Two Legged Fun

Creating New Holiday Traditions: Night’s Before Christmas Care Pack

Our kids are at a young enough age that we are still trying to figure out what Christmas is for us as an immediate family of four.  We now have three Christmases as parents under our belt, and my son is finally at an age where he has a greater appreciation for the Christmas activities we plan and is able to start remembering some of the yearly traditions we might have.

I have been looking for new traditions to start with the kids this year and two of the ideas I fell in love with is were the Advent Calendar/Christmas Countdown from Urban Daisies:

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And the Christmas Eve movie box (source unknown):

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The books was easy enough to do after I hunted down all the Christmas books we already owned and bought a few more from Costco and Dollarama.  A couple rolls of wrapping paper (Mickey, of course) plus one night of wrapping and  we were set!

The Christmas Eve box ended up being a lot more complicated.  It is a box packed full with a new Christmas movie, pajamas, popcorn and hot chocolate to be enjoyed on Christmas Eve.  It would have been perfect at our house growing up where we typically went to church early and then got new pajamas and enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve watching a movie (preferably Muppet’s Family Christmas), but my husband’s side does things a bit differently.

For the last several years we have spent Christmas Eve with my husbands family and it isn’t the quiet, relaxing evening I was accustomed to as a kid.  We head there in the late afternoon and are there until well past bedtime attending an evening church service and then opening gifts and enjoying snacks.  Santa always visited my husband and his brother’s while they were at church, whereas my siblings and I had to go to bed on Christmas Eve and Santa would come while we were sleeping.  Our own children get to enjoy a hybrid of both: opening gifts with my husbands family Christmas Eve and then having Santa leave gifts at our own house for them to open Christmas morning.

I did consider doing a Night Before Christmas Eve box for the kids, but that seemed kind of silly.  I finally settled on the idea of doing up a slightly different package for the kids to open at the same time we started our Christmas book countdown.

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The bedtime care package I put together for the kids included:

  • Christmas themed body wash, shampoo, bubbles and handsoap for bath time
  • New Christmassy pajamas
  • Sippy cups for their milk before bed
  • A package of cookies for bedtime snack
  • A small bag of Hershey Kisses for a treat
  • A new stuffed friend each to snuggle

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I also included a somewhat lengthy note explaining their gift and the book countdown:

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I am not sure it has help make my children any better behaved, but they are a lot more willing to go for a bath each night and I love seeing their excitement each night as they choose a book to unwrap.

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It hasn’t taken my 18 month old long to catch onto this new routine and she has begun bringing me wrapped books throughout the day wanting to open them.  If nothing, we are getting good unwrapping practice in so she is ready for the big event next week!

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Now that we have all the books, this is something I will definitely do again in the years to come.  I have typically waited until Christmas Eve to give the kids their Christmas pajamas but I love the idea of giving them in the care package to wear throughout the entire month of December.  The care package was quick and inexpensive to put together and is just one more little way I can bring a touch of magic and excitement to the holiday season.

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Celebrations, Gift Ideas

Backpack! Backpack! Dora Themed Gift Wrap

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Over the past year, I have been lucky to meet some very lovely ladies and their adorable children through our playgroup.  I had been in other mommy groups and classes and haven’t really clicked with anyone so I am thankful to have found these ladies and get to spend time with them on a weekly basis.  Our friendship has grown outside of the regularly scheduled playgroup now and I am so excited that we have now started to be invited to some of the kids birthday parties.

The first party we have been invited to was a Dora themed party so I wanted to find the perfect gift.  There is a lot of cheap Dora themed stuff out there so I ended up settling on a cute Disney princess dress and tea party set.  I decided I could make it Dora themed through the wrapping, so I bought a roll of purple wrapping paper and set to work!

Part 1 – “Backpack” wrapping

This idea came from purple paper bag backpack themed treat bags I have seen on the internet.  The gift I bought was a nice rectangular shape so I decided to wrap it and make it look like backpack.  I simply started by wrapping the gift as normal with purple paper.  The pockets, top flap and back straps were just folded out of the same gift wrap and taped on.  The finishing touch was Backpack’s face which I found on the internet and printed on my home computer.  It was cut out and attached with double sided tape.

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The pockets on the backpack were stuffed with Dora fruit snacks and a Dora themed activity book I found from the dollar store.  When I showed the final backpack to my 3 year old, his first questions was “where’s Map?”  With all the other stuff I had for the pockets I didn’t even think to add him, but I am so glad my 3 year old suggested it!  To make Map, all I did was print the same face I used for backpack and rolled up the sheet of paper.

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Part 2 – Helium Balloon Star

If you have been “lucky” enough to have seen an episode of Dora, you have probably seen the happy faced stars floating around.  When looking for Dora gift ideas on the internet I came across pictures of these stars and they reminded me of the star shaped helium balloons I have seen at Dollar Tree.  I know how much my 3 year old loves helium balloons so I thought this would be a nice little addition to the gift.  Unfortunately my Dollar Tree was out of the big star shaped balloons so my idea to have stars floating above backpack had to be modified to be a small star shaped balloon coming out of Backpack’s pocket.

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The balloons are cute on their own, but I figured they could use an extra Dora touch by adding faces to them.  To do this, I simply painted eyes on in whiteout and used a sharpie to draw in the mouth and eyeballs.  And then I found cute “Happy Birthday” helium balloon with Dora on it at Dollarama so I was still able to have a balloon floating above backpack!

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I love the way it turned out and was so excited to give it to the birthday girl.  She didn’t even notice the gift inside wasn’t Dora related, and her mom tells me she was asking for a princess dress anyway, so it ended up being a perfect gift all around.

Now my problem will be to come up with something equally awesome for the next party!  I think I may have set the expectations a little high.