Healthy Christmas day snack idea.

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I just wanted to show you all our healthy snack alternative for Christmas day nibblies. Just point the children at the “Christmas tree” table and let them snack away. Even if they are full before the big feast, at least it’s healthy food. Plus it looks cool too!

Christmas debrief and next year’s plans

Christmas morning - great anticipation!

The dust has almost settled and the Christmas festivities are over for another year. The house has not yet recovered and neither have the children (a big tidy-up and a few early nights are required!) but everyone is enjoying relaxing and exploring their new gifts.

As we sit back and think through how Christmas went this year, I encourage you all to make yourself a few notes for next year. A bit of a Christmas debrief if you like. Perhaps keep them with the decorations or somewhere you know you will remember to check them. As the Christmas decorations first hit the department stores ridiculously early, use this as your reminder to get out that list and plan ahead for all the things that you want to do with your family and won’t get to without some up-front preparation.

Pick any headings that are helpful to you, but some of the things we will be thinking through are:

  • Our traditions (What we love and want to keep doing, new traditions to add to our celebrations next year, traditions we like the idea of but haven’t managed to make happen yet!)

"I know I'm not supposed to touch but...."

  • Gift buying (Planning to buy at Christmas sales for next year, purchasing throughout the year to spread out the cost, starting early and making gifts, planning for on-line purchases in Sept/Oct, buying wrapping paper, gift tags and cards on sale)
  • Christmas cards (Actually getting around to sending some next year!)

Our finished Jesse tree

  • Advent planning and preparations for next December (Making a whole new set of Jesse tree symbols and scrolls in November.)
  • Specific ways you will help your family to put God first throughout this season and focus on the birth of Jesus rather than getting caught up in the commercialism of it all. (Advent readings, Jesse trees, nativity scenes, community service, blessing the neighbours, reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus etc.)
  • Special Christmas books (Each year we add to our Christmas book collection by purchasing online or at sales after Christmas for up to 90% off the original price. We then have beautiful Christmas stories, advent books, Christmas devotionals and picture books to read throughout December for a fraction of the regular retail price. We also purchase some for Christmas gifts the following year.)

  • Food (How did the planning, preparation, serving on the day and any other food related matters go? Great new recipes to collect from friends or family members we have tasted during the festivities.)

  • Travel arrangements (How did the Christmas period run and would we do it the same next year? This year we had two family celebrations as we always do, but they were spread out – one on Christmas day, one on boxing day, plus a smaller breakfast on Christmas morning and church. We felt much more relaxed than in the past when we have had church plus a lunch at one side of the family and then a dinner for the other side.
  • Any other ideas or notes that will help you to be more organised and stress-free next year. Christmas need not be a hurried and harried season, it really can be relaxing, joy filled and focussed on the birth of Jesus.

  • Even “the bump” received gifts. Wow! Presents in the womb!

Mummy’s Christmas Shop

Star of Wonder

Photo: David Pascoe

When it comes to Christmas gifts for siblings it can be a little overwhelming when there are many brothers and sisters to buy for. We often get the children to make gifts and that works well for older kids but the younger ones are a little limited in what they can do. None of the children buy gifts for the adults, they make cards and small craft gifts like Christmas tree decorations.

I like the idea of the children working so that they can give gifts to each other. It then becomes a sacrifice as they spend money that they have given up time and energy to earn or give up time and creative effort to make something. I am hoping this will help in our quest to get them to think of others at Christmas time rather than themselves.

We have previously gone out shopping with the children and attempted to find suitable small gifts that the children can afford for each other, however the logistics of this is becoming difficult and we can’t always find appropriate items they can afford. The solution: Mummy’s Christmas Shop.

I don’t know the original source of this idea, but it is very simple. I gather together a bunch of small gifts that are appropriate for each child in the family. Just before birthdays or Christmas, each child takes a turn to visit Mummy’s Christmas Shop and buy something they like for their siblings. Items are not priced so that I can use a sliding scale; cheaper for the littlies who’s earning capacity is small and a little more for the older children (up to what I paid for them) who are able to earn a reasonable amount of money.

I have told them about the Mummy shop and everyone is keen to start earning money so they can start shopping. (I’d better find some stuff to put in there!) I do the rounds of all the discount variety stores ($2 Shop, Red Dot, Crazy Clarks and the like) and collect anything that is suitable. I also know that it is likely that the gifts will be in the right price range if I buy here, although the quality is often poor so I am careful not to buy toys that will break quickly.

Some ideas so far:

Girls

  • hair lackies, clips, headbands and other pretty hair accessories
  • stickers, activity books, colouring in books
  • glitter pens, gel pens, pencils, crayons, textas, scissors, note pads, novelty erasers and other stationery
  • patterned sticky tape, glitter, glitter glue & other crafty bling
  • dolls clothes, dolls house items, pretend play accessories
  • funky socks and cute knickers
  • ornament, trinket box or knickknacks
  • lip balm
  • nail file
  • costume jewellery
  • craft sets (eg plain photo frame and gems to glue on it)
  • recipe magazine or cookbook
  • coloured bandaids and the “Nurse Nancy” golden book (A little more expensive than the others but both little boys and girls love this gift.)
  • fancy toothbrush

Boys

  • small boxes of Lego ( the individual person , motorbike etc for around $6)
  • giant marbles
  • funky socks & manly underwear
  • glitter pens, gel pens, pencils, crayons, textas, scissors, note pads, novelty erasers and other stationery
  • tools (screwdriver, tape measure, adjustable spanner etc)
  • anything army print (hats, lunchbox)
  • water pistol
  • nail clippers (Master 8’s nails are getting out of control – any teenage girl would be jealous!)
  • card games and mini travel games
  • bluetac (weird I know but older boys love this stuff)
  • torch (flashlight), LED keyring light
  • wooden glue and nail together craft kits (make a boat/car etc)
  • bird or dog whistle
  • fancy toothbrush

Toddlers

  • dinky cars
  • stuffed toys
  • balls
  • puzzles
  • dolly accessories
  • hair accessories
  • picture books
  • playdough and accessories (biscuit cutters, rolling-pin)
  • pet accessories (dog bowl, basket, brush) for toy animals
  • pavement chalk
  • paint brushes (see water play)
  • sand toys (buckets, funnels, spades, scoops)
  • bath toys and squirters

I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions for inexpensive gifts so please leave a comment.