Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Ideas to Share

I posted this three years ago after a church event in which women shared their favorite Christmas traditions. I decided to share it again to inspire myself! I'm buying marshmallows tonight for a surprise "Indoor Snowball Fight!"

Here's a few I' d like to share. I thought perhaps someone out there could use some new ideas! These are all VERY EASY to implement - most have very little expense and very little up-front planning! Two things I love when it comes to making something fun and memorable! Some ideas are from our family and some were shared this morning...

1.) Have Christmas Cookie Nights with friends. Invite some friends to come over after dinner and share Christmas cookies, play games, and enjoy one another!

2.) Buy a couple of bags of marshmallows and SURPRISE your family with an indoor snowball fight! I'm already planning an ambush to take place within the next 24 hours! Watch out!

3.) Have a PAJAMA RIDE with your kids! Tuck them in bed in their PJs then within 5 minutes run in their room and grab them for a spontaneous PAJAMA RIDE around town to look at Christmas lights! The only rule is that the parents MUST be dressed in their pajamas also! Reid and I actually had to stop at a friend house to use their restroom a few years ago. Embarrassing, but that's what memories are made of! The kids love it!

4.) Let the children be children at Christmas. If you have a clump of ornaments on the tree, who cares?! If you can only see the backs of everyone in your nativity b/c they are all looking very closely at Baby Jesus, see it as beautiful! Let their Christmas cookies be lumpy with frosting and covered in sprinkles!

5.) Place the Wise Men some where far away in your house. Each day have the children move them closer to Baby Jesus. This helps the children understand that these men traveled from afar to see the newborn King! (We're trying this one this year!)

6.) Wrap up the Baby Jesus out of your nativity as a Christmas package and open this "special gift" on Christmas morning! One family places this gift in the middle of their breakfast table and opens it before anything else - the first gift of Christmas. Another family is going to have him wrapped up and under a special tree in their front yard. The children will find him Christmas morning. Last year, we wrapped him up and placed him under our Christmas tree. The tag read "To Everyone." When we opened it, we had a time of prayer of thanksgiving for God's goodness. This is a way to keep your focus on Christ amidst all the gift opening!

7.) Have a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party. Invite your friends and neighbors and share the gospel with them.

8.) Have a homemade ornament tree. Last year, we simply had too many ornaments to go on our tree. With four boys all making new ornaments every year, we have a lot! I turned our silk fig tree into our special homemade ornament tree. It has white Christmas lights and lots of ornaments like this one that Braden painted last night...
9.) Have a "parable" tree. Make ornaments for your tree that represent different parables from scripture. Here is a link to tell you how to do this. It also has several more fun ideas for Christmas.

10.) Have an advent wreath. Light each candle as a family at dinner and celebrate all of the wonderful things about Christ's birth. There's lots of information on the Internet, but I liked this site b/c it tells you how to make one with your children and gives you daily scripture readings to incorporate. Here's the link.

11.) Open your Christmas cards as a family at dinner time. Each night as you open them, pray for these friends and loved ones that have remembered you this special season. Pray specifically for the people you have opened cards from this evening!

12.) Read children's Christmas books together as a family. I remember my mother doing this while we were growing up. I enjoyed it through my college years! One mom today had a terrific idea. (Collins, you'll love it too!) This mother has young children and she has wrapped up 25 books for her children to open. They get to open one each day from now until Dec. 25th! She purchased many of the books at McKays which saved her lots of money too!

13.) Have your children perform the nativity together. You can get lots of children together from your neighborhood and call it, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" or perform it with cousins and family. Incorporate everyone, one of my favorite memories from Christmas past is seeing my Papaw dressed as the Innkeeper. He was wearing my floral housecoat! Hilarious!

14.) Have a Christmas Cookie Day or Christmas Craft Day with your children. Make Christmas cookies or make Christmas crafts. Invite friends over to join in the fun! Here are a few of Weston's masterpieces from our family Christmas Craft Day yesterday!
15.) Wrap of 25 gifts for someone and give it to them on Dec. 1st. One idea is to do a "Scripture basket" and wrap up things that are symbolic of different verses. (Debbye gave us a hand-out this morning, but I don't have time to type it all now. Perhaps I'll try to add it if anyone is interested. Leave a comment if you would like it.) Another idea that is great for elderly people is to wrap up 25 small gifts. Notecards, a small picture frame, a magnet, a pen, gum, etc... I gave this to my Mamaw one year on Dec. 1st. She called me on December 3rd to tell me she "couldn't wait" and she had opened them all!

16.) Remember missionaries and those serving in ministry! Please pray for them and think of ways to encourage them! At our event this morning, the ladies took cards to send as encouragement to local and international missionaries.
Our family is doing a care package with our card. The package will be fun for the missionary family to open! Each package has a label on top with a clue of what is inside. I'm going to suggest that the members of the family guess what is inside before opening it. Here are a few of the things I sent and what I wrote on the label. (Once again, my BLOG is serving as my record keeper b/c this is an idea I'll probably want again in the future.)
Our missionary family is from America and serving in Africa, so many of these will be simple pleasures from the States. However, these things are not accessible in Africa. All of the mixes simply mix with water. Here's some of the gifts we sent and the clues:

Deck of Cards - Have a Family Game Night
Game of Sorry - Have a Family Game Night
Taco Seasoning Mix - Enjoy a Mexican Dinner - Ole!
Gravy Seasoning Mix - Enjoy a Southern Meal
2 Pkgs. of Pringles - Pringle Bells, Pringle Bells, Pringle all the way
Peppermint Tea - Enjoy a taste of Christmas
Cinnamon - Sending you a scent of Christmas
Blow Pops - You BLOW us away with your servant hearts!
Jello & Jello Pudding - "Jello" and Howdy from America
Bag of big marshmallows - Have a campfire
Nerds candy for the kids - Boys, be smart
Wall Calendar - Happy 2008
Watercolor Paints - Be creative - Make something pretty
Sour Extreme Candy - Boys, who makes the best sour pucker?
Individual books for each member of the family.

This family also has four boys. Their children are close in age to ours, so our boys wrote each child a letter! This has been a fun family project today, and I am glad we were all a part of it! What a great way to kick off this advent season! Today, Dec. 1st!

17.) Remember, in gift-giving it's the thought that counts. My "love language" is gifts. (I hope everyone reading this remembers that on December 25th!) Seriously, financially I can't purchase gifts for everyone I would like. However, this year I've asked some special people in my life if we could do an ornament exchange. The only rule is that the ornaments must be homemade! I'm so excited about making something meaningful! It will bring back wonderful memories as these special ornaments are hung on the tree every year. I'm also working on a few more special, but inexpensive gifts. I can't list them b/c that might ruin the surprise!

18.) Limit family gift-giving to three gifts per person. After all, Jesus only received three gifts from the Wise Men. Someone told me this when I was a young mother, and it has helped keep Christmas simple and it has made the gifts significant. The boys unwrap two that are under the tree. For their final gift, our tradition is to send them on a Scavenger Hunt. Last year we even sent them to neighbor's houses! :) They were running around the neighborhood in their pajamas on Christmas morning! Typically, I hide their first clue in the toe of their stocking!

This is the end of my list. Yes, this is my first list for Christmas! Yippee! What a wonderful list this is! I think I'll be looking back at it in the years to come!

So, how about you? Do you have any more GREAT ideas to share? Please post a comment and add to the list! I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

K. Messerly said...

You inspired me! Check out my latest post.