things to do with your kids this christmas

  • Unique Ways to Wrap Christmas Gifts

    Looking for some new ways to wrap your Christmas gifts this year? Something out of the box, if you will??

    Personal confession: I did some math incorrectly when buying fabric for a birthday party project, and now we have a massive amount of black watch plaid fabric. Thankfully, the navy and dark green work well at Christmas, especially with a red ribbon. All our gifts are wrapped in this fabric, and probably will be for the next 25 years (my math was really off!). I've found that wrapping gifts that have an awkward size or shape is much easier with fabric than with wrapping paper. And it's cheaper, too, if you're using fabric that's already on hand.

    My brother Matt is famous (within our family) for wrapping gifts in newspaper. He adds his own speech bubbles to the photos, with funny text related to the recipient. It's cheap, creative, and earth-friendly!

    Another crafty idea is to make your own wrapping paper. Definitely include the kids in this project! Start with white or brown craft paper (available at craft stores or office supply stores, with mailing supplies), then add color with crayons, markers, paint, or whatever you want. This also eliminates the need for gift tags, as you can write the "to" and "from" right on the package.

    Or what if you're not giving an actual gift, but money? Amy from Then She Made has created 2 different styles of a Christmas Money Tree. It would take a little while to put one of these together, but you've already saved time by not shopping for a gift, right?

    Likewise, Debbie from Happy Clippings has some great ideas for creatively wrapping gift cards. My personal favorite (check out her post for details!) is making a homemade snow globe to hold the card.

    Debbie suggests a couple of ways to wrap up coffee shop gift cards. Along that theme, I'll suggest that coffee filters make a cute and inexpensive substitute for tissue paper, especially if you're giving a coffee-themed gift basket. That tip is from a Starbucks barista, who wrapped up a mug for me that way when they ran out of tissue paper.

    What are your favorite ways to wrap Christmas gifts?

     

     

  • Christmas Is for Kids

    Christmas is the time when kids rule. This is the season where we pamper them with gifts and spend time with them. In fact, a lot of people say that Christmas is the time when they remember how fun it was to be children, as many try to remember how their Christmases went as they were growing up. Indeed, for some families, Christmas is made even more special because of the kids in their house.

    So how do you make this Christmas a little more special for your children? MerryStockings.com suggests these fun ways!

    1. Teach them Christmas carols. Christmas carols are a good way to get into the spirit. Teaching your kids your beloved Christmas songs ensures that they would happily sing along as you turn on the radio or pop in your favorite Christmas CDs.

    2. Develop their creativity with some activities. There are a lot of Christmas themed activities that you could do with your children. For one, there are coloring pages that you could download from the Internet. These Web sites offer free printables that you could print out and color with your kids.

    You can then use the colored prints to decorate your house by displaying them on your refrigerator, walls or even table tops.

    3. Let them help in the preparations. One great way to get children in the festive Christmas mood is to involve them in your preparations. Wrapping up some presents for friends? You can teach them to create gift tags, or cut scotch tape for you. Baking Christmas brownies? You can ask them to help you stir the batter or help you clean up. They could also help you decorate your home for Christmas.

    4. Teach them some crafts. MerryStockings.com has some really nice Christmas stocking kits that you could do with your kids. Each of these kits include all the materials you are going to need and very simple instructions.

  • Christmas Crafts: Christmas Tree Skirts

    If you have a talent for sewing, knitting, or crocheting, then you might want to consider creating your own Christmas tree skirts this Christmas.  It is a fairly simple and fun project.

    Aside from that, it is great to have something personalized and customized for you and your family to celebrate the holidays with.  Plus, it helps you blend any Christmas tree with the design philosophy you might have in mind for the year.  Christmas tree skirts also makes for a great gift idea.  The fact that you made it yourself would show your recipient that you took time to come up with a gift for them, and will surely love the fact that their tree skirt is uniquely theirs.

    What are Christmas tree skirts?

    These skirts are usually made of fabric and is wrapped around the base of your tree.  This helps you hide the base of your tree and provides a good place to place your gifts on.

    Sewing Your Own Christmas Tree Skirts

    To make your own, you simply need to have a good fabric and embellishments like tassels, lace trims, fringes, fur, felt appliques, stick-on letters.  There are a lot of tutorials online that are easy to follow, but here are recommendations from MerryStockings.com:

    If you are the visual type, there are video guides available online.  Our favorite video tutorial is here.  You would be surprised at how easy it actually is!

    You could have different design ideas from TLC from this URL:
    http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/how-to-make-christmas-decorations3.htm

    While LovetoKnow.com has an impressive collection of Christmas Tree Skirt Patterns here.

    While most tree skirts are round, it does not have to be.  You can make your tree skirt square, star shaped, or follow a flower pattern.  We recommend this hexagonal beauty, just to prove that tree skirts do not exactly have to be round.

    If you just cannot stand sewing, or would like to make a Christmas tree skirt together with your kids, you can opt for a no-sew Christmas tree skirt, just like this one from Home and Garden Television.

    Of course, if you do not have the talent or the time, you could simply skip all these and just buy a personalized Christmas tree skirt like this one:

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