Thing 1



Halloween came and went this year and I didn’t get one decoration out of the closet. This says a lot as I have as many boxes of Halloween crap as I do Christmas crap.

Christmas Crap is going to be the name of my Holiday album, by the way.

I decided I wasn’t going to let Christmas come and go with the same apathy, so I got all of our stuff out on Thanksgiving Day and we put most of it up that weekend. We also went and saw Santa at Santa’s Village and we decorated our smaller tree. Our damn Elf came to visit…

CRAP. Hang on, I got to go move him. Be right back. Okay! He’s reading Harry Potter! Now, where were we?

…so the Elf came to visit and we’ve been singing Christmas songs and reading our Christmas books. But y’all? This is my SECOND TO LAST Christmas season with E at home. (EDITED TO ADD: I used the phrase “Christmas Season” because I do know he will come around at Christmas. But, I know from experience having been a college student and as the family member of a student in college and older, that those visits are divided between friends/work/other family etc. Therefore, there is not a lot of time for the typical “extra” activities beyond Christmas Morning type stuff. Ya’ Know? :))

I want to do some fun projects with him this year but I don’t know what. This is where I’m coming to you…what are your favorite Christmas baking/crafting projects to do WITH the kids? He has a VERY high tolerance for goofy stuff so, as long as we do it during a time when he’s free (the kid has some rehearsal about every day) he’ll be up for it. No matter how “young” it seems. What do you make with your kids? What do you bake? We could do Gingerbread Houses but we’ve done that before and I’d like to think of something different.

SHARE WITH ME YOUR GENIUS! I need to cram as many memorable activities as I can in the next 3 weeks.


  1. I don’t have any fun ideas, I’m sorry. I just wanted to say Our Damn Elf is going to be the new name of, well, our damn elf! We forgot to move ours the second night!

    My mom and I used to bake cookies every year using a cookie press. I loved doing that. I look at the presses every year thinking I’ll buy one and start that tradition with my son but the new ones get terrible reviews.

  2. Why only one more Christmas with E? Even if he goes away to college he will be home for Christmas!

    Our main family Christmas tradition is going to get the tree, hiking up this huge mountain and selecting the perfect tree, cutting it down, hauling it down the mountain, strapping it to the car, maneuvering it into the house and hopefully into an upright position and then everyone leaves me alone to decorate it!

    We also like to make hot chocolate, and drive around and look at all the lights and go to the town Christmas tree lighting and caroling events.

    Before we had cats we had an elaborate village display with cars and houses and the kids would make roads and use fake snow and do goofy things like put Scooby Doo in the manger scene…

    We also choose names from our churches angel trees and go shopping together to pick out gifts for the child/family Many agencies do this as well. Our Boscov’s has an angel tree for a nursing home too.

  3. Hi Kim,
    If there is a Christmas themed store nearby, go in with your camera and try on all the sweaters and clothes, pretend it’s your house and get silly with the decorations. It might make for some great photos.
    If you like to donate at local charities, you can make batches of cookies and candies and give them out.
    Try taking turns reading a Christmas book, like T’was the Night Before Christmas, using silly voices and sound effects – record the whole thing.
    Try taking photos of notable places around town – close-up you can’t see the whole thing, then drive around with the kids to see the christmas lights and see who can identify all the photos.
    That’s all I can think of right now, but Pinterest has a bunch of cute craft ideas. You’ll come up with something good, I’m sure.
    Oh, one more – take a box or envelope, insert a special message or treat, hide it for E to find one day. Then he has to fill/hide it for you the next day. By Christmas day, you’ll have a stash of nice notes to look back on.

  4. Add me to the ‘why only one more Christmas with E’ pile…. Say he goes to school – school is usually on break at the holidays. Unless he runs off and joins the circus (possible but less likely), I’m sure he’ll be there with you. Even getting married doesn’t stop me from being with my family on Christmas :).

    I don’t have any real suggestions for you as we’re trying to start our own traditions. We just ‘did’ the tree last night (though it’s looking bare and needs more …. something…. not sure what).

  5. I used the phrase “Christmas season” because I just meant those weeks before when you do the fun stuff. When I came home from college that’s not what I was doing on the break – I was visiting friends and looking forward to going back to college. 🙂

  6. I just meant he’s not going to be there the “Christmas season” when you do all the fun stuff. When he comes home there will be friends and his Dad to share his time with, so not really time for the typical Christmas Prep stuff we do.

  7. I’m with Lisa? Does E already have plans to move out and never even come back for Christmas? My “kids” are 26, 23, and 21 and I still see them often, regularly, and ALWAYS at Christmas.

    Can you both sing? Going caroling is an old tradition. None of my kids can carry a tune so we’ve never done this, but given that E is in a musical, perhaps this would be fun. Or go to a nursing home or mall and sing!

    Angel trees are a great thing. I’ve done that with my kids, and although we haven’t done it in a while, I highly endorse it. Same with serving or helping at a soup kitchen.

    Once my kids learned the secret of who does Santa’s work, they wanted to help fill stockings. Maybe E already does that, but given how much he loves his siblings he might enjoy assisting (or even taking over) that job.

    Some familiess have traditions of watching certain favorite holiday movies. That sounds right up your alley! One of my favorites is “Bad Santa.”

    Well t

  8. ah, gotcha….I have a felling your E will still make time for his family, he’s an awesome young man!

  9. I just mean the Christmas Season. I have never spent enough time with my family during Christmas after leaving for college to do typical “extras”. THere’s too many other things to share time with, my family, my job, my friends etc.

  10. You could make and decorate sugar cookies…for him and the adults, you could try piping icing designs and doing color flooding, and for the littles it could be more along the lines of sprinkles, etc.

    Also, if your house is into Legos, they make awesome Lego Christmas sets…last year there was a toy shop and a bakery I think, and this year added something else. I can’t remember, and we haven’t made ours yet.

  11. Can you still get cookie presses from Pampered Chef? I think that’s where my mom’s was from, and it made awesome cookies. Sill holding strong 20-some years later, too!

  12. I just came to see what ideas everyone else had so I could steal some. But I also wanted to say that I got Henry that exact same Christmas sweater that Wes has on. We are so alike. 🙂

    Have you ever made ornaments? Here are some cool ones.

    Also, going caroling would be fun. Just the five of you. SUPER AWKWARD when you knock in the neighbors door and bust into song, but seems like a great memory 🙂

  13. Starbucks currently has brownie-coated-in-white-chocolate-dipper-in-crushed-candy-canes cake pops that are TO.DIE.FOR. I vote you try making those — and putting them on sticks, and then report back on how you did that because I canNOT get my cake poppers to stay together enough to put them on sticks. And we all know how much E likes cake poppers!

    And this isn’t a craft, but I bet E and Nikki would love it (Wes too, maybe, but he might be too young) — when I was around 10 my parents took us to see a staged reading of “A Christmas Carol” at the Shakespeare Theatre here in DC. It was one man, with an amazing Patrick Stewart-esque voice, reading the story on a bare stage, and it was one of the most compelling performances I have ever seen in my life (and I’ve been active in theatre and going to see plays since I was a kid, so that’s saying something!). Maybe see if a local theatre has something similar that you could still get tickets to?

    Or maybe rent “The Nutcracker” and decorate nutcrackers while you watch it? I bet you could find plain wood nutcrackers waiting to be pained and blinged out at a craft store or online.

  14. Our boys are the same age. I’m freaking out that I only have two left with him home. I know that he’ll be coming back for the Holiday Season while at school, but it won’t be the same. I’m freaking out about him leaving at all! So this year, we are make a cardboard reindeer (found on Good Housekeeping website), we are going to make the snowflake garland. I think we are going to do popcorn/cranberry garland, too. We are really to make an event of decorating the tree. We are going to go as a family to all the light displays in town a few times over. Sing in the car. Hold him tight.

  15. Two things I’ve done in the past (HS/college era) that I can’t wait to do again:
    1- take glass bulb ornaments from the craft store, pop the top off. And put in paint- swirl and you have really cool ornaments.
    2- one year in college we made our entire window a “stained glass scene” with paper. Use black to cut the outlines and block out the light, then use solid colored tissue paper for the various parts of the windows. Bonus points we taped a string of white lights to the outline of the black paper so light shined through. You could see our window decorations from across the football field We were known as the Three Wise Men dorm window that year.

  16. Hi Erin, I just read Bakerella’s book on cake pops and it says to lower the amount of frosting you use when making them to use with sticks to 3/4 of a can, then after they’re rolled into balls, put them in the fridge for about fifteen minutes. A whole can of frosting makes them too moist to stay together on a stick.

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