Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Book Activities

The weeks before the baby came Mike and I spent trying to prepare for Christmas as much as possible before she came.  My hope is that this Christmas can be a nice, relaxing Christmas where we can just hunker down in our house and be together and enjoy the holiday.

When I asked the boys what they were worried about when the baby arrived one of Will's concerns was that I don't get to spend as much time with them when we have a new baby.  He's right and we explained that along with the joy of a new baby comes some sacrifices as well--my time would not be as free as it otherwise would be.

Thinking about Will's comment and my desire to have a nice, quiet Christmas with the kids, Mike and I decided on some things that we could do to find a good compromise.  One of our traditions is wrapping Christmas books and letting the boys unwrap one to read at night.  This year we decided to do something a little more with this tradition.  (I should note that I do not have 25 books.  I have about 17 though)  Mike and I sat down with the calendar, a notebook, and the Christmas books.  We decided on activities that could go with each book and then scheduled them on the calendar.

I was worried that doing this was just going to add more stress to an already stressful time with a new baby. But I also wanted this Christmas to be one where we all spent time together as a family.  So we tried to find activities that could be fun but not too much work.  Also, Mike has to work still (he can't really take time off until finals are over in a week) so I didn't want to be stressing about getting an activity together when I have to be on my own already with all the kids and the baby.

Some of the activities are really simple and take very little time while others require a little preparation on my part.  I tried to schedule those activities on weekends or for the days after finals when I know Mike will be around to help me.  Some of the activities go directly with the book and others don't.

Anyway, we've done three days so far and things have gone pretty well.

Here is a rundown of the first three activities we've done to help us get in the Christmas mood:

1.  We read the book Christmas Magic.  It's just a fun book about a girl and a neighbor boy who each make a snowman/woman only to discover the snowman/woman come alive.  Trees and presents dance, mice make cookies, etc.  The activity we chose doesn't really have much to do with the book but we picked the boys up from school and then drove to the cemetery where we decorated Laila's Christmas tree.  We thought we would start out our celebrations by including Laila in the festivities.

  2.  The next book isn't really a Christmas book--it's more a winter book.  It's called Footprints in the snow.  It's about a wolf who is sick of all the stories written about big, bad wolves so he decides to write one about a good wolf who wants to make friends with the animals rather than eat them.  Because it is a story about animals we decided to make dog biscuits.  I found a recipe online and then we made biscuits for Diamond.  The boys loved making them.  They were thrilled because they are always asking to buy things for Diamond or asking to give him treats and they thought it was so much fun to make their own treats for him.

3.  For our activity tonight we read the book Santa's Suit.  It's a simple book I bought when the boys were much younger (and I'm surprised that they still like it).  It's about Santa deciding that he is tired of his red suit and that he should try other colors.  Each suit has a different texture that kids can feel.  In the end, Santa decided that red really is his best color.  Because the book is all about colors we decided to go find all the colorful lights in the town.  We went on a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt.  I just wrote some things for us to find on our drive (Santa's sleigh, a reindeer, a house decorated in all blue lights, etc.).  I looked online for light displays in Colorado Springs and we drove to some really cool houses.  The boys loved it.

Those are the three activities we've done so far.  Like I said, some of the activities really don't have a lot to do with the book but others fit a lot more.  Also, I have a good mixture of purely fun Christmas books and then some of a more spiritual nature.

I'm hoping these activities can be fun and memorable.  I really want to celebrate this year because last year was our first Christmas without Laila and we were so sad that had we not gone to Utah, we probably wouldn't have celebrated at all.  I really want this year to be different.  I want us to celebrate as a family doing meaningful things.  As we open more books and do more activities, I'll post them on here.


Mommo said...

You are starting some very fun and memorable traditions with your family. You might be interested in this link
It is a list of boos and crafts from one of my favorite les bologna writers. She likes yo keep it simple and her kids are close in age to yours.

chelsey said...

So fun! Your kids have the coolest parents ever. Have I ever mentioned that before?

Mike and Adrianne said...

Cindy, I'll definitely check out that blog. My books are fun but they aren't a great collection--I just bought a bunch from scholastic but I'd like to eventually be more choosy about the books we use. I do have some that I really love though. I'll check it out and see what books they suggest and the activities.

Chels, don't you do stuff like this with your kids all the time?! I think I saw you pin the Christmas light scavenger hunt. And you take your kids to see the lights at Temple Square and have Hot Chocolate Bars, etc. So, you are just as cool!

Frances said...

I had never heard the idea to wrap the books. I think I'll start doing that. The girls would love it. We only have a few but it'd be a start. I also thought the scavenger hunt was a fun idea. We love driving around to look at lights, that would be a fun addition. Laila's tree is beautiful!

Tana said...

Love this tradition! Would you mind if I started it with my girls? I'm always looking for new ideas.

Jess and Jen said...

We do the same thing with the books and just read Santa's Suit a few nights ago. One year I didn't wrap the books. and that didn't go over very well...they like unwrapping the book as much as they like reading it! Your activities every night sound fun too. What lucky kids you have! -Jen

Michelle said...

I love this Christmas tradition. Great books and ideas of fun activities to go with them. Thanks for sharing. I love everything you do. Our FHE will definitely be different tomorrow. Thanks for helping me with new ideas for my children. You are so talented and creative.