This year I have really struggled to come up with thoughtful gifts not only for my own family, but for my extended family as well. Last year I came up with a gift for my sister and her family that I thought was a big hit, so I decided to repeat it again this year – a couple games of family laser tag. Excuse the pun, but it was a blast. Afterwards a few of the kids also played a game of 3D Glow in the dark mini-putt.
Santa made a stop at our house again this year.
We hope your Christmas was equally as magical as ours was!
Years ago we started the tradition of serving Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. It make for a relaxing Christmas day….with lots of yummy leftovers. This year Grandpa joined us for our Christmas Eve celebration. The evening included…..
We are finally finding time to try out the new sewing machine my husband purchased for me. I purchased a pattern on line and my 12 year old started her first real sewing project. She used the fabric from her ripped jeans to make a new pair of jeans for her little sister’s new American Girl doll. The small scale and thick fabric made for a challenging beginner’s project, but she did really well.
I have been at a real loss to come up with gift ideas this year. We really don’t “need” anything. Sure there are lots of things we’d like, but it feels like we already have lots of “stuff” and more would really just add to the clutter of our lives.
A couple years ago when my husband was away on an extended business trip to China I decided I needed to keep busy while he was away and stop feeling sorry for myself, being left behind to tend to the family on my own for so long. While he was gone I decided to try on my imaginary super woman cape and tackle some household projects. I painted the kitchen and dining room, tore out the the dated storage cabinet in the bathroom, replaced the light fixture, dry walled, and painted the bathroom….to list off the more major projects I completed in his absence and as a complete surprise to my husband. The kids were great to pitch in and help, so it got me thinking that I would do something similar, but on a smaller scale as a Christmas gift for, when I found out my husband would be away for three days leading up to Christmas.
Since moving into our home about five years ago we have given almost no attention to the decor of the master bedroom. The wall colour, which I hated when we moved in was actually starting to grow on me, so time for some action and operation “Big Christmas Surprise”.
As soon as the van pulled out of the driveway we got to work. Step one was cleaning up. The room had somehow become a dumping ground and it was in sad shape with clutter on every surface. Over the next few days we worked and worked, cleaning, sorting, organizing, tossing, crack filling, painting and building. I even managed to squeeze in a flying trip to Ikea (2hrs away) to purchase some Pax wardrobes to help solve some storage and clutter issues. We were still working when my husband returned, but had accomplished enough that he got the idea.
Our family also celebrates Orthodox Christmas on January 7th and there is another business trip planned just before then…..hmmmmm.
Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year. I love decorating the house and seems like there is magic air at this time of year.
The kids seem to particularly enjoy decorating the tree. Each year we add a few new ornaments to the tree, many of which hold a special meaning for our family. As we decorate the tree and each ornament comes out of the box they reminisce about what makes it special. Each year it takes longer and longer to get the tree up, but it is oh so worth it!
For years now we have taken an annual Christmas photo. I started off using them for our Christmas Cards, but in more recent years Christmas cards and Christmas letters seem have fallen by the wayside and the photos just end up on Facebook.
Here are some of our past photos.
Our homeschool group got together today to share Christmas traditions around the world. It was very informative and lots of fun to learn about Christmas in China, Kenya, Yugoslavia and Switzerland. Here are some of the kids taking part in a Serbian tradition….clucking like chickens and searching for walnuts in a pile of hay. Lots of fun and very, very, very messy 🙂
One thing I love about our local homeschool group is the cooperative nature of it. We all pull together and do a little, in this case present a little something on a country of our choosing, and present it to the group. What we end up with is so much more than any one of us could pull together on our own and really high quality result at little or no cost. Even if you don’t homeschool this would be a great activity to do with a group of friends or neighbours.
Most years we enjoy making a gingerbread house. This year we opted for a kit and picked one up at Sam’s Club and it was a bit hit. It came with lots of wonderful embellishments, such as fondant. I think what we liked best about the kit is that it was easy to assemble. In the past the most frustrating part of the process has been assembling walls and roof, but this kit was wonderful and had tabs and slots to make the process simple and easy. Definitely going to go this route again.
Today we celebrated another birthday in our house as my youngest turned eight. This is an incredibly busy time of year for us with all the robotics tournaments, Christmas activities, etc, but we did manage to make today a little extra special.
Here gift this year was a big one. Much more that we usually do, but I just couldn’t wait until Christmas to give her the American Girl doll her big sister and I purchased for her when we were in New York last March. The doll was a big hit and we are glad to have “Bell” join our family.