Monday, November 15, 2021

Reposting

23 Free (or Cheap) Family Christmas Traditions
Author: Heather | Updated December 23, 2021

For some reason the link doesn't work for me. If it works for you, great, you don't need this page. If it doesn't - like for me - you do.

Watching holiday movies might be one of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions. Other families might make fruitcake, and some may even hide pickles in their trees. Whatever your family Christmas tradition may be, one thing is certain: it brings you all closer together.
But let’s get real, some holiday traditions are pricey! 

1. Start a Christmas tradition of adding kids’ handprints to a Christmas tree skirt.

Include the year with each handprint and eventually, the entire Christmas tree skirt will be covered in handprints of all sizes.

This is the perfect addition to your decorations, whether you have a traditional Christmas tree or not!

2. Go on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt with this free printable.

Turn this into an outdoor family Christmas tradition and bring some snacks whether you’re on foot or in a car. Make a list of everything you might see on the scavenger hunt, or use a free Christmas scavenger hunt list printable, and let the kids check off items as you look at lights.

3. Make a Christmas music playlist to share with all your friends and family.

4. Refresh your Christmas movie tradition by wrapping movies to open and watch each night.

Unwrapping a surprise movie each night is almost as much fun as watching it together. It’s one of those family Christmas traditions that will go on forever! (You can also pack a shoebox with the movie and things for themed movie night)


5. Or, wrap Christmas themed books to read every day during the holidays.

Try to aim for 12 books for the 12 nights of Christmas. Each night one child gets to unwrap a book for you to read. Check them out at the library or just use ones you already own.

6. Put together a night-before-Christmas box.

Include new Christmas pajamas or slippers, a movie or a book (even if you already own them!), a fun game and maybe some hot cocoa and popcorn.

Whether you have kids under the age of 5, teenagers or adult children, this Christmas tradition is always a bonding experience.




7. Leave candy in shoes in honor of St. Nicholas Day.

Saint Nicholas was a real saint known for being kind, helping those in need, and loving children. St. Nicholas Day is on December 6th, and traditionally, children leave their shoes by the door for St. Nicholas to bring them gifts and treats. Make this a Christmas tradition and fill shoes with candy. You can even sneak in candy from Halloween. (Traditionally, the kids fill their shoes first with snacks for St.  Nicholas' horse - carrots and hay. It's not for nothing, you know. :-D)



8. Make DIY reindeer food a new family Christmas tradition.

Mix together a combination of rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, red and green sugar crystals, and sprinkles. Sprinkle your homemade reindeer food in the snow for Santa’s helpers for a fun Christmas Eve tradition. (Stay away from actual glitter or any non-food items which are harmful to critters who may get into them.)

9. Write a letter to a soldier with Operation Gratitude.

Have every member of the family write a letter of gratitude to the soldiers serving overseas. Operation Gratitude allows you to say thank you, which is especially warming during the holidays when our soldiers are away from their own families.

It’s a great Christmas tradition that’ll help your kids spread joy without spending a dime.

Important note about sending letters: Please don’t place letters in individual envelopes. Just bundle them all together and mail them directly to Operation Gratitude, which will take care of the rest.

10. Adopt a family together.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children and teens the spirit of giving. Make it a Christmas tradition to work with local charities to find a family in need, then get your family together in buying, wrapping, and delivering gifts.

11. Set out 12 boxes filled with themes and activities for the 12 Days of Christmas.

Twelve days of Christmas fun means being as creative as you can — from gingerbread day to movie day. Inside each box or package should be a full list of ideas, and also contain supplies for that day’s theme.


Make sure to save the best for last and a sweet Christmas Eve tradition!

TIP: Instead of wrapping surprises, just decorate paper bags with markers.

12. Create hope notes for next Christmas and tuck them away in holiday stockings.

This Christmas tradition starts on the tail end of Christmas. As you pack up your stockings for the year, each family member writes a note with a hope or goal they want to happen by next Christmas. Put it in a stocking for the following year. It’s fun to read what everyone hoped for and a good opportunity to reflect on the previous year.

13. Host a Christmas sock exchange.

Host a holiday sock exchange party asking friends to each bring a pair of holiday socks filled with their favorite things. Set a budget so everyone ends up with something fun.




14. Buy or make a new Christmas tree ornament to represent the year.

15. Start a Christmas pickle tradition (a.k.a. hide the pickle ornament).

After everyone goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, hide a pickle ornament somewhere in your Christmas tree. The first person to find the pickle on Christmas morning gets a special gift.

16. Buy an unexpected Advent calendar for cheap.

Funko Pop, LEGO, Friends, wine and cheese…the variety of Advent calendars these days is amazing.


17. Play BINGO while watching Hallmark Christmas Movies.

If you’re one of the many people who love watching these cheesy classics, make it a new Christmas tradition to play Hallmark Christmas movie BINGO

18. Make a keepsake ornament showing the length of your child with ribbon.

Measure your child’s height with ribbon and place it in a clear ornament. 


19. Label presents with holiday names instead of real names and don’t tell anyone who’s who until Christmas.

When you fill their stockings, place a small ornament at the bottom that reveals their Christmas tag name. For example, a reindeer ornament for the child whose presents are labeled Prancer.
(Variation of this is to wrap all the gifts for each child in their own wrapping paper and put a piece of that paper in their sock.)


20. Create a hanging DIY Christmas card display using greenery and a tree branch.


21. Have a Christmas cookie decorating party.

22. Dedicate a night to play the Silver Bells memory game.

The Holiday or Silver Bells memory game is just like the game Memory only this one calls for Hershey’s kisses and Christmas stickers, two sets of each, just like regular Memory! I’m all about family Christmas traditions where everyone gets chocolate.

23. Surprise friends and neighbors with a “Jingle.”

It’s like doorbell ditch, but with happy surprises. Drop off treats or cards for a sweet surprise. This free “You’ve Been Jingled” printable explains it all.





Monday, August 3, 2020

Holiday decoration

I live in an apartment in suburbs, in a high-rise. Our apartment is a 60 sq.m. apartment (About 650 sq.ft). There is a big living room, a hallway, a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom and a balcony.
I am holiday crazy, so I want everything decorated from floor to ceiling.

It helps to divide the area one needs to decorate into sections, go through everything on paper, and then decorate it in one go, as it's best to store all the decorations in types, rather than "kitchen decorations" - that makes it easier to store them, see new possibilities in decorations, switch up things a little, and mend and replace certain items. If all your lights are in one box (or set of box, if you have a lot), you can just take that box out of the storage and put it back when the fix is done.

I start in the order people enter my home, that is, at the front door.
As I live in a high rise, multiple home house, the fire safety is important, and all the decorations outside the apartment should be kept flat and fire resistant. There shouldn't be any loose parts that can fall to the floor as people pass the door, as that causes more work to the cleaning personnel. I nevertheless choose to put a small wreath on my front door. Ideally it would be painted metal.

Scott Gustafson - St. Nicholas in His Study

The fun really starts when one opens the door. I usually try to put the punch in at the entryway, to create the sensation of entering magical fairyland, almost like stepping through a portal to Narnia or Santa's workshop or something seasonally appropriate like that. To create that, one is to be greeted by all the five senses - now - in practice it's only three, as taste and touch are basically impossible to stimulate without the participation of the subject :-D But, it should look magical, smell magical and sound magical. It is, of course, appropriate to give the people entering an opportunity to taste and touch as well, so there is a welcoming treat table at the door, and things that invite people to touch them.

Now, this magical fairyland shouldn't hinder the use of the entryway.
The entryway has two uses - one for the people who live in the home and another for guests. Both should be accommodated. My idea of how to "season" this is to make it feel as if you entered the seasonal fairy's home. :-D
(The seasonal fairy - at Yule that's Santa, of course. At Ostara the Bunny. You see, "fairy" is a name for a magical being of any description, and each Sabbath has a "personification".)
Of course, I imagine all these fairies' homes to be different, but mine is the same all the time - and I am not a personification of a Sabbath :-D So I have to disguise my personal items, to fit the theme. It's like giving your home a masquerade costume.

In my hallway this means:
- the rug
- chair covers
- garland framing the doorways made of seasonal floristry (for example, at Yule it's evergreens, at Mabon Autumn leaves)
- I hang the holiday cards on the mirror frame
- the pictures are either changed to seasonally appropriate images or "holidaised" :-D (bunny ears on people in pictures, or santa hats etc.)
-

The second part of the apartment is the bathroom, which is going to be used by everyone, household and guests alike.
It is important to me that the bathroom is clean, and feels clean, too, so there shouldn't be that much things. Basically just the season appropriate textiles, towels, and so on.


The living room is on the one end of the apartment, so I'll tackle that next.

There are a couple of special spots in the living room.
1) the big window. It is important to me to decorate the windows in every room, and this, the biggest of them all, is extra special.
2) the tableau scene
3) the sweet table - here will be all the candy, cakes and other such things set on the Big Day, and the candy will be here during the whole holiday season.
4) the "tree"

Also, the sofa needs to be decorated with seasonal textiles, cushions and blankets, the mantelpiece needs to be decorated, and the coffee table.


The kitchen is on the other end of the apartment


Now, I do have a "back door" to my apartment, as I have a balcony, and that door can be decorated as lavishly as I wish :-D I usually decorate my balcony as if it was my porch.
I also try to remember that that area is what the neighborhood sees, so it's a bit of my "Christmas light" area - a gift to my neighbors and a reminded of what the season is all about.
We also see the balcony from our kitchen table, so that needs to be minded as well when decorating the balcony. What goes on should be enjoyable from inside as well, and I don't want to hide the God's decorations either - after all, what goes on in the nature surrounding the house and the neighborhood is more important than what I decorate :-D I want to see the changing of seasons in the nature as time goes by.


The last is the bed room, where the guests aren't welcome :-D (of course they may enter if I want to show them something, but bedrooms are private.)

I have created myself a handy little table about the correspondences of the different Sabbaths. It is easy to just "convert" an idea to fit any Sabbath.
I love the creativity of people celebrating different holidays, especially Christmas and Halloween, and this makes it possible for me to extend my own imagination to decorate for the lesser known Sabbaths, like Lughnasadh. The poor darling... 
 

Samhain
Yule
Imbolc
Ostara
Beltane
Litha
Lammas
Mabon
color
orange
black

colors of soil and root vegetables
red
green

gold
silver
white
red

indigo
pink
purple
ice blue
silver
black, grey
colors of soil and stones 
snow and ice
yellow
green

pastel colors
green
white

red
pink
blue
orange

colors of water and sun/fire
green
brown

gold
colors of grain and cereals
straw, dry grasses
burgundy
orange

colors of wine, grapes, and autumn leaves
symbol
pumpkin
firtree
candle
egg
flower
sun
ear of wheat
leaf
tableau
Ceridwen
Hekate
Birth of the Sun

Brighid
Idunn
Cybele
Freya
Chloris/

Flora
Death of the Sun

Ceres and Persephone

Mabon
Dionysos


ghosts
witches
monsters
gnomes
santa
elves
snow people 
cailleach

angels
Brigid
fire creatures
snow people 
gruvrå
Easter bunny
fairies
sprites, elves
sinipiika
merfolk
water creatures 
näkki
bäckahästen
kelpies 
selkies
maahinen
vättar
vittror
jordrå
the fairy people who live in mounds
fauns and nymphs
baccants
skogsrå
huldra
Animals
black cats
bats
crows
pig
reindeer
robin and other winter birds
wolves
burrowing animals
sheep

red and white winterbirds, like bullfinch, redpoll and snow bunting
bunnies
chicks
lambs
white deer
goat
cow
butterflies
spring birds, especially lark and finch
fish
horse
wren 
swallow
swan
mice
rooster
sparrow
bull
leopard and other spotted cats
hunting dogs
blackbird
Flowers
black :-D
marigold
bare branches
evergreen
Christmas flowers, like poinsettia, Christmas rose, hyacinth etc.
snowdrop
white flowers
pussywillows

daffodils
spring flowers, especially crocus, tulips
starflower
birdcherry
hawthorn
elder
rowan
bluebells
liverwort
buttercup
wood anemone
lily of the valley
daisy
summer flowers, especially the ones that bloom on meadows,
rose
peony
- birch
poppy, cornflower, daisy – flowers that bloom on corn fields
sunflower
grain
lavender
chrysanthemums and dahlias
wine
ivy
maple

So, how to use this?
You find a nice photo, but let's say it's a photo of a Christmas decorated kitchen, and you want to change it to fit your Lammas. It has cute little café curtains made of a jolly Christmas print. So, get cute little café curtains made of a jolly Lammas print. There's plenty of prints with wheat, but if you can't find any, take something with soft sage green or gold.
There is a large wreath in the window. That's easy to replace, with a wheat wreath or similar.
The kitchen textiles should, obviously, be Lammas themed, green, golden brown, wheat colored, yellow, maybe with roosters. Gingerbread houses are perfect for Lughnasadh, but not decorated with white icing, because it's not winter - duh :-D Change the garland into one with lammas motives and colors. You can't find a lot of these special holiday items for Pagan Sabbaths in stores, but you can make a lot of them yourself.


Now, there's a lot of witches, ghosts, bats and cats around for Halloween, but not much for the Autumn feasts - at least not the same style. I can find something similar, easily, for Ostara, Yule and Samhain, but the rest of the feasts are a lot more difficult. Now, for Mabon, I replace things with forest animals, especially foxes and squirrels.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

First day of Autumn :-)

Some years ago I created myself an "Autumn bucket list", to be done from 1st of August to 31st of October - or Lammas to Samhain. So, this year I am actually going to do it :-D

Now, there is one specific thing (and I say "one", even though there are several points on "that thing") on that list, that will cause me some problems:

"Have a teddy bears' picnic, October 27th (The International Teddy Bear Day)"

"Host or attend a fall festival with fun games, crafts, and prizes!"

"Celebrate Lughnasadh August 2nd"
Yes, it should be on the list, but isn't... 

"Stay up late and watch the harvest moon 28/9"
The harvest moon is on October 1st. Which means, there is 2 full moons in October, the other, the Blue Moon, falls on... Samhain :-D YAY!

"Celebrate Rosh Hashanah September 14."
18th of September this year.

"Celebrate Yom Kippur September 22."
27th of September this year

"Celebrate Sukkot September 28-October 5"
2nd-9th of October this year.

"Celebrate the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival September 27"
1st of October. (Which also happens to be my husband's birthday :-D)

"Celebrate Mabon 23/9"
22nd this year

"Celebrate National Potato Day, 19/8"

"Celebrate Oktoberfest"
Should have happened 19/9-4/10, but is cancelled because of Corona, but I wouldn't have been able to go to Germany in any case, so that is not a problem.

"Have a Halloween bonfire with hot apple cider"

"Have a Halloween masquerade party with apple bobbing"

Why will this cause me problems? You know, I always have big plans and then it fizzles into nothing.

Autumn Bucket List
Autumn Crafts