Thanks so much for the comments you shared on my last post, I've been looking forward to having a few spare moments to write out part 2 of my Homemade Christmas series.
On my last post I shared what our family has done in the past, and why we are choosing to go towards a more simple Christmas. There's so much talk about the "commercialism" of Christmas these days, and I see the evidence of that in stores, not to mention commercials on TV geared towards kids and toys. I make it a point to explain to my children why there is a Christmas in the first place, and I do this starting now in October when their minds start moving in that direction.
Like I said in my last post I do want our kids to enjoy the Christmas season and all that goes into it, but there's more than just presents involved in making a memorable Christmas for your family. For example, cookie baking throughout the season is always a big hit in my family. Our kids love baking goodies in the kitchen, and tasting their treats along the way. I am going to make it a point this Christmas season to do a good amount of baking with the kids. They love baking sugar cookies, cutting out Christmas shapes and decorating them how they wish. I really don't care if they make perfect looking cookies that are decorated the way I would decorate them, I just want them to have fun and remember this time as a special time spent with their mom. I do plan on taking a trip to the Dollar Tree and buying a few baking supplies- Christmas sprinkles, Christmas cupcake liners, etc. It should only cost a few dollars but the kids will love all the festive decorations they'll get to use. I also want to talk to the kids about hospitality this Christmas season, and take some of our baked goodies to others- teaching them that "it's more blessed to give than to receive". And of course during this goody-baking time, the TV will be off and Christmas music will be playing in the background. I'll make it a point that we won't be rushed, we will just enjoy the time spent with eachother.
Another activity I plan on doing this year, that I've done for the past 3 years is to do a countdown to Christmas using Christmas books we've collected over the years. My mom got us started on this tradition a few years ago and the kids have really enjoyed it. We have close to 25 Christmas books, if not a few more, that I wrap up each individually. I then tape a number to each book and each night the kids find the book that corresponds with that particular date, they get to take turns unwrapping them and then we get to read it together. It's like the advent calendars that are out there that allow kids to countdown the days to Christmas. I usually need to buy a couple rolls of Christmas wrapping paper to wrap all 25 books, but other than that this activity costs nothing since I already have enough books. In years past when I didn't have 25 books I would try to buy a few new ones to add to my collection. I also went to our library and borrowed a few, those borrowed books were the first to be unwrapped so that I made sure they were returned on time. This activity allows the kids the fun of unwrapping something, but also gave us time together, reading as a family and spending those few moments with eachother. We would do this at night before bedtime, and read in the light of the lit Christmas tree.
I also have a few different weekend Christmas craft activities planned, one being Christmas card making. Usually I order photo cards through Shutterfly or Kodak each year, but this year I thought it would be fun for the kids to make our Christmas cards. This will be a way that will allow the kids to feel involved, but it will also save us some money. I plan on buying some cardstock in varying Christmas colors, stickers, and other embellishments. Last year I saw that the Dollar Tree sold a lot of Christmas stickers, so I'm hoping this year will be the same. I'll probably print up a Christmas verse from the Bible and lets the kids glue it on the outside, and I'll let them be the ones to write a short Christmas message on the inside. And again, during this time the TV will be off and the Christmas music will be playing.
One other activity that I plan on having the
kids help me with is to prepare the gifts we'll be giving to other family members (aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.). I found quite a few recipes for making your own coffee mocha mix, orange spiced cider mix, jarred apple pumpkin butter, and raspberry shortbread cookies. The kids are at an age that they would be great helpers doing these kinds of things, and I know they would feel special being able to help make these gifts for our loved ones.
And I can't forget decorating the Christmas tree as a family, getting out all our Christmas movies and watching them together as a family, playing in the snow then coming inside for hot chocolate! There are quite a few activities that will allow my children to have a fun and memorable Christmas season without focusing on gifts.
But speaking of gifts, I'm writing out the list of gifts we'll be making and am looking for pictures to include in the post that will give you a better idea of the homemade gifts we'll be making. That will be the next post in this series, so I hope you'll come back for Part 3 in this Homemade Christmas series.
But tell me, what do you do to make your Christmas memorable, without focusing on gifts?