Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Traditions, Funny Nose Style

Every year as the kids get older we build on holiday family traditions. Of course the kids are going to be excited about Santa visiting and getting presents. This is only natural. But what I really want them to take away from the holiday season is that it is also about spending quality time with family and friends, doing things together that are unique to the season and giving to others, both those we know and love and also those less fortunate than us.

Last year I purchased a super cute gingerbread house Advent calendar.

I loved the concept of counting down to Christmas Day with little tokens and treats. The problem is the doors on this particular Advent calendar (and I think most for that matter) are so small, it is really hard to find things to fit in the tiny spaces. I scoured the internet for ideas and the best one I found was to leave little notes in the spaces. So, each day the kids will open the door to find a note. The note will include something fun and special we will do that day AND something that can also be fun and special but directly benefits someone other than themselves. The best thing about this is that most of the items are things we have done or were going to do anyway. This just keeps me super accountable. Here are some of the items so far. I still have about 6 days where I have to come up with something. I also managed to include a small candy, coin or sticker to include with each note.

Day 1: Help Mommy get holiday cards ready to go out (i.e. stuff envelopes, affix labels and stamps, seal closed). Going out for frozen yogurt dessert after dinner.

Day 2: Gather non-perishable items to leave out for our mail carrier Saturday morning to give to those in need. As a special treat, they get to sleep in Mom and Dad's bed that night.

Day 3: Going to Home Depot Workshop to make gifts for the grandparents. Afterward we are going to Bass Pro's Winter Wonderland.

Day 4: Drop off old blankets and towels to the animal shelter for the dogs and cats who will need them over the colder winter months. Later that day, we will make our yearly gingerbread house.

Other fun items include days where each child gets to choose a holiday movie for family movie night, their choice of board game on family game night, an extra half hour of video game time and their choice of holiday book at bedtime. I also have holiday crafts planned for two additional days and included outings like our annual visit to the Wild Lights at the zoo.

Other fun items benefiting others include baking cookies to give to the neighbors, making Snowman Soup to give out to classmates before the school break, making handmade cards for their teachers to give with their gifts, dropping off toys for the Toys for Tots drive, dropping off food for the TLC Christmas dinner program, dropping off items from the wish list for the local humane society (different from town animal shelter) and going to spend time and cuddle with the cats at the third animal shelter in our area.

Finally, around the halfway point of the calendar (I think I put it on the 10th), the kids' note will include a map to a small gift for each of them.

I think this is all going to be the start of a fun tradition. Tomorrow I am going to introduce you to another new tradition for us. His name is Jerfie Jelf the Elf, or Jelfie for short. You need only visit Laura's Mommy Journal to guess what this new tradition will be and while you are there, read her post about taking the stuff out of Christmas. Because although my words may not have been quite so eloquent, my goal is the same.

1 comment:

Carrie77 said...

Love your ideas! That is a really cute gingerbread house! Much cuter than my $3 cardboard Advent calendar from Target! Heheh. I have always wanted to do the Bass Pro Winter Wonderland. Heard its neat! The one by us is a good 35 minutes away so I'm not sure if we will ever go or not.