501 Life Magazine | More Christmas memories, fewer gifts
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More Christmas memories, fewer gifts

by Brittany Gilbert

Celebrating Christmas with kids is really fun. It can also be stressful. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create a certain environment and specific memories, and often at a large financial cost and a little or a lot of our sanity. 

When I asked them, my kids couldn’t tell me what toys they received last year for Christmas. I can tell you what they got and also that they stopped playing with it shortly after receiving. However, almost a year later, they are still talking about the places we went and the memories we made that didn’t involve any toy present. 

Get back to the basics with some simple Christmas crafts, games and activities that will not only be fun and involve the whole family, but also not cost an arm and a leg. 

Kid-made dish towels

I’m all about crafts and sentimental items that I can actually use. This craft is definitely one of them, and it also makes a great gift. 

Here’s what you need:  

Dish towels (flour sack dish towels work great)

Fabric paint

Christmas cookie cutter of your choice (or handprint)

Contact paper

Pen

New pencils

Scissors

Trace your cookie cutter on the back of the contact paper. Cut it out and peel off the backing. Place the shape on the dish towel. Spread the towel out and put paper under the towel to prevent the paint from bleeding through. Use the unused eraser end of a pencil and dip it in a paint color to apply on the towel. This looks really nice if you use a few colors. The typical red and green for Christmas looks really nice, but you can use whatever you’d like. Once the edges are covered, peel off the contact paper and let it dry. Make sure to include the children’s names and dates for a keepsake. 

Advent calendar

Create an Advent calendar and fill it with memory-making ideas. Bonus points if the activities are cheap or free. Ideas include watching Christmas movies (there are so many good ones, so this can definitely take up multiple spots), make Christmas treats (reindeer chow, sugar cookies, peppermint bark, Grinch cookies) and make Christmas crafts like the idea above or another. There are hundreds of ideas on the internet. 

An Advent calendar is a great idea because it can help you stay on track and not lose track of time. Sometimes, before we know it, it’s the week before Christmas and we are struggling to figure out where the time went. Advent calendars can be a great way to keep the focus of the season where it needs to be. 

Another type of countdown to Christmas craft is the Christmas paper chain.

Things you need: 

A few pages of cardstock or construction paper (you can create a pattern or use white paper)

markers

scissors

tape

Cut your paper into strips and on each link write something small your child can do to prepare their heart for Christmas. Some ideas include praying for your school, praying for your neighbors, telling someone about Jesus, thanking God for your family, making something, giving away a toy you don’t play with anymore, etc. 

Put the strips in the order that you’d like to do them, fold the first strip over to create a circle and then pass the next strip through to create a link. Hang it up where you will enjoy, and each day, remove a strip and complete the activity. 

These are just a few ideas to create long-lasting memories as you celebrate Christmas with your family. Remember, our kids won’t necessarily remember what we gave them, but they will remember how they felt. They will remember spending time with their family during the holidays.