It is that time again. Black Friday is looming over us. Toy commercials send our children into a toy-lust frenzy. My girls will run about the room shouting, "I want that! I want that!" and occasionally "No, Paige I already called that one! Ha ha!". My favorite quote this season has been, "Mom, I want that! But you have to be eighteen or older to order!" (Yeah, I have that age thing covered. Don't worry.) Then they fight over who should get that particular toy for Christmas. (Dear God, the fighting.) Sometimes I think it would be easier to make the same list for each child and just buy three of everything. I guess that lacks imagination. When you add in nieces, nephews, parents, grandparents, and siblings the list becomes bigger and bigger with each person.
Every year I say that I will be done with my shopping before Thanksgiving. Every year I fail. (EPICALLY) I haven't even started so far this year. I could blame the move and other various reasons. The truth is that I can't bear the thought of starting. I am a normal woman. I love to shop. Christmas shopping has become a chore. Christmas itself has become more of a chore and less of a holiday.
So I have been trying to think of things to make it more fun. The truth is that once you grow up and become an adult and a parent Christmas becomes work. You have to make Christmas cookies, buy presents, wrap the presents, decorate the house, etc. As adults we have to WORK to make the holidays fun. We have to plan adventures for ourselves. We have to chose to have the holiday be fun.
Here are some things we do (as a family) every year to make Christmas more fun:
- Each child chooses an ornament from the Toys for Tots tree. We then have fun picking out a gift.
- We make a colossal amount of Christmas cookies. I let the kids decorate them. (They might not be perfect, but the kids have fun and that is all that matters.)
- Whenever we have a delivery, we have cookie bags made up and we hand them out to the delivery men as a thank you. (The looks on their faces are great, and they always remember you after that.)
- Each child gets a special set of Christmas jammies to wear on Christmas Eve.
- We have our go-to holiday movies. In the week before Christmas, we pick one each night to watch as a family.
- Every Christmas Eve, my husband reads our kids "The Night Before Christmas". I keep a log on the inside of the cover where I note each year that we have followed the tradition.
- The kids write letters to Santa (and he writes one back). They also go to visit him at the shopping mall.
- A few days before Christmas, Santa sends each of the kids a video email.
- Every year we hire an "Elf on the Shelf".
- Every year we go to a store called Tannenbaum's and the girls each pick out a blown glass ornament. I write the year purchased and the child's name on the bottom of each ornament. When we decorate the tree, we have fun pulling out the ornaments and remembering why that ornament was picked and what good things had happened that Christmas. Some day when the girls move out and start their own families, I will pack up their ornaments for them to have.
- My husband and I pick out an ornament for ourselves as well. We try to pick something that means something to our family for that year.
- If it snows we build a snow family. We also go sledding.