As the Holidays near, children ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation. A house full of kids is hardly a vacation for Parents, however, especially when they're getting Black Friday blitzed. Advertisers know just how to target the Christmas gimmes. If you're not concerned about greedy kids, you should be. Research says many develop holiday related behavior issues coveting toys and Christmas gifts. Don't let your season of joy turn into the nightmare before Christmas. Start kids early helping and giving back instead of just taking. Here are ways to engage older children in holiday preparation.

Kids in the holiday kitchen

Why not put rambunctious young to work in the Thanksgiving kitchen? Give them an official job title (kids love titles). The Spud Buddy peels white and sweet potatoes for cooking. The Miller uses the applesauce mill to make the applesauce. The Dairyman shakes the whipping cream in a glass jar to make butter. The Baker prepares bread, rolls, canned biscuits or croissants. The Pie Guys measure ingredients, pare fruit (with a plastic knife or teach knife safety) and bake apple and pumpkin pies. The Stuffer preps celery, onions and bread cubes and puts stuffing into the turkey.

Household jobs for kids

The Package Opener/ box crusher gathers up recycling, collapses boxes, folds bags, cleans cans and removes labels as food is being made.

The Chair Washer wipes down seats for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas dinner (kids are great at this because they can see dirt adults miss). The Table Captain counts out forks, knives, spoons, plates, cups, and napkins and lays the table. for all guests (math lesson!) The Beverage Server takes drink requests from guests (no alcohol), makes sure there are coasters on the tables.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

The Mess Monitor wipes up food, beverage and cooking spills.

Kids' holiday arts and crafts

Give easily distracted children the title of Artist in Residence. Let him create banners, napkin rings, holiday crafts, place cards and tablecloths and decorations with free printables. The Poet Laureate composes thanksgiving and welcome poems, food blessings and prayers.

The Scribe helps younger kids make a "Giving Thanks" chain. Each family member shares something they are thankful and the scribe writes one on each link of the chain to go from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Read Thank-you notes at dinner or remove one link each day of the holiday season. Emergent readers might be helped to read chain links.