24 November 2014

Holiday preparation, with kids.

The holidays are sneaking up on us and will be knocking at our door with egg nog and fruitcake before we know it.  I always have big ideas about things I would love to accomplish and do between Thanksgiving and Christmas to live up the holiday cheer and I've learned if I am not intentional about setting dates for these things or expressing my plans to my sweet and complying husband, they will not get done.

As Gideon gets older, and as we prepare to grow our family again, I can't help but dream about the holiday traditions I want to follow us through the years.  Obviously, these will morph and change as we get older, but I want the basis to be the same.  What better time to start than now?  So here is a quick list of things to do to prepare for, and be intentional in, the holiday season this year:

1. Santa.  He is EVERYWHERE this time of year.  Believe it or not, you will one day want to look back at that photo of your screaming toddler sitting in his lap, if for nothing else than a good laugh.  Head to the nearest mall, wait in the line, and pay the fare. I promise the grandparents will appreciate the photo and will promptly display it on their fridge.

2. Christmas cards.  This time of year is the perfect opportunity to get your family dressed to impress, semi-smiling and lined up for an awesome family photo.  Then pick your poison in the form of Christmas cards. We used Tiny Prints this year. Their selection is awesome and easy to personalize.  Christmas cards are my favorite thing to do.  I save one each year, and to see our family progression from newlyweds to expecting parents to a family of three and now a family of three expecting again is priceless.  It is the best way to keep your long distance family and friends updated.

3. Surprise family activities. I love the idea of having a jar filled with Christmas activities and as a family you complete one each night leading up to Christmas Eve.  I also know that December is often packed to the max with company parties, wrapping gifts, and running around town to find that one present that is sold out everywhere else.  But, the good thing is you can tailor this to your family.  At two years old, Gideon would not be super accommodating to a nightly activity, but doing maybe two a week would work for us.  Here are some ideas:

+ Bundle up in pajamas, grab some hot chocolate (and marshmallows!) and drive around your town to admire the Christmas lights. 

+ Gingerbread house.  I'm not a super creative person, so I would totally need to buy one of those kits to make these.  Make it a contest and try to get most of the candy on the house and not in their little mouths.

+ Christmas movie night.  Make a pallet of blankets and pillows in your living room, pop some popcorn and pick a family fun Christmas movie to watch.  For smaller kids, you could always go with the Curious George Christmas special that's on Netflix.  It won't be too hard to hold their attention for that length of time.

+ Bust out those tree and star cookie cutters and get to work baking.  Let your kiddos go at it with icing and sprinkles to decorate.  You could wrap them up and hand them out to neighbors or selfishly sit on your couch with a large glass of milk and devour them all (no judgement here!).

4. Volunteer.  Find some way to give back or give away.  There are plenty of opportunities to serve food to those who need it, buy gifts for families who can't, and to show your kids that it's beneficial to  think past yourself.  

5. Special ornament.  Who doesn't love Christmas ornaments?  No one, I say.  Every year, when Target starts setting up their display, I have to take my time wandering through and touching every single ornament before deciding which ones must join our tree.  

When we first got married our tree was bare, but over the years it has started to overflow with ornaments.  Each year, we pick out a special ornament and give it to each other a few days before Christmas.  The ornament has special meaning or reminded us of the person.  A guitar for my husband because he loves to play, an "expecting parents" ornament for me while waiting for the birth of our first babe.  This would be great to do each year for your child/children and in turn you would be building their ornament collection from the start.

Celebrating Christmas and the holidays with kids is one of the most fulfilling things.  It is all new and exciting in their eyes.  So, put on your apron and your crafty pants, and start planning now to intentionally enjoy the time.

1 comment:

  1. I love your organization. We didn't always send pictures with Christmas cards until lately but usually sent a letter. I wish I had saved all of those over the years. It would have been fun to look back at what happened that year. Good job being an awesome wife, mom and homemaker.


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