Below are some things that we do to celebrate Christmas. Most of these things are also inexpensive. It’s funny how when you’re trying to simplify and focus on the things that matter in life like relationships, it often doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.
1. Hot chocolate!
Pair hot chocolate with anything and it makes it more fun! My kids typically don’t get hot chocolate
during the year so this is a real treat for them. A tradition we started a few years ago is to
watch the Disney movie, “Polar Express” when it comes on the Disney Channel. Yes, it is about Santa but I just love this
movie. The graphics are awesome and I love
the music. When they start singing the “Hot
Chocolate” song, we have hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. I make them wait for the song though. :) We also have special Christmas mugs that we
break out just for hot chocolate and Christmas Eve dinner. But, pick any movie
and make it one that you watch together every year.
2. Drive around and look at Christmas
lights. Pair that up with none other
than, hot chocolate! Or we do tea for my
daughter who can’t handle a lot of chocolate because of oxalate
issues. Anything that’s warm. Put it in a travel mug with a lid and head
out. We have a couple of streets near us
where the whole block sets up lights. Turn
on the Christmas music and do your best ooh, aah…pretty!
3. Use special dinnerware for Christmas
dinner and Christmas breakfast. We
bought a whole set of Christmas dishes at Linens N’ Things when they had their
going out of business sale. I got them
70% off. Check for sales right after
Christmas. I think my daughter’s
favorite part of Christmas dinner is setting the table. We have a special fancy red table cloth,
candles, and Mickey Christmas linen napkins.
(I'll post a picture in a couple weeks.)
4. Make it a point to set some
traditions with your family. It doesn’t
have to be anything fancy, but something that your family does every year. Last year, my daughter was in love with
Justin Bieber so I got her his Christmas CD.
We played “Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe” while they opened their
presents. So we (my daughter and I
anyway) decided every year we should listen to that song while we opened
presents. Now we might get sick of
Justin Bieber after a few years, but we’ll find something to listen to.
5. Give toilet paper for Christmas. Huh?
Each of my kids gets a roll of toilet paper for Christmas and I think it’s
actually one of their favorite gifts. It
was my son’s idea. They then have a
toilet paper fight and kind of T.P. the house.
Most of it is just them unrolling the toilet paper and then running up
and down the stairs and through the house with it. Sound like a big mess? It is, but my only stipulation is that they
clean it up and they agree to it. They
have a lot of fun with it and I’m sure it’s something they’ll remember for a
6. Stuff stockings with little notes or
gift certificates. These are great for
the kids to give to mom too! For Mother’s
Day this year my son made two notes from him and his little brother (nice of
him to nominate his brother) that said, “I will do whatever you ask me the
first time you ask me.” J
Gee, thanks honey. You should do
that anyway! I did use it though. But for the kids, you can put in there things
like “Have a friend sleep over”, “Sleep in mom’s room for a night”, “Get out of
chores for a day”, “I’m the boss day” (after mom of course), “Choice of dessert
made”, “Get to sleep in an extra hour” (This is for my 12 year old. I make him get up at 9am on the weekends.), or
whatever fits your family.
7. Make cookies! Of course.
But what makes cookie making even more fun is to add in a Ginger Bread
Boy Hunt. I like to make sure we have
read a Gingerbread Boy book some time in December before we do this. We have a few really cute ones that my kids love.
This book has been loved on. We also like "Gingerbread Baby" and "Snow Dude."
Then we make any kind of cut out cookie in the shape of Gingerbread men. You don’t have to make Gingerbread
cookies but you can. We usually make sugar
cookies. I did find out by mistake one
year that if you use whole wheat flour instead of regular white flour, the
cookies come out the color of Gingerbread cookies. I also accidentally added an extra stick of
butter! They tasted awesome but the
dough was a little stickier and harder to work with. I’m thinking if you use whole wheat flour you
need to add some extra butter or else they will turn out dry because these
tasted so good.
But anyways, I make up little “Gingy Notes” and hide them all around the
house. The kids have to follow the clues
on the notes to find where the Gingerbread boy is. I leave one Gingerbread boy cookie for each
of my kids on a plate at the final destination.
They love doing this! Plan to be
asked over and over again to play this though.
And of course they’ll want the
cookies at the end again. The only
problem is you’d have to make up new notes each time you play.
For the clues, I wrote things like “Look for your first clue in a place
that is very hot. It is somewhere I don’t like to go.” Then place the clue in the oven. I need to make new clues this year. I will list our Gingy Notes on my recipe
blog this week. You have to kind of tailor it to your house.
You can also decorate a Gingerbread house. Your
kids don’t have to eat the house, but my kids enjoyed decorating one last year from
a kit that someone had given to us.
8. Give photo albums to your kids as
gifts. I’m not a scrap booker, but this year
I bought four of the same photo albums and God willing, I’m going to fill them
with old pictures of each child for them to keep forever. A couple of years ago, our computer crashed and
we lost all of our information and all of our photos. L
I was so bummed. But, I still
have most of the hard copies that I had printed so I want to put them to some
use before those get destroyed or lost too.
I want each book to be filled primarily with pictures of themselves (school
pictures, birthdays, and others). It will
of course contain pictures of their siblings too but the focus will mostly be
on them. I want them to have something that
they can keep forever. I also wanted
something that shows them that they are unique and special. Being one of four kids, they can sometimes
miss out on that. I plan to give them
those on Christmas as a gift.
I also want to print a photo album of the last year and start a Davis
family yearbook of sorts. Each year, it
will contain pictures from the previous year.
I’m terrible about scrapbooking, so I figure this I might be able to
pull off. I just made one for my mom of
all the grandkids that was 20 pages long and putting it together wasn’t too bad. I used www.shutterfly.com.
9. Make homemade marshmallows. Stuff their stockings with baggies of them and tell them it's snowman poop. :) My kids think this is hilarious.
10. Don't fret the small stuff. This year, my son took off his nice church clothes and put on a skull T-shirt right before a Christmas party and right before I had just gotten my 2 year old all dressed and ready to take pictures. He refused to change or to take nice pictures. I spared my 12 year old from dressing in matching sibling outfits this year. Although I do think it looked so cute last year.
Instead of fighting with him and stressing out about it, I just said, "Oh well. Say cheese." Normally this would have been a big affair. I would have gotten mad at him and made him change. My kids hate taking pictures. I got what pictures I could and didn't worry about it. Life is about more than a perfect picture sometimes...sometimes. :)
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