Holiday ideas, anyone?

Has anyone else had an insanely difficult time getting their cards out? I just mailed mine yesterday, and someone told me Christmas is in a week. Holy manger, I’m not ready.

Speaking of not being ready, I’m looking for some really cool/fun/simple holiday traditions to do with my kids this next week before we leave for Washington. We did gingerbread houses, but I’d like to have a few easy things that will add to the buildup. If we drive around looking at Christmas lights one more time we won’t have enough gas to get home for the holidays. Let me know what you’ve got, I’d rather hear it from you, my friends, than google.




  1. Do you do the “straw for baby Jesus” thing? I think you have an empty manger in the Nativity, then fill it with toothpicks for every good deed a child does. I meant to start that this year, but didn’t. Or Motherboard’s idea of wrapping Christmas books and unwrapping and reading one a night. And there’s always caroling. I want to find another family to carol with this year, but Baby’s miserable in teething and I’m not sure if we’ll do it.

  2. make paper snowflakes
    watch polar express

  3. there’s a cute play at the Draper Historic Theatre called Young Santa. My kids all liked it and it was cheap. We’ve also made goodies and taken them to neighbors, etc. My kids also like to color Christmas pictures (you can print them online. email me if you want a link) and hang them around the house for decorations. We also read lots and lots of Christmas stories.

  4. We make LOTS of goodies!!! I won’t list them all and embarrass myself. Really- you’re all invited to stop by and sample some!! And I actually let the kids help….sometimes; this is a difficult thing for me I might try some cake pops w/them this year.
    Angel Tree (or some giving to others thing; remember the elderly ), driving around looking at lights (which apparently you are fond of), while listening to Christmas music-then voting on the best when we get home and having hot chocolate. Mr Kruger’s Christmas (surprisingly) goes over well, each year. We also have the home-made book with a scripture/song/story for each day. We don’t get it every night. But any Christmas-themed book each evening. We sing a lot too, but you’ll remember my singing and how non-angelic it is! We draw/color seasonal things a lot that we SEND AWAY since we don’t live near the grandparents. Anyway, I could probably think of more. Oh, where we just moved from the “Bethlehem Suppers” were a huge deal. I’ve never done one of those though. And making your kids do the Nativity; which I’ve also never done.

    Merry Christmas!! Have a great trip!!

  5. Her Royal Highness says:

    “each” day (about ever 3rd day, really) I load all the munchkins up in the van with 2 baggies of goodies or SOMETHING festive (yesterday it was a package of sugar cookie mix with a cookie cutter attached) and we go ding-dong ditching to random houses that look like they need a little more Christmas cheer.
    we drink hot cocoa by the Christmas tree lights.
    We read a chapter or two from “The Forgotten Carols” (I sing the songs, too.)
    We read ANY christmas book, really.
    Paint the kids’ fingernails and toenails in festive colors. Boys too (Dad’s out of town…)
    sing carols while washing dishes (darn the person who didn’t put in a dishwasher).
    make an ornament or two using that really potent cinnamon/glue dough. It lasts for years.
    Hope that helps!
    Merry Christmas!!!! (I get your posts via email & they just brighten my day! Thanks!)

  6. Make cookies?

  7. My three kids are the same ages as your oldest three and here are the activities they have liked (and I didn’t hate) that we’ve been doing. I don’t usually comment but am considering this payback for your awesome writing that makes me laugh.
    Making ornaments for birds- sliced oranges baked and hung, stringing popcorn and cranberries with blunt needles.
    Lighting candles and sitting around singing christmas songs is a huge hit with very little work.
    Marshmallow and hot chocolate taste tests.
    Make ice cream using snow (easier than it sounds).
    Free highschool music concerts.
    Winter hikes or nature collecting in the back yard then make ornaments out of sticks or whatever they find, just glue it together with a string on it.
    Shrinky dink ornaments
    Check out new Christmas books from the library
    dip pretzels in melted chocolate and sprinkles
    practice wrapping empty boxes
    potato print butcher paper for wrapping paper
    building snowmen, sledding or tracking animal prints in the snow
    reading about what Santa is like in other countries, other traditions and trying some new ones
    forced “it’s a wonderful life” viewing party
    Shopping for food for the food bank -letting each kid choose some things they want to give
    Going to the city to see display windows
    Make mice out of pinecones using pom poms and pipecleaner
    Paper chain countdown
    Make pom pom ornaments (again easier than it sounds for kids.)
    Also we have four advent calendars this year and they love them all.
    There you go. More than you really wanted to hear from me. Enjoy.

  8. I have yet to get out my cards. I’m hoping by New Year’s? And I say just sit around in your pj’s, watch Christmas movies and eat all the treats off the neighbor plates left on your doorstep.

  9. How about spending an evening at a nearby nursing home? Take a deck of cards and start up conversations with the residents. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And it exposes the kids to the side of the holidays involving the heart.

  10. We’ve added an Advent wreath and candles to our celebration and love it. Five candles, an inexpensive evergreen wreath and scriptures and stories about the Savior. It isn’t expensive to start, it’s memorable, it’s the kids favorite countdown (even topping candy countdowns), and it focuses our celebration on the Savior. We’ve only been doing this a couple of years but the kids knew exactly what those candles were when I pulled them out this year and each day can’t wait to light them (fire is quite captivating) and read aloud the specific scripture for that day. I’m serious. Sometimes I don’t know who these children are but I really, really like them.

  11. Making treats to deliver to the neighbors? I think they’re [mostly] old enough to help and enjoy that. Especially if it’s just easy things like fudge, or making dip for chips.

    I always loved reading Christmas books with my parents. They can each pick a short one to read before bed each night.

  12. Take the kids caroling to a nearby nursing home. You can bring treats if you want, but they are mostly happy to have visitors, and are so excited to see little kids and especially babies. The kids might feel scared at first, but they will probably warm up. I worked 5 years at a place like that. Nothing lights up their day like little ones.

  13. I’m not sure if this is entirely small child friendly but BYU has an art exibit (free) of Carl Bloch – here’s some info.

  14. One of our favorites was to pull our pants down just enough to sit our naked butt in the snow and see who could stay there the longest.
    You’ll love it.

  15. I’m sending out Valentine’s Day Cards instead.

    And, I’m locking my children in their bedrooms until Christmas Eve.

    Mother of the year? I think not.

  16. Wow, I feel like Scrooge after reading everyone’s suggestions (cause we usually just celebrate on Christmas itself).

    That guy who complimented your parenting in Costco was wonderful. I loved that story.

    And I’m so glad you get to go to Germany instead of Turkey, and here’s why: My husband and I went to Turkey on our honeymoon (on our way to spend 9 months in Amman, Jordan) and he knew the culture well enough to not hold my hand in public. ON OUR HONEYMOON. Then he kept that up for the 9 months in Amman, and I’m still trying to get him back into a habit of holding my hand at all in public. (I should say that Turkey is BEAUTIFUL, though.)