Category Archives: Christmas

Things to Do On Christmas Day

Christmas comes around every year. Often times we find ourselves doing the same things year after year, just because. This year let’s get intentional as we discuss things to do on Christmas day.

Ever wondered what are things to do on Christmas Day? Here are lots of fun and frugal Christmas family traditions you can start this year!

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Christmas normally means opening presents, eating food, and maybe seeing extended family but there are other ideas we can build into our family culture and enjoy making into traditions.

Life is all about finding what works for us and the life our family has been called to live. The same is true when we brainstorm things to do on Christmas day.

Things to Do on Christmas Day

Read the Christmas story. Read it straight from one of the gospels. Afterward you could also read it from a children’s bible. Something like Jesus Storybook Bible or The Big Picture Story Bible.

Special Breakfast. We grew up having homemade cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. Add in a breakfast casserole to have some protein on the table and you are all set. Set out hot chocolate and hot tea to have throughout the day.

Opening Stockings. This is the first thing we open Christmas morning. There is something exciting, as a kid, about opening up stockings filled with little gifts. You can find many, many options for purchasing or making stockings. My stocking is the one my mom made me when I was born. I have now made all of my family one using the same pattern.

Open Presents. Of course, opening presents will still need to happen. Unless, of course,¬† you decided to go for the experience gifts. You just have to think about if you are going to have a free for all or have everyone take turns opening one present at a time. With my kids, they each take a turn giving out the presents they purchased for everyone else and they are opened one at a time. It also helps made opening presents last longer than 60 seconds. ūüėČ

Fancy dinner or supper. Go all out for a formal dinner with turkey, ham, or even steaks or go simpler with something like a soup buffet. Lighting candles always makes meals more special. Have Christmas music playing softly in the background.

Snack supper. If you don’t want to spend the day in the kitchen, there is nothing wrong with putting on an snack feast! Pull out all your easy to throw together or make ahead appetizer recipes and I think you won’t find your kids complaining.¬†

Have Company Over. Find a family or individual that doesn’t have anyone to spend the day and invite them over for food and fun.

Watch a movie. Pull out a family favorite Christmas movie (Elf is a go-to for us) and spend a couple hours relaxing as a family.

Board game competition. Play any new games that were received for presents and get out some of your family favorites and let your competitive sides show.

Christmas themed games. Try some fun Minute to Win It style games or one of these Christmas games.

Play in the snow. Get outside for at least a short while. If you happen to have a white Christmas, build a snowman, go sledding, or have an epic snowball fight. No snow, still get outside for a brisk walk of a family football game.

Drive to look at the Christmas lights. You are in the last week of being able to enjoy all the bright lights. If you didn’t do it Christmas Eve, drive around and see the sights one last time.

Serve Christmas dinner with a food pantry, church, or other local ministry. There is most likely at least one or two organizations in your town that are serving a Christmas meal to those who can’t afford to cook their own. See if you can help!

Go caroling. Go caroling around town – stop by your friends’ homes to sing a song outside their front door. Don’t stay, just sing and leave you won’t have to worry about imposing on anyone.

Visit the nursing home. Not only will there will be individuals in the nursing homes that don’t have family to celebrate with but also employees that have to work. Stop by with some goodies and sing carols or just visit a while and give out hugs.

Bake cookies.¬†Whip up the last of your cookie recipes you didn’t get to on Christmas Eve or earlier in the season!

Drink hot cocoa. Hot beverages are perfect for winter and especially Christmas day.

Write thank you cards. If you have time, get a jump start on those thank yous. Have everyone sit around the table and tackle them together.

Go technology free. Commit to Christmas being a family day – put up your phones and any other hand held devices. Enjoy giving your family your undivided attention.

Call or video message your family. Connect with your family that you aren’t able to spend the day with. Do at least a quick group video call to say Merry Christmas.

Share memories. Share stories from Christmases past. Tell about when you where a child and even when your parents were children. Let your kids share about their favorite Christmas memories.

Birthday Party for Jesus. Make a cake, put candles in it, and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. If Christmas day is too crazy for this, have a little party on Christmas Eve.

These are just a few things to do on Christmas day this year. Get your kids involved and see what would make Christmas special to them. None of these things cost much (or any) money – you can make them work on your budget.

What are your favorite things to do on Christmas day?

Ever wondered what are things to do on Christmas Day? Here are lots of fun and frugal Christmas family traditions you can start this year!

Saran Wrap Ball Game for Christmas

This Saran wrap ball game is a blast!

This Saran wrap ball game is SO much fun! Here's how to play, ways to wrap the ball, and ideas for what to put inside. This is perfect for your family Christmas or with friends. Do a plastic wrap ball for the adults and one for the kids and have a blast.

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Christmas shopping can get (more) difficult as our families grow and siblings get married and have kids. Do you buy for everyone, draw names, just do the kids, or skip gifts all together?

For many people, it’s something that just has to be done. It can be hard to buy for adults who simply purchase what they need or have specific tastes that make them difficult to shop for.

Saran Wrap Ball Game

This Saran wrap Christmas game is such a fun alternative!

Perfect for adults and teens.

You could even have a separate Saran wrap ball game going for the kids. I would not recommend combining the kids and adults – things get a little too competitive and it’s easier to shop if you do them separately.

Supplies:

  • Plastic wrap
  • Prizes
  • 2 dice
  • Paper box lid

What to Put Inside the Saran Wrap Ball

First off, set a budget (ours was $15-$20 per person) and have everyone purchase assorted gifts and a roll of plastic wrap. Any brand works.

You can do anything with the gifts – so be creative!

One tip is to try to stay gender neutral.

Also, have “prizes” from all price points – even $1. The more little gifts throughout the Saran wrap ball, the more fun there is.

Gift Ideas:

We had things from candy, fun socks, Paper Mate felt pens, mini notebooks, gift cards (numerous $5 ones and then at least one $10 one), snacks, batteries, lip balms, Oregon Trail card game, dollar bills, Bananagrams, and other assorted items.

This is where having all adults or all kids playing makes shopping a little simpler.

Have all the gifts and plastic wrap delivered to one person so the ball can be made before the event starts.

Wrapping the Saran Wrap Ball

Wrapping this giant Saran wrap ball is an event in and of itself. Make sure you have at least a couple of people there to help with the prep.¬† It’s also a lot of fun. One of my sister’s had their phone disappear – someone wrapped it up in the ball. ūüėČ

The Saran Wrap:

You have two options when it comes to wrapping. One is definitely more difficult.

You can either wrap each roll as one continuous piece (the easier method) or cut the plastic wrap and restart at varying intervals. Do some ridiculously short, some crazy long, and others in between. This method is more frustrating (in the fun, competitive way) and will make the game last longer.

If you are doing the Saran wrap Christmas game for your young kiddos, I’d suggest doing each roll as one continuous piece.

For adults and teens, I recommend mixing it up and going hard.

Our game, with 8 adults, lasted over 27 minutes and every second flew by!

Adding the Gifts:

Start with wrapping your “big” prize (because this will end up the center of the ball). Our grand prize was a gift card. This little gift card was wrapped in several pieces of plastic wrap.

As you start working your way out on the ball, simple add in gifts periodically. We tried to have the more expensive gifts on the inside and the less expensive gifts end up on the outside. You will also need to take into account how certain things will wrap. The pens in our ball needed to be wrapped once the ball was larger because of their length and inflexibility. Bananagrams, though large, worked to wrap toward the center because of its flexibility.

We wrapped whole bags of candy and also opened up a package of Hershey Kisses and peanut butter cups and had those sprinkled through out the ball.

Playing The Saran Wrap Ball Game

  1. Have everyone sit on the floor in a circle. A little space between each person but making sure to still be within arms reach.
  2. Deciding who is going to start. (Youngest player might be a good option.)
  3. Give the starting player the Saran wrap ball and the next person the dice. When we played the game, we found it easiest to use a paper box lid to roll the two dice in. It kept the dice from rolling around the room and made it simpler for the next person to just grab the box when it was their turn.
  4. Player with the ball finds the end piece of Saran wrap and starts unwrapping while the next person is rolling the dice. As soon as they roll doubles (of any number), they shout “doubles” and grab the Saran wrap ball and the next person grabs the box with the dice and the game continues.
  5. Any prizes you unroll are yours.
  6. Important Rule:¬†NO tearing the Saran wrap. You HAVE to find the end of the strip. This is where it gets harder when you use shorter pieces of plastic wrap. Sometimes finding the end is super¬†difficult! It’s all a part of the game.

That’s it! You keep playing, laughing, screaming, and grabbing until the ball is completely unrolled and the last prize is captured.

Give this Saran wrap ball game a try at your family Christmas or even a Christmas party. It will be a fun memory for sure!

Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Reduce Stress

Do you want to actually enjoy the holidays this year and ditch the stereotypical Christmas stress and chaos?

Christmas tree with ornaments. This year reduce the Christmas stress and actually ENJOY the holidays! These simple tips will transform your Christmas season.

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Does a relaxing Christmas season and spending time making memories (fun ones, not those where the kids remember how mom went crazy) sound like a dream?

This year, you can take some simple steps to reclaim the season and make it something you actually look forward to! Yes, you might have to make some changes and even sit down and have a family meeting but you won’t regret the stress free (or lower stress) days!

Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Reduce Christmas Stress

Watch Your Spending

For many families, finances can be one of the biggest causes of Christmas stress. It doesn’t have to be that way. Dare I say, it shouldn’t be that way!

Don’t overextend yourself. It’s not worth it – come January you will be regretting your choices.

If you need some more cash to get through the season, consider finding a few ways to earn some extra money. This post has ideas to get your started.

Even more than earning money, find ways to save money and spend less! There is no rule that  you have to go crazy buying presents for your kids. Here are some great ideas for spending less on presents. You can also spend less on your Christmas and Thanksgiving feast. Find small ways to save throughout the season.

Say No

You don’t have to do everything! You don’t have to participate in every event. We know there are a lot of them between friends, family, work, church, and even volunteer work. Only commit to the few you have to do. You can always add more parties in later if you feel up to it.

Keep it Simple

Going all out with decorating, baking, parties, clothes, presents, while it might seem like a good idea, doesn’t have to be done! Think simple instead of elaborate and find a middle ground that helps you actually enjoy the holidays and have less Christmas stress.

Choose a Few Things

As we talk about keeping things simpler and spending less, it’s important to find out what your kids’ and spouse’s favorite activities are. Let each member of your family say their single most important thing and try include those in your holiday plans and say no to the not so important.

Keep Visits Short

Another huge cause of holiday stress can be being around people. Maybe people you don’t always get along with so well. Whether you have a hard time with certain co-workers or even your extended family, a simple tip is to keep the visits shorts.

Don’t stay until the end of the party. Plan for a day trip to visit family or just one night instead of a lengthy visit. For those out of town trips, maybe even consider a hotel for a night or two if needed.

Eat Well

Christmas season almost always means lots and lots of sugar! Limit the sweets. Feed your body good, nourishing foods when you are home and make the best choices you can when  you are at parties. Giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, especially in the form of lots of fresh vegetables,  can definite influence how we feel physically and mentally.

Exercise

Don’t neglect physical activity when things get busy and the weather is cold. Even if it’s something as simple as pushing your kids in the stroller – go do it! Squeeze in a 20 minute run first thing in the morning or do a 15 minute workout in the living room. Find ways to exercise several times each week. Again, this helps your body physically and mentally!

Play Music

Play music you love, or a favorite podcast, to lift your mood and take your mind off of your stressors. Sometimes a little distraction like this can help immensely.

Diffuse Oils

This uses another one of your senses. Seasonal and stress relieving aromas can change the atmosphere in your home and mind as well. This is one of my favorite places to purchases oils from. High quality and affordable.¬†If you don’t want to do oils, try making a potpourri on your stove.

Remember the Reason for the Season

Through all the craziness of the holidays, take time to remember the reason for the season and to look beyond yourself and your family.

Find somewhere to volunteer, include attending church in your plans, or even just take a few minutes to read the Christmas story with your kids. All are things that can help change your perspective.

There are 10 things you can do as you learn to actually enjoy the holidays and reduce the typical Christmas stress. Let this be the year that you learn to make intentional choices for you and your family so you can have memories you want to remember.

What are your other favorite ways to combat holiday stress and chaos?

Pretty snowflake on a pile of snow. This year reduce the Christmas stress and actually ENJOY the holidays! These simple tips will transform your Christmas season.

Family Experience Gifts that Don’t Break the Bank

Family experience gifts that don’t break the bank are such a great idea!

Wrapped presents on wood floor. Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year.

My posts contain affiliate links. For more info, read the disclosure page!

It’s present season. So many gifts. Not only are your kids receiving gifts from you but most likely there will also be gifts from friends, grandparents, and other relatives.

Our kids only need so much stuff.

Our houses can only hold so much stuff.

Often times we find ourselves buying things because we have to get our kids something or because we find a good deal.

All the gifts, even if we are trying to find good deals, can eat away at the budget.

What if, instead of buying all these little un-needed gifts, we pooled the money and gave family experience gifts instead? Things that we otherwise wouldn’t splurge on but we know that our kids would love.

For the first time we are doing a family experience gift this year and the kids are so excited. We were gifted a week stay at a timeshare and are purchasing the attraction tickets to use on our trip.

Family Experience Gifts

Day Trip

Take a day trip to a near by city. Spend money going to museums, amusement parks, state parks or whatever the local attractions are. If your family is like ours and eating out is not something you normally do, splurge on a fun restaurant experience to finish off your day.

Museum Membership

Museum memberships are typically well worth the cost if you just go 2 or 3 times and are perfect for a family experience gift. All three of my kids absolutely love the science museum an hour and half from our house.

Zoo Membership

If your kids are not yet teens, the zoo is another great place to get a membership for a family gift. Maybe throw in some gift certificates to get ice cream or a special treat after a few of your visits.

Sporting Event

Choose your family’s favorite sport (or team) and purchase tickets, or season tickets if you can afford it. Baseball, football, basketball, soccer, or hockey are all fun ideas! Hockey games are a fun memory from my childhood.

Game Basket

Put together a basket of age appropriate board games for your kids. Include snacks, drinks, and everything you need to throw a super fun game night. Throw an all day game tournament over Christmas break and then the gift continues giving over the next months.

Hotel with Waterpark

Watch Groupon for deals at Great Wolf Lodge or other such hotels. When you find a great deal, book a few days at the lodge and wrap some beach towels or other small water themed items up for Christmas morning.

Camping

Plan a camping trip for when the weather is nice. It could either be to your favorite location or try some place new. Does your crew need any new camping gear? Wrap that up along with a brochure about your camping destination.

Mini Vacation

Don’t have the budget to plan a week long trip? That’s okay. Put together a mini vacation. Whether it’s one, two, or three nights, plan a trip that your kids will think is awesome and they won’t question the length! My kids would love a long weekend in Branson, MO and going to Silver Dollar City or going just an hour away and spending a few nights in a hotel, swimming, and hitting up the local sights.

Trip to the Beach

Most kids love the beach. I mean what’s not to love about sand and water?! Can you swing a day trip to the closest beach? Or maybe you can even spend a few days there. Considering my son has called the dirt around a pond a beach, I think he needs this present. ūüėČ

Jump Gym/Bowling/Movie

Living on a tight budget can mean saying no to a lot of these types of things. Use Christmas as an opportunity to purchase gift certificates to any place like a jump gym, bowling alley, or movie theater and go have fun as a family.

Are presents for your kids a struggle year after year? Try something different this year and wrap up family experience gifts! Not only will you prevent new clutter in your house, you will get to create memories with your kids.

You can find a family experience gift that will work on your budget!

Family on a road trip! Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year. Wrapped presents on wood floor. Your family will love these family experience gifts and you don't have to spend a fortune either! You can create memories, not clutter this year.

Earn Money For Christmas Now

Santa bag full of gold coins! If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from.

My posts contain affiliate links. For more info, read the disclosure page!

Do any of these these things leave you wanting to earn money for Christmas:

Does the thought of having to buy Christmas presents leave you stressed? Maybe the budget is tight and you really don’t have much wiggle room but you want to have a special holiday season with your kids, family, and friends?¬† Do you find yourself wondering where the money for Christmas is going to come from?

What should be a fun time of year often times isn’t because of the financial burdens and other obligations. We’ve talked before about taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas (something I’m¬†all¬†about) but having no money for Christmas is a whole different matter.¬† To help you out I have 10 ways you can come up with some cash for Christmas.

Start these things today to help with this season but then continue doing them in January and through the rest of the year and set aside the money you earn into a “money for Christmas and birthdays” fund.

This list mostly consists of money making ideas to help you earn extra money for Christmas, but I’ve thrown in a couple bonus ideas on saving money and stretching your dollar too.

Ways to Earn Money for Christmas

Swagbucks

There are several ways to earn with Swagbucks – everything from surveys, games, watching videos, and searching on the internet. You can see some of the details on earning Swagbucks here and here. Sign up using my link and you can get 300 Swagbucks!

Seasonal Job

I know this one is hard, especially for us moms with little kids.

But it is worth looking for a seasonal job you can work around your husband’s hours. Find a weekend or evening job at a retailer hiring extra help the next few months.

Watch the classifieds, ask around, and also pay attention in Facebook groups for tips on these seasonal jobs.

Babysit

Have date night babysitting you offer monthly. Plan a babysitting night so parents can go out and buy presents and shop for holiday events without having to take the kids along. Adult only Christmas parties mean still another need for babysitters.

Present Wrapping Service

I can’t be the only one that is horrible at wrapping presents and gets absolutely no enjoyment out of it. But I know that some of you¬†love¬†it. Sell your gift wrapping skills – there will be people out there excited to pay someone (you) to do it for them!

Sell Baked Goods

I enjoy baking and cooking. Some people don’t. If you are skilled at baking bread, Christmas cookies, dinner rolls or fudge, considering selling your goodies.

Many busy families and people that really don’t enjoy spending time in the kitchen would prefer to buy homemade treats instead of purchasing grocery store items.

Please research Cottage Food Laws for your state before you get started. Rules and regulations greatly vary. You will also need to register with your state to file sales tax.

Rake Leaves/Shovel Snow

Get your kids involved and, depending on how early in the season it is,  rake leaves or shovel snow.

Print up flyers and hand them out around your neighborhood and town. Post on Facebook groups. Even if you do this for just one snow storm you can earn a chunk towards your Christmas expenses.

Help with Holiday Parties

November and December are busy months. Individuals and businesses are both hosting parties. If you are a skilled organizer and hard worker, market your services as either an event planner, event host, or an event assistant.

Sell Stuff

I dare say the majority of us have too many things. What do you have that’s quality and something that others will want? Considering selling on Ebay, Facebook groups, decluttr.com, or even having a garage sale. This is a quick way to earn money for Christmas. You will also be organizing and decluttering items you don’t use before more¬†stuff arrives from the holidays.

Donate Plasma

I’ve never done this but I have a sister that has sold plasma to save money for presents and other splurge items she wanted. You can donate twice a week.

Find Ways to Save Money

One of the best ways to “earn” money is to find ways to spend less and rework your budget! I’d say it’s one of the easiest ways as well – because it doesn’t involve finding extra hours each week to work. Make a menu plan and spend less on groceries, say no to coffee, drink water, have a no spend challenge. Here are some ideas on ways to save even on a tight budget!

I don’t want you to stress about finances this Christmas. Instead, sit down and plan on spending less on presents this year. Maybe have a simpler meal, and participate on fewer costly holiday events.

Then, use a few of these ways to earn money for Christmas and earn some extra cash to use to purchase the presents and attend the events that you decide to do!

Enjoy a debt free Christmas this year!

A pile of cash. If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from. Santa bag filled with cold coins. If you could use some extra cash for presents and parties this Christmas, check out these easy ways to earn extra money for Christmas! Enjoy not stressing about where the money is going to come from.

Educational Gifts for Kids That They Will Be Excited About

Christmas and birthdays are filled with all sorts of excitement and fun toys and gadgets. Isn’t it nice when you know that those presents will also be stretching their brain? Educational gifts for kids are the perfect solutions.

chalkboard and globe with list of educational toys for kids

This post includes affiliate links. More information on the disclosure page.

This list of educational gifts for kids is full of ones that they will even be excited about!

So many presents turn into clutter. These will be ones they will use again and again. I love the one time use kits too because they learn and have fun while putting the project together and then shortly after that you can dispose of it, not feeling bad. ūüėČ (Just don’t tell my kids that.)

Educational Gifts for Kids

1. Dinosaur Fossil Dig Kit

This would be a hit with both my son and my daughter. Anything dinosaur is a guaranteed home run.

2. Nature’s Explorer Kit

Perfect for your young kids who like exploring in the back yard. They will spend hours finding everything there is to see.

3. SmartyPants

Your kindergartner will think it’s cool to be called a SmartyPants as they go through the fun activities on these cards.

5. 3D Walking Dinosaur Puzzle

How cool is this? I’m telling you, it will be a winner for the dinosaur and puzzle lover. (Don’t exclude your girls from all things dinosaurs and science! My daughter loves both and wonders why dino’s are only marketed to boys.)

6. Pop Can Robot

My nephew received one of these for his birthday and I got to assist him with putting it together. He was so proud when it went moving across the floor.

7. Snap Circuits

Designed for ages 8+, they will love building burglar alarms and even a radio. Such a fun hands on way to learn about circuits.

8. Brain Builders

This game for ages 7+ will have your brain learning to go from a 2D pattern to 3D!

9. K’nex

K’nex takes building to a whole new level. So fun!

Be sure to check out the rest that K’NEX has. So many super cool looking sets!

10. Microscope

A present that you will also be able to use for school. Your child will have a blast using the included slides and finding numerous things around your house to inspect (maybe even the mold in that container that’s been in the fridge too long).

11. Bananagrams

Have some fun with words!

12. Science Kit

The young scientists in your house will find these kits amazing. My 5 and 7 year old love them.

13. Coding

Coding and a robot – a fun combination. This particular kit doesn’t require a phone or tablet.

14. Magnetic Tiles

A fun building toy that’s different than Legos. I love that it’s okay for ages 3 and up.

15. Gravity Maze

A logic game and marble run for ages 8 and up.

16. Geode Kit

You know it’s going to be a good gift when you get to break something. ūüôā

17. Sleuth Kit

Pretend you are a detective and learn some new skills while you are at it.

18. Human Body

This is recommended for ages 8-16. A fun way to learn about the human body.

19. Shape Sorter

The best toddler toys are also educational. Melissa and Doug products are always a favorite.

20. Doctor Kit

Another great idea for the toddlers to elementary age children in your house. There’s always something fun about doctor kits for kids.

21. Brickyard Building Blocks

This comes with building ideas from ages 3 to 7+!

22. Cash Register

Everyone needs to learn about money and every child loves to play cashier.

23. Puzzles

Puzzles are a skill all kids need to learn. My children started with these large Melissa and Doug puzzles. There are so many options, but here are a couple:

This extensive list of educational toys for kids (that they will actually be excited to receive) will make gift giving easier for you this year!

What are the favorite educational toys that you have in your house? I’m always looking for new ideas!

 

Be sure to check out these other gift guides for more ideas:

Best Experience Gifts for Kids
Educational Gifts Kids Will be Excited About
The Best Craft and Art Gifts for Kids
Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything
Gifts for Teen Girls
Gifts for Teen Boys
Gifts for Preschool Boy
Gifts for a 2 Year Old
Gifts for Preschoolers
Gifts for a Home Cook
Gifts for a Fitness Lover

toy robot and list of educational gifts for kids chalkboard and list of educational gifts for kids square graphic with chalkboard and globe. educational gifts for kids

Taking the Emphasis off of Gifts at Christmas

Christmas. A tree with presents piled underneath and stockings hung by the fireplace. Growing up, we’d always wake up early and try to whisper quietly for as long as we could stand it. Our morning would start with emptying stockings and amazing homemade cinnamon rolls. We’d then sit around the living room floor and go into the presents! So many great memories.

Is it Christmas without piles of presents under the tree? These are 8 great ideas to help your family take the emphasis off of gifts. Need to read this for this year!

We know you can buy presents on a budget, but what if you simply don’t want to have your focus on gifts this year? What if you want to take the emphasis off of gifts? What can you do to help your children know that Christmas is more than just presents?

I have come up with 8 ways of taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas.

Choose what works for you and take baby steps. If you uproot everyone of your traditions at once, your day might be spent with a lot of tears. Young children won’t understand your verbalization of why you are doing things differently.

Gift Less

This is a great first baby step. Instead of doing no presents, simply have fewer and then incorporate a few other ideas into your day. Christmas doesn’t have to be this big elaborate deal. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and have stacks of presents for each child. Be selective about what you buy. Your children don’t have to have everything on their wishlist. They might even appreciate what they do receive more than when their attention is divided between so many new things.

Family Gift

Stuff a stocking with little goodies for each family member but forgo individual presents and instead buy something everyone’s been wanting or go someplace fun!

Purchase some new movies, video games, board games, a swing set, trampoline or something that the entire family can do together instead of tearing through piles of presents. Spend the rest of the day creating memories and enjoy the one big gift.

Experience Gift

Go to the movie theater, rent a hotel room and use the indoor pool. If you live where it’s warm, take a trip to the beach or park. There are a lot of options if you think out of the box. Trampoline Park, museum that’s always been a little too pricey to make your budget cut, ice skating. This will, of course, depend on the age of your kids and interests in your family.

Add in special snacks and treats you wouldn’t normally have and make Christmas about the memories instead of the rush of opening presents that’s over in minutes.

If the experience you select isn’t open on Christmas day, spend the day relaxing, cookie decorating, movie watching, or serving and go on your adventure in the next week or two.

Go Serve

The family gift and experience gift both downplay gifts but you can take it a step further. Look around your area and find a service project your family can be involved in on Christmas day. Maybe help serve a Christmas meal.

I can guarantee your family will bond and you’ll remember this Christmas forever. Growing up we spent several Christmases delivering Christmas meals that a local church put together to those that are home-bound.

Go Minister

Contact your local nursing and assisted living homes. Spend a little time on Christmas talking with the residents that are spending the day without family. Listen to their stores, sing  carols with them, let them enjoy being around your kids.

Donate

You can either skip gifts all together and maybe have your family pick out items from the World Vision Gift catalog to enrich the lives of others around the world or give the difference of what you normally spend to an organization you select together.

Open Your Home

Keep your ears open around your work, church, areas of activity etc for those that have no place to go for the holidays. Invite them into your home, let them spend time with your family, enjoy a meal together, bring out the games and have a great time.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a day that revolves around gifts for your kids to cherish. Select some ways to take the emphasis off of gifts this year, you won’t regret it.¬†Focus on family, memories, serving, and others this year and it will be a Christmas you’ll remember!

Have you tried taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas in your home?

Is it Christmas without piles of presents under the tree? These are 8 great ideas to help your family take the emphasis off of gifts. Need to read this for this year!

If you are looking for more Christmas posts, check out these:

11 Tips for Christmas Presents on a Budget
Gift Ideas for a Teenage Girl
Gift Ideas for a Two Year Old
Homemade Gift Baskets (Food and Drink Themed)
Losing the Christmas Chaos
Look Upward
When Christmas Becomes a Joy Killer

Or if recipes are more your thing, I have a fantastic fudge recipe you need to try!

Linking up to these fun parties!

 

Gingerbread Latte

Guest post from Kara (one of my wonderful sisters whom you met last week)

I’ve been¬†barista at a quaint, little drive-thru coffee stand for¬†over a year now, and I can¬†honestly say¬†I enjoy¬†a good, tasty cup of coffee anytime. My favorite part of¬†working at a coffee shop around¬†Christmas,¬†is the delicious, Christmas-y latte flavors.¬†You know the ones I’m talking about, peppermint mocha, gingerbread,¬†pumpkin spice, and eggnog;¬†my mouth is watering just at¬†the thought of them.¬†But on my days¬†off, I don’t¬†want to drive all the way¬†there for just a coffee, so with the encouragement of Dee, I came up with my own latte/coffee recipe that I can make at home! That means¬†I can stay in¬†my warm home, in¬†my pajamas, and drink a warm, tasty¬†latte.

This recipe comes in two parts – the cold brew and then the latte. MAKE SURE to PLAN AHEAD for the cold brew – you need 12-24 hours.

COLD BREW

Ingredients: (may half, double, triple to whatever amount you would like)

  • 3 cups cold¬†water
  • 1 cup coffee grounds (Coarse or medium-coarse)
  • Coffee Filters

Instructions:

Yummy and perfectly spicy gingerbread latte. Perfect thing to get you going on a cold winter morning.

  • Separate the coffee grounds into several coffee filters and tie with rubber bands
  • Set the little coffee bags into a pitcher and pour the water on top.
  • Let the coffee grounds sit in the water on the counter¬†12-24 HOURS.
  • After 12-24 hours has gone by, remove the coffee bags and throw away.
  • Get a second pitcher with a strainer lined with another coffee filter. Pour the coffee through the filter.
  • Store in the fridge in a sealed jar.¬†Keeps for about 2-2 1/2 weeks.

Yummy and perfectly spicy gingerbread latte. Perfect thing to get you going on a cold winter morning.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Gingerbread Latte
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cup cold brew
  • 1 cup milk or half & half (I suggest the half & half or at least a mix of both)
  • ⅛ tsp. ground clove
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3½ tbs. brown sugar
  • whipped cream, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on low heat.
  2. Heat to your desired temperature, stirring occasionally.
  3. (optional) If you like foam, use a whisk to beat mixture until you get a foamy surface.
  4. Ladle out into mug, top with (optional) whipped cream and/or cinnamon.
Notes
Everyone has their own coffee tastes, some stronger and some weaker, so as long as you start with 2⅓ cup of milk/cold brew, you can easily adjust to meet your taste.

 

This week continues all things Christmas at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts¬†here.) Be sure to come back this week for a fabulous recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake (in a pie pan) and thoughts on losing the Christmas chaos! You can follow us on¬†Facebook¬†or¬†subscribe by e-mail¬†to be sure you don’t miss out!

The perfect gingerbread latte. Uses a cold brew. Great for the cold winter days.

Linking up to¬†Teach Me Tuesday,¬†Titus 2 Tuesday,¬†Create it or Bake it,¬†WFMW,¬†Welcome Home Wednesday,¬†¬†Homemaking Link-Up,¬†Lovely Ladies, Simple Lives,¬†Thriving Thursday,¬†¬†House to Home,¬†Thrifty Thursday, Pin It Thursday, The Pin it Party,¬†Faith Filled Friday,¬†Let’s Get Real,¬†The Weekend reTreat,¬†Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff,¬†Mama Moments,¬†Living Proverbs 31,¬†TGIM,¬†Babies and Beyond,¬†Do Tell Tuesday,¬†Recipe Sharing Monday,¬†Good Tips Tuesday,¬†Share Your Stuff Tuesday,¬†Weekend Wind-Down Link Party, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday,¬†Mixing Bowl Party

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Delicious Fudge – Fanny Farmer’s Fudge Recipe

You can’t really go wrong with chocolate and butter. Fudge is deliciously rich and decadent. The smells always make me drool as I walk past shops in the mall. I come across fudge being sold in flower shops, local diners, and have even seen it at an outdoor sporting goods store.

I can’t bring myself to spend $7.99 for a 1/2 pound when it is so easy and much cheaper to make myself. (Or maybe I’m just a scrooge.)

This is the recipe my mom always used and it’s a winner. (I have to ask who in the world is Fanny Farmer? I might need to go do some research.)

Don’t worry if when you add the butter it looks as though it won’t combine. Just keep on beating – it will come together!

Enjoy!

Fanny Farmer's Fudge recipe. Super easy and so rich and decadent.  One of my favorites.

Delicious Fudge - Fanny Farmer's Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 1 (13 ounce) can evaporated milk (or homemade)
  • 18 ounces (3 cups) chocolate chips (I like semisweet)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Instructions
  1. Boil sugar and milk for 6 minutes.
  2. Stir constantly.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients except nuts.
  5. Beat well until thoroughly combined. This will be easiest with a hand mixer or KitchenAid stand mixer. Around 5 minutes. If you stop too soon the butter might separate.
  6. Fold in nuts.
  7. Spread into a 9x13 pan.
  8. After it's firmed up, cut into squares.

 

This week continues all things Christmas at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts¬†here.) Be sure to come back next week week for a fabulous recipe for a gingerbread latte and more! You can follow us on¬†Facebook¬†or¬†subscribe by e-mail¬†to be sure you don’t miss out!

Bring your favorite¬†chocolate dessert to¬†Roxana‚Äôs home baking #chocolateparty¬†and win amazing prizes from¬†Imperial Sugar¬ģ,¬†Gold Medal Flour¬ģ,¬†Safest Choice‚ĄĘ Pasteurized Eggs¬†and¬†KitchenAid¬ģ

Thoughts on looking upward this Christmas season. Don't be distracted by the hustle and bustle.

Linking up to Link Party Palooza,¬†Strut Your Stuff,¬†Mindful Mommy Monday,¬†Living Proverbs 31,¬†Mama Moments Monday,¬†TGIM,¬†Babies and Beyond, Good Tastes Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Create it or Bake it,¬†WFMW,¬†Welcome Home Wednesday,¬†¬†Homemaking Link-Up,¬†Lovely Ladies,¬†Thriving Thursday,¬†¬†House to Home,¬†Thrifty Thursday,¬†Pin It Thursday,¬†Fellowship Fridays,¬†Let’s Get Real,¬†The Weekend reTreat, Recipe Sharing Monday

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The Best Teenage Girl Gift Ideas

Teenage Girl Gift Ideas

Teenage girl gift ideas. Don’t we all need those?! Teen girls. They have to be one of the hardest groups to buy for. You might be birthday shopping or maybe you are looking for Christmas gifts for teen girls. I’m excited for you to meet two of my sisters (maybe someday you’ll meet them all – there are 4 more!), Kara and Julia. As a sophomore and senior, they are the perfect ones to write this gift guide (and they have good style to boot).

They wrote this post to moms, but take the ideas and buy for any teenage girl in your life.

Remember, I’d recommend that you research any media or book suggestions before you purchase them for your child (or if you are buying for someone else’s child, run it buy their parents first) as each family has different guidelines.

Now, here’s Kara and Julia!

 

Some links are affiliate links.

Teenage Girl Gift Ideas

Teenagers can be very hard to buy presents for sometimes. As the years go by, it gets more and more difficult. So, coming from two teenage girls, here are some teenage girl gift ideas that we and most other teen girls would love to receive.

1. Clothes

If you know your daughter’s style and favorite store, any teenage girl would LOVE to have more clothes to add to their closet. Some of the popular stores for teens: Target, Forever 21, Aeropostale, Hollister, and Wet Seal.

2. Phone or iPod Case

Girls like to change their phone cases just as much as they like to change outfits. One of my favorite places for cases is Wallflower Designs. You can also look at Amazon.

3. Money

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be happy with receiving money. You can do whatever you want with it: save it, buy a favorite thing, or spend it on¬†anything else you want.

4. Movies

Most girls love to watch movies. It’s the best to cuddle up on the couch and watch a good film. I have a collection of movies that I keep stored up in my room that I can just pull off the shelf anytime I want to. One of my personal favorites is The Avengers.

5. CDs

Just like movies, teens LOVE music. We could listen to it all day if our parents would let us. I keep a collection of CD’s in my room just like I do with movies. If your child isn’t an album kind of person, get them an itunes gift card… which brings us to the next suggestion. I just love the Imagine Dragon’s album Night Visions.¬†

6. Gift Cards

Don’t know what types of music, clothes, jewelry, etc. your child likes? Well, gift cards are always a safe bet. It allows your child to be assured that they actually will get what they like. You can easily buy a gift card from your daughter’s favorite store, but if you’re not sure, you can never go wrong with iTunes,¬†Starbucks (or any other food place), or any of the clothing stores I listed above.¬†Don’t forget you can use your Swabucks to buy these!

7. Jewelry

Any girl would be happy to receive any kind of jewelry – rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, or anything else you can think of. I just love it when someone buys me an adorable necklace or a cute bracelet. You can find jewelry at almost any clothing store and even online. If you know their style and know they would love it, surprise them, but some teen girls can be pretty picky. You could make a date out of it and take her jewelry shopping so she could pick out her favorites.

8. Books

For your daughter that loves to read, any book would be the best¬†gift ever. Check and see if she is missing any from her collections of favorite novels. You can look through her bookcase to get her taste in books.¬†If you’re still not sure, one of our top favorite books ever is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

9. Perfume, Body Lotions and Spray

I know for me, I absolutely love body spray. It is my number one must have before I leave the house. Not only do I get lots of compliments from friends, but also it is a great way to smell fresh all day long. Bath and Body Works is always a given for a great place to buy from.

[Note from Deanna Рyou can also make your own to avoid harmful chemical. Check out this recipe for Body Spray or this one for Body Butter]

10. FOOD

This is a must have. Christmas is that time to fill yourself on foods that aren’t good for you. So why not go all out on one day? Just fill your daughter’s stocking with cookies, candy, gum, etc. Even if you have a daughter who is into eating healthy, you can still get tasty energy bars and healthy snacks she’d love!

11. Sunglasses and Accessories

Accessories are a HUGE part of a girl’s wardrobe. Scarves, hats, sunglasses, shoes, purses and you name it. Last Christmas this was all I asked for from friends. I loved it. You can easily dress up a casual shirt with a hat and scarf, and it’s super cute. Forever 21 has ADORABLE accessories, and you can find more at Target, Walmart, Payless (or any local shoe store) and basically any clothing store.

Depending on your budget, you can mix and match any of these options to create an awesome gift. We can be picky but we’ll love anything you give us.

 

Thank you, sisters! Hooray for ideas for Christmas gifts for teen girls. If you have questions for them or want to run a gift by them, ask in the comments! What are you favorite teenage girl gift ideas?

This is the fifth post in the Christmas series at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts¬†here.) Be sure to come back for the next post – a recipe for a Gingerbread Latte. You can follow us on¬†Facebook¬†or¬†subscribe by e-mail¬†to be sure you don’t miss out!
Gift Guide for Teenage Girls - 11 ideas any girl would love. (Written by two teens)

The best Christmas gifts for teen girls