By Ginger Solomon
Christmas with children is something I have been doing for over 20 years and I have a few years yet to go, thankfully. I love the wonder of kids at Christmas — the lights, the sounds, the joy of gifts — both receiving and giving, but in all the hustle and bustle we try to take time to remember why we celebrate — Jesus. No, this post isn’t about the “reason for the season,” but I can’t not take a moment and mention HIM. smile
So I’m going to tell you what we do to make Christmas Eve and Christmas Day exciting — especially now that the kids are getting older. You know, the older they get the harder they are to buy for and we’ve been through too many unhappy Christmas’s when a child (or more than one) didn’t get the ONE thing he/she wanted. Now they make a list and we rarely deviate from it. They basically know what they’re getting.
Somehow that kind of takes the fun out of it for me. So a few years ago, my husband and I came up with a code to put on the presents. Every present has a code, known only by my husband and I. The kids spend the few weeks before “the big day” trying to figure out which present belongs to whom. One year we just put their first initial somewhere on the package — no tags. That one didn’t work so well because when it came time to give out the presents, we couldn’t find the code either. LOL Last year we got smarter and used a random letter and the number of their birth in reverse. This year every present has the name of a food, but I can’t tell you the actual code because they haven’t figured it out yet. 🙂
Another thing we do is a treasure hunt on Christmas Eve. My husband and I make up age appropriate clues (three or four each) that take the kids around the house (and outside if the weather allows). The last clue leads them to a present. Last year, and again this year, they will receive a container of Jelly Belly’s – which everyone loves. The trick is to make the clue hard enough to take a few minutes, but not so hard as to frustrate them. For example – for a clue found under a candle for a younger child: burns bright when the power’s out. Now, they might think it’s a flashlight, but when the clue is not there, they will think a little harder and see the BURNS part. 🙂 For an older child: scents the air with light. Or something like that. This is an off-the-cuff clue and I sometimes have to go back and rewrite/reword them to get them just right. Since most of my candles are scented and I don’t have those nifty, smelly things that plug in, this works. Almost anything is fair-game as long as it can hide a clue (we use old business cards). The only thing I don’t do is have one child go into another’s bedroom.
This is some of what we do to make Christmas fun. In lieu of a writing prompt (I know I say that a lot), tell us what fun things do you do at your house so Christmas doesn’t become a “give me” day.