Most kids get out of school this week starting on Friday, December 21. I am so looking forward to my oldest daughter being out! Christmastime will finally begin when we can sleep a little later, enjoy each other’s company, and hang out at home doing all of our traditional Christmas plans.
I have loads of simple things on our agenda for the time off from school. I want to relish in the time home this year. Instead of finding a million things to do for the next 17 days, I just want to have some down time and rest and relax because we all need it.
We are going to start out this afternoon by making our baking ingredients list for all the goodies we’ll be making leading up to Christmas. My daughter loves to make lists, so this will be her task. We’ll be making the traditional Christmas cookie cutouts sprinkled galore. We’re also going to take a stab at making some different candies this year, like buckeyes  and peppermint bark . We’re making white chocolate cranberry granola bars  as well to give as gifts. I love the good old Betty Crocker cookbook my mother gave me when I got married – it’s full of simple ideas and I like the feel of having a real cookbook open when my daughter and I are baking in the kitchen. We’ll be cranking up the Christmas tunes as well!
One of the traditions we do as a family is wrap all of our Christmas books up and place them in a special box. Each night of the 24 nights before Christmas my kids get to unwrap a book and that is the book we read before bedtime that night. Recently we read If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff; in the book the mouse is getting all ready for Christmas, decorating his tree with paper cutout ornaments and stringing popcorn. We will be doing these simple ideas too, adding some fruit loops to the string to make it even more colorful. Break out the construction paper, stickers, glue, scissors and personally, the more glitter, the better! Head to your local library branch  to find some great books over the holiday break!
We’ll also be making cinnamon ornaments. Try this recipe  for ideas, or do a Pinterest  search. You’re sure to come up with lots to choose from. Of course we also do our family movie marathon and finish up watching all of our favorite holiday movies over the next few days. We still have A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and It’s a Wonderful Life to watch together. Cozying up in our pjs with hot chocolate and popcorn is a favorite pastime of mine this time of year.
We’re also going to make some candy canes out of pipe cleaners. We’re making them in green and white, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary school. These will go on our tree and remind us of the tragedy and sacrifice that so many made that day. We’ll also be making some to send away along with paper snowflakes for the school children in Newtown, CT. You can read about this endeavor here .
Head out to see some Christmas lights as well! I highly recommend Toyland Christmas ; you can read the review from Louisville Family Fun here . Another worthy activity that is very low maintenance: head to your local nursing home with your children, some of their friends, and other parents and sing Christmas carols to the residents. My daughter and a group of her friends have done this for the past two years and have gained such enjoyment out of it. It truly is a gift when we teach our children to give rather than receive.
Enjoy your family time together, perhaps trying to slow it down a little bit and take in the smaller moments spent at home this season. Kids love their school break - I just want to love it with them!
Photos by Erin Nevitt