WHITNEY: Keep kids in mind at Christmastime

Betwixt the lighted Christmas trees in the holiday décor display at Menards, I found my daughter dancing to Trans Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells.”

Not merely dancing, but rocking out. Extremely hard.

It was the most Christmas thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life.

So of course, I set my coffee in the cart and danced with her. How could I resist?

Although that little anecdote suggests otherwise, our trip to Menard’s that day probably was mostly about me. We could’ve been outside playing — Olivia even noted “it’s sunny day!” as we walked inside — but I was on a Christmas mission to get some lights for the front porch. I would’ve told you I was doing that for her, because I thought she’d marvel at the lights, but it was more or less about me. She was just along for the ride.

But the dance party? That part was for her.

It kind of gets this way around the holidays.

When we’re home, I make an effort to be present and playful with my daughter, but I can admit to dropping the ball when we’re traveling to see our families and friends or scrambling to finish those Christmas to-do lists.

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle during the holidays. A lot of “we’ll be there in a minute,” and “we can’t right now,” and “just one more stop.” I don’t think I’m especially great at carving out focused time for my kid when we’re out of our element.

So I’m going to try to do better this year. I’m going to make sure, from now until Christmas, I do no less than one thing a day especially for my kiddo.

Let’s all try to do something every day for our kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews, especially during Christmas.

Let them help bake and decorate the cookies, even if it would be easier to do it on your own while they watch Spongebob Squarepants in the other room. Embrace the spilled sugar, the floured faces and sticky fingers. Look the other way when those same sticky fingers sneak into the fresh frosting.

Make sure they can touch the decorations on the tree. Let them hang the ornaments, even if they hang them in a cluster at the bottom.

Get outside for a snowball fight or to build a snowman. Stay out longer than you might prefer and indulge in hot chocolate or coffee when you come in.

Build a fort. Use all the blankets and all the pillows. Crawl inside and read a book. Maybe my suggestions are cliché, a little wistful for a truly Dickensian Christmas. Your holidays might look a little different — maybe you roll 1,000 tamales with your aunts (if so, call me), take a trip to the Florida Keys or make an annual family outing to a Christmas night movie.

Whatever you’re doing, let your kids leave their mark on it. Christmas, after all, is all about kids.