Last week in my Favorite Family Traditions post I mentioned that I have a strict Holiday budget that I plan on sticking to and that my extended family will be getting homemade gifts this year. My other motive is to change the way the kids view Christmas. My favorite part of the Holidays has always been watching others open gifts that I've chosen for them. I try hard to be a thoughtful gift giver and I'd like my children to learn to get joy from planning gifts that are tailored to each person.
In that vein, these are the things I'll be skipping this year:
Buying Gifts for Family
The older kids will be the ones receiving purchased gifts that include books and toys. I like to think of it as money well spent because getting "home-made" things can be disappointing to older grade-schoolers and tweens who are really just hoping for a new wrestling action figure. I always hope that the kids won't have to practice "being appreciative" of a gift I give them on Christmas.
On the other hand, my niece and my daughter (who are both 4) still love presents that I make. They can expect fancy Christmas dresses, doll clothes and maybe quilts, which I know they'll love. Here they are last year in their "princess" dresses.
Last week, I made a list of things I want to make for each person on my list. The list is long because I have 5 siblings and my husband has 3. We also have parents and a few nieces and nephews.
The rest of my family and friends will be getting home-made gifts. I'm planning some food gifts, ornaments, and other projects that I have working on throughout the year. This is where I'll be enlisting the help of the kiddos. They can help craft some of the items that we'll be giving and we can take that time to talk about each person in the family. I'll walk them through identifying the family members' likes and dislikes and things the person can't eat or wear (we have various allergies in the family). Hopefully this will help them be thoughtful gift givers.
Every year Santa Claus brings new ornaments to each of my children, my husband and me in our stockings. This year they will be handmade by elves. I've been compiling a list on Pinterest of Christmas things, including ornaments.
Elf on the Shelf
Lastly, Elf on a Shelf. It seems like such a fun idea to countdown to Christmas. I've looked at all the silly things people do and really am envious. Unfortunately, Evangeline gets spooked easily and I'm afraid she might be scared of a little Elf friend that moves around when everyone else is sleeping. She's afraid of Swiper the Fox from Dora because he "swipes" things. Sometimes she still won't go to the bathroom or walk down the hallway by herself because she is thinking about Swiper. This is after we banished the show from the house almost a year ago. So, Elf on the Shelf is an idea that I am going to shelve (hehe) until she is older and reality and fantasy are a little further apart.