As a kid I remember Christmas mornings were always interrupted by someone searching for scissors, batteries, or grabbing a trash bag for all the wrapping paper. In order to minimize the last-minute running around for things on Christmas morning, we use a Christmas Morning Basket.
This simple basket goes under the tree and has all the things we needed for the morning. If you have little kids, be sure the basket is out of their reach or is covers so that they don’t get into things that could hurt them.
Here are some tips of what to put in it:
- Bible – To read the Christmas story before you start opening presents
- Scissors or a pocket knife – We prefer using a Swiss Army knife because it is harder for little kids to get into the sharp parts.
- Batteries (TIP – Take everything out of the packaging and put batteries in before you wrap it! Add some extra batteries to the basket, just in case.)
- Clear trash bag – For bows, bags, and other wrappings that you might want to re-use
- Trash bag – For paper, packaging, and anything else you might want to throw away.
- Small Zipper Bags – For little pieces to games and toys that might otherwise get lost in wrapping paper mess. Snack sized works great for this!
- Sharpie marker – To write on the zipper bags what the pieces go with or to write names or initials on toys that may be the same as another child’s (e.g. two kids in the same family each get the same stuffed animal.)
- Screw Drivers – Include a Phillips and flat-head screw driver for any toys you didn’t assemble prior to wrapping or to open battery compartments if you didn’t add batteries prior to wrapping. TIP – We always assemble and add batteries before wrapping presents.
- Note pad and pen – If you are sharing Christmas morning with someone other than your immediate family, make a note of what gifts they give and who the gifts were for so that you and your children can write thank you cards during the next week.
- Snacks – Especially if you have little kids or you didn’t eat breakfast before opening presents, include granola bars, breakfast bars, or other healthier breakfast alternatives to keep kids from getting too hungry while opening presents.
Recently I have been asked by several people if I actually try the projects I feature on this site. The answer is simple – YES! Some of the projects I followed the featured directions. Some of the projects I tried it another way that didn’t work well, so I found better directions to share with you.
Here are some recent examples of my handiwork:
Large Country Star Ornament Wreath Ornament Garlands
So by now you know I love Christmas stars. Of course I am too cheap to buy something new. So I have made stars out of cereal boxes (see Country Star) and paint sticks (Country Star II). This time I was looking for something larger to hang outside or in our large window over the door and stairs. Enter the yardstick star! A Little Bit Funky as put together an easy tutorial to make this large country star out of yardsticks!
If your family is like ours you LOVE watching all the great Christmas programing. Somehow, every year, we miss some show we really wanted to see. This year, I hope to avoid that because of the helpful guide from iheartradio.com. This guide lists all your favorite holiday shows (plus some other great family shows) with the network and airtime so you can make sure to watch or DVR your favorites.
Caution: This list is fairly comprehensive and includes several programs I do not endorse and would not show in my house. Use your best judgement as parents to make sure you don’t expose your kids to entertainers or shows that conflict with your values and vision for your family.
I love using plain monochrome ornaments and decorations at Christmas. To do with the ornament garland for the fireplace and stairs, here is an ornament door wreath tutorial for making a front door hanging out of ornaments.
Tip: To save money and weight you can trim down a pool noodle and duct tape the ends together to make a wreath form.
Tip: Spray paint your wreath form to match your color scheme. Then you will have to worry less about areas that show through.
Budgeting for the holidays actually starts months before you ever buy a gift or serve a cookie. Planning your holiday spending into your monthly budget is the best way to ensure that you have the money you need and don’t overspend. You can get a jump on your 2014 Holiday budget with these tips from Christmas Planning: Money.
But what about now in 2013? If you have saved away money and now have some to spend on the holidays here is a great new tool from Dave Ramsey: My Christmas Budget Tool! This tool allows you to set up a total budget amount and then a line for each family member and other gift recipient. You can set a budget amount for each person and add gifts in as you purchase them to make sure you don’t go over your budgeted amount. This tool will keep your spending on track and function as a great way of making sure you get all the gifts you need.
I am getting excited about decorating for Thanksgiving and Christmas and loving all the easy ideas out there. Here is one of my new favorites – Ribbon Ornament Garland! This simple garland can work for a variety of holidays. Use gold, brown, and orange ornaments for Thanksgiving. Use red, white, & blue for all the patriotic holidays. Use your favorite Christmas colors for the winter.
This garland can be adjusted to be any length you need and works well over fireplaces, on stair or balcony railings, and even on blank walls to add some holiday cheer!
Last year I posted about how to make a Country Star from cereal boxes. This was a great project for smaller stars, but now I am wanting some larger stars for decorating this Christmas. Lowes.com has put together a great tutorial for making a country star from twine and paint sticks.
Tip: Consider spraying the twine a color to match your Christmas decoration or a metallic paint to add shimmer. Embellish with ornaments or an initial letter to make a great holiday door hanging.
I must confess that during football season, much of our weekend (plus some Mondays and Thursdays too) family time and some meals happen in front of the TV (Gasp!). All 5 of us love football, and we totally understand that the players, coaches, and refs can hear us yelling our suggestions. Because of the time we spend watching football, there are drinks and snacks in the living room. And, inevitably someone (I have no idea who, cough-cough) tries to use the chair or sofa arm as a table and a drink or plate goes toppling to the floor. I have long wanted an “arm table” but many that you can buy are either cheap, ugly plastic, or just too expensive. I suspected that making one would be fairly easy, and it turns out I was right. MerryPad.com has posted instructions for making a couch arm table. A few simple steps and we now have tables to help limit the spills during football games. Now if I could just stop using my arms to make my point, maybe we could cut out all the spills!
BONUS TIP: These make great gifts for any sports or movie lover. You can paint or stencil to personalize to decor. You can also make these for kids with fun stamps that fit each child’s personality.
This week’s final Christmas cookie is a twist on traditional gingerbread cookies. The Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookie mellows the gingerbread flavor with butterscotch in a cookie that is stiff enough to cut (like sugar cookies) or roll into balls for round cookies.
TIP: These cookies can be frosted or dipped in chocolate.