Christmas is that beautiful time of year where there seems to be service in the air, happiness in our hearts, giving in abundance, so the world seems to spin a little better, maybe even brighter than the rest of the year.
Here are some HOLIDAY TIPS to make MEMORIES, to enjoy each MOMENT, to truly find JOY in the holidays…
Creating traditions is a great way to incorporate memories. Do you have any holiday traditions that make your holidays memorable?? Do you create gingerbread houses, have a winter walk during the first snow fall, bundle up and read holiday stories??
Here are some ideas to make it MEMORABLE:
Visit a local light display: At our house we go to a local pond, take hot cocoa and take pics with the beautiful lit up floating trees.
Santa Letters: We also have a night where cousins come over, write letters to Santa & we then send them to the North Pole via a bonfire and hot cocoa.
Open a Present Early: We have Christmas Eve pajamas.
Movie Marathon: We have special movie nights where we watch a marathon of Santa Claus, the Snow Globe movies, or our Hallmark favorites.
A gift to the animals: We also decorate a tree in our backyard with orange slices, birdseed bells and read Eve Buntings “The Night Tree.”
Celebrate St Nicholas’ Day: In Holland children leave their clogs out for St. Nicholas to leave them little gifts inside. We also have a special pair of wooden clogs that we put out on December 6th and each person in our family writes something nice on a piece of paper & we put it in the clog. That evening we read them together.
Special Ornaments: Let each child pick out a special ornament for the season. Maybe it symbolizes something special that happened to them during the year or just expresses who they are this year. You could also make your own ornaments with glass balls and paint.
Grandpa & Grandma gift: Give your child a certain dollar amount & have them find a fun gift or use the money to buy supplies to make them a special gift that they wrap and then give to grandparents.
Christmas Poppers: I have wanted to do this idea, so this is the year!! Take tissue paper and cover each toilet paper roll. Take ribbon and tie to close one end of the roll. Fill it with candies and confetti (if you wish). Tie the other end with ribbon and place these in each family member’s stocking. These can be opened on Christmas morning. To make them extra special, have your child write a note to each family member and tuck them inside. It will be a special surprise for everyone!
Give: Find a local charity or even a toy box & with your family pick out some great gifts to then give. A couple of years ago I found a whole bag of Barbie Kelly Dolls at a thrift store, so my daughter and I cleaned them up, fixed their hair, bought snow scene cards & packaged them up to look festive & donated them to a charity toy box. It was so fun and memorable.
Enjoy the MOMENTS:
The tree this year: Do you have a theme for your tree? Do you use the same exact traditional ornaments each year? Want to shake it up? This year we let our eleven year old daughter decorate the entire tree. It was so fun to see her take charge and make it her own. She directed me to add pink, blue, & silver patterned ribbons, all the colorful ornaments of bears, santas, ballerinas, all the ornaments that her heart desired. She had so much fun & then just stepped back and smiled at the work she directed. It was truly memorable.
Have special Christmas Stories: Each Christmas season we receive a special Christmas book. Sometimes its about the nativity, maybe Santa, the Advent, a children’s book, etc. This year I purchased Ann Voskamp’s book, “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas” It is a beautiful Advent book that you read a little devotional together as a family and then put a special paper ornament (also Ann Voskamp’s) that you put on the tree. It is beautiful.
Be careful to not over plan: Surprises will happen! Christmas is definitely a time of planning…what presents, what activities, parties, etc. Well, I had planned this great gift to surprise my daughter and husband. I had the details down, when it would be delivered, where I would hide it…WELL, the day it was delivered, my daughter was home sick. I tried with all my might to be sneaky, I snuck outside, got the dolly, began moving this box that was almost as big as me to my backyard & began rolling it across the lawn to my secret hide out (the back shed). Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement in my kitchen!! NOOOOOO!!! I ran inside & my daughter was standing there watching me wheel this big box across the lawn. I was bummed, but luckily she could not tell what was in the box. I had her promise up and down not to tell her Dad and not to peek. It was quite funny. So, the moral of the story—you can plan and plan, but surprises do happen!!
Give something from the heart: For years I have made special Christmas CD’s of music that we hand out to friends and family. I LOVE finding beautiful music that represents this wonderful time of year, but I LOVE it even more when we receive texts and messages of people wondering if and when they are going to receive this heartfelt gift. Is there something you could make and give from the heart?? Do you have an amazing recipe that you would enjoy sharing? Do you make special scarves that are hand knit?? My mother writes a special Christmas story each year that she gives to friends and family. It is a beautiful gift. Peace to you this holiday season.