So, this year we've made it a goal to scale back Christmas gifts. I mean, we've never really been extravagant, but I think our total Christmas budget this year is somewhere around $300. That includes gifts for everyone. 4 kids. 2 parents. Extended family, etc.
Instead, we're really trying to focus on the Reason for the Season. And also, making an effort to really spend quality time with our children. Do stuff together. Make some memories. Ya know?!
So, I got all crafty with my bad self and made this advent garland. Each pennant is also a pocket. It holds a slip of paper with an activity listed on it. In the morning, before school, etc, we pull out the paper and read it, so that I will have time to prepare for that evening's activity and it also gives the kids something to look forward to all day.
Here are our list of activities we have planned. Most are free. A couple of them cost a very small amount of money.
Have a Sock Snowball Fight (hide behind couches and throw balled up socks at each other)
Act out the Nativity (this is our Christmas Eve activity)
Make Marshmallow Snowmen (3 Large Marshmallows, pretzel stick arms and some frosting)
Read the Christmas Story from the Bible
Make Paper Snowflakes
Attend the Festival of the Nativity
Go for a walk as a family.
Make Cookies and take them to our friends.
Have Hot Cocoa
Sing Christmas Songs
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Play Board Games
Make Candy Cane Reindeer
Make an Ornament for the Christmas Tree
Read a Christmas book
Watch the Polar Express
Watch Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas
Dance to Christmas Music
Write a letter to Santa
Send out Christmas Cards
Go Christmas Shopping ($1 store for sibling gifts)
Color Christmas Pictures
Make a Paper Chain to count down until Christmas.
Fondue for Dessert Tonight
And some other activities I've thought of since I printed our list:
Make a gingerbread house.
Attend Christmas Programs (we have 2 coming up)
Ward Christmas Party
I have to confess that I can't remember a single Christmas gift I received. But I do remember all the wonderful activities... making cookies, caroling, parties, etc. I want my children to have the same feelings about this season. I don't want them to feel like it's about the gifts.
Unless you mean which gift we're giving our Savior. My gift to the Savior this year is time. Time for my family. What's yours?