house.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM

10. Decorating the family Christmas tree.

But I wanted to put my ornament on that branch, they said. WAAAAHHHHHH, they said. Yay, Christmas!

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM

9. Attending midnight mass.

Flickr: cinemadreams / Via Creative Commons

Keeping kids up this late the night before Christmas has disaster written all over it. The only reason this isn't ranked higher is because kids try to keep it together in case Santa is still watching.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM/HIGH


8. Taking in a tree lighting ceremony.

This is a whole lot of standing around and waiting for...the flick of a switch. When you hear the first "I'm tired," you might as well pack it in.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM/HIGH

7. Playing in the snow.

Flickr: ruthanddave / Via Creative Commons

Kids go all in initially, but after a couple hours of cold, not to mention a snowball or two in face, the waterworks are all but guaranteed.

Risk of meltdown: MEDIUM/HIGH


1. Attending a performance of The Nutcracker.

Flickr: panacheart / Via Creative Commons

What genius dreamed up the idea of taking your kid to sit through two hours (ahem, TWO HOURS) of ballet at Christmas?

Risk of meltdown: You're screwed.