Holiday mode: Crafts, caroling, baking, movies and more!

I can't resist having a holiday craft party each year for the kids. I love watching kids create and it's lovely to have friends over.

I can't resist having a holiday craft party each year for the kids. I love watching kids create and it's lovely to have friends over.

I thought this was the prettiest glitter in the world. The Hobby Lobby lady said after you glue down the glitter hit it with some cheap hair spray and it won't fall off when you hang it.

I thought this was the prettiest glitter in the world. The Hobby Lobby lady said after you glue down the glitter hit it with some cheap hair spray and it won't fall off when you hang it.

I remember making these pin-the-sequins-on-the-foam-balls when I was little. The kids were very patient workign on them and did a lovely job! I have another set for me and Rose to work on alone.

I remember making these pin-the-sequins-on-the-foam-balls when I was little. The kids were very patient working on them and did a lovely job! I have another set for me and Rose to work on alone.

The 4-year-olds loved the holiday stamps. We didn't get out the finger puppets but we still have time to use.

The 4-year-olds loved the holiday stamps. We didn't get out the finger puppets but we still have time to use.

They were talking on Martha Stewart radio about making an easy holiday centerpiece with limes and pomegranites. My kids love red pears so I added those in as well.

They were talking on Martha Stewart radio about making an easy holiday centerpiece with limes and pomegranates. My kids love red pears so I added those in as well.

(I am adding a few more photos to the Momania Facebook page of stuff we’re doing pre-holiday.)

We are in full holiday mode now. The kids are out of school and Michael is using the rest of his vacation days so we are all home together.

There’s a lot of sleeping in, going to parks, watching holiday shows on TV,  holiday cooking and even a craft party with the neighbors. Tonight there is caroling in the neighborhood.

We had four families over to craft yesterday. We had three main crafts and then two crafts for the 4-year-olds in our group. (It was 11 kids total.) I got almost all the crafting stuff half-price at Hobby Lobby. I was a little too excited about buying glitter, googley eyes and a box of 750 craft sticks of all sizes for $7.  (Michael went shopping for Christmas presents during the party – he doesn’t do well with glitter.)

My favorite craft was the Styrofoam balls that you pin sequins on to make ornaments. The kids were so patient pinning them on and made very creative designs.  One child cut the balls and made a Mickey Mouse ornament with several balls.

At another table, the kids could make Rudolph’s with Popsicle sticks, googley eyes, puff ball noses and pipe cleaners for antlers. One of our fifth-grade boys made a mutated one – very creative. They could also do snowflakes with lots of lovely glitter.

The itty-bitties in our group loved the holiday stamps and also liked putting glitter on the foam balls. I bought finger puppets of the Holy Family but we didn’t pull them out.

After crafting for about an hour and a half the kids played Wii and X-box while the moms got lunch on the table – Boboli pizzas with fruit and sugar cookies for desert. (We had Chex mix too — the Costco had a box with all three cereals in it, much less than at the grocery store.)

Tonight the kids walk to each house caroling. The neighbors usually hand out treats. It’s sort of like singing Halloween.

How is your family celebrating the holiday prior to the big day? (I am wondering with Hanukkah, if families do crafts or other activities?)

33 comments Add your comment

M.....Just M

December 22nd, 2011
12:42 pm

You know, some of us have no families or can’t afford all that goes with this holiday. I think Christmas is the cruelest of all holidays for those lacking family or finance. It’s sad you don’t address this issue and instead, gloat about all the fum you think you are having.

I’ve more or less have gotten used to being alone, but Christmas day is an issue as there is not a lot of things to do as most businesses are closed.

Enjoy your holiday….Thanks for rubbing it in.

A

December 22nd, 2011
12:55 pm

As much as I might roll my eyes at some of the blog topics or things TWG says/does, I have to jump in and say none of the activities she’s talking about in this post are expensive at all. You can get those craft kits at Michael’s really cheap, and she goes to Costco and seems frugal with spending. I don’t think TWG is gloating, bragging or doing anything inappropriate with regard to finances and spending. Unfortunately not everyone is secure financially these days, and I hope the economy turns around soon, but I wouldn’t take it out on a mom’s blog about holiday crafts.

Betty

December 22nd, 2011
12:56 pm

Sounds like great fun! We love to do crafts here too, but haven’t had the chance to work in a craft “party” in a couple of years. We do have one friend coming over tomorrow to bake and decorate cookies with my daughter and will hopefully work in some more activities over the break.

@M…Just M–Sorry to hear of your troubles but I don’t think Theresa is trying to “rub” anything in by sharing her family’s activities. I hope you find some peace and happiness this Holiday Season.

jarvis

December 22nd, 2011
1:02 pm

Not really with today’s topic, but since we’ve discussed teacher “group/class” presents before I thought you guys might find it interesting that my wife’s class parents gave the Room Mother money at the beginning of the year for the class fund. Included in that were teacher gifts and party supplies.

It would appear that the Room Mother has spent the funds, and she does not have the money herself to buy my wife and her co-teacher a gift on the class’ behalf nor will she most-likely be able to produce anything else the funds were supposed to go for.

K's mom

December 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

We are on a very tight budget, but have had a ball this year making things for my family and not going to the mall. There are a lot of crafts you can do very inexpensively and Michaels and Hobby Lobby always have a 40% off coupon online and in the paper. Heck, Hobby Lobby has everything 50% off every other week, you just have to sepnd 5 minutes looking at the add.

You can also go look at Christmas lights all over town for only the cost of a little gas.

M…Just M, I am sorry you are alone. I have a dear friend who is unmarried and has very little family and is also on a very tight budget. Instead of telling everyone how rotten she has it, she goes out with friends who have become her family and truly enjoys this holiday. I do not want to throw stones, but sometimes folks are alone because of the sour attitude they put out in the world. Watch “A Christmas Carol” and see if anything hits home.

A

December 22nd, 2011
1:04 pm

@jarvis, do you know what the room mom spent all the money on? Was it for the class or did she pocket it herself? That’s really sad when you give money up front in good faith and someone can’t manage a simple task like that.

Stacey

December 22nd, 2011
1:10 pm

I’m not the least bit creative and (thankfully) my son isn’t really into crafty things so we don’t do a lot at home. He makes things at school and in scouts but only because he has to (the scout leader calls them “projects” because the boys think crafts are for girls). My job has an ornament decorating contest every year and I am always blown away by what some of my coworkers come up with (each team starts with an identical clear ball). I say every year that I am going to copy some of their ideas and make ornaments for teacher and friends but I never actually do it. The sad part is, I always buy the supplies so I have bags of googly eyes, paint, glitter glue, etc that I never use.

Off topic but still related to Christmas, this year my coworkers started “Elfing” each other and it caught on like wildfire. It’s a Secret Santa game except instead of pulling names, you just leave a small, inexpensive gift on someone’s desk when they are away with instructions for them to continue the game. Even though the gifts were small things like coffee mugs, candy, gloves, etc; it was a lot of fun and a morale booster. I only heard one person complain about her gift but she is generally a negative person anyway so no one was surprised. At the end, a big part of the fun was running around trying to find someone who had not been “elfed” (we hung a sign on our desk so they would know we were off limits). I’m sure it will become a tradition because it but everyone in the Christmas spirit.

Kat

December 22nd, 2011
1:17 pm

M…..Just M: I can’t believe that’s what you took from what Theresa posted. She was talking about the holiday and what she was doing (rather inexpensively) to help celebrate it. I think the previous poster hit the nail on the head – it might be the attitude that keeps people (and opportunities) away from some people.

It’s always good to check out the after-Christmas sales to get great deals on next year’s craft activities as well. Nothing wrong with getting a good deal. And yes, Hobby Lobby has their items on sale every other week – no need to pay full price.

It’s nice that a neighborhood will get together to do things like caroling. Our neighborhood is small, but we don’t do anything like that. Heck, we can’t even coordinate a neighborhood yard sale.

Kudos to you, Theresa, for getting everyone involved. And Merry Christmas!

Patrick

December 22nd, 2011
1:49 pm

I haven’t done any kind of artsy-craftsy thing for Christmas in over 20 years. My mom and I never did anything with arts and crafts for the holidays (I’m an only child, and had very few friends). Nowadays I bake a bunch of cookies and she’ll help decorate some of those.

After the cookies are decorated and set, I’d pack them up and ship them out or give out to co-workers. Shipped the last of the cookie tins (I use real tins, not the plastic or cardboard containers many prefer) last weekend. They’ve all been received already this week.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 22nd, 2011
2:01 pm

jarvis — we were just talking last night about a room mom who went overbudget after they collected at the beginning of the year and then asked for more at the party — the moms were outraged — wondering did the room mom embezzle or just go overbudget?????? more info please!!

K's Mom

December 22nd, 2011
2:08 pm

Ok, how is this for a budget gift. I am making banana bread for the family. As bananas get too ripe through out the year, I throw them in the freezer. I will end up with 12 loaves for less than $10. Listening to carrols while I bake. Too much fun…and I generally hate baking!

Figment

December 22nd, 2011
2:20 pm

@K’s Mom – that’s a great idea! I’ll save my bananas next year and then my son and I can make bread at Christmas time.

I made some dough ornaments with Christmas cookie cutters and plan to help my son paint and decorate them, then we can hang them on the tree. Some of those foam ornaments are cute too, he would love to make those.

M.....Just M

December 22nd, 2011
2:45 pm

Some of you have trouble thinking outside the typical parameters. It’s all of her holiday related blogs, not just this one. It’s this overly cheerful rhetoric that gnaws at those who are in a unfortunate situation. I’m not asking any of you to alter your plans, or not participate. I’m just asking to remember and be mindful of the ones who for what ever reason are unable to share in the holiday spirit.

Thank you and have a nice holiday.

Tnt's Mom

December 22nd, 2011
2:51 pm

I am not into crafting either, but have been doing the same ornament craft at Christmas every year for the past 18 years. I take felt, fold it in half and trace my child’s hand on it with pencil. Then cut out the felt and sew together. This makes it stronger than just one piece. Write the name and year on it with fabric paint, I usually put name on one side and year on other. We use Christmas colors of felt such as white, red or green. It is easy to poke the palm end with one of the wire ornament holders and VOILA – personalized ornament. I have one for each year for both of my boys. One is now 18 and the other is 14.
It is cool to have a fun record of how much they grow every year. I have so many now and of course as they get older the hands get bigger… I have a separate tree just for them. I put them on a short 3ft maybe tall tree on my dining room table. Only the hands and red ribbons adorn the tree. I also have 3 or 4 of my own hands from my childhood as my mother did this as well. I recommend this to anyone with a new baby.

K's Mom

December 22nd, 2011
2:57 pm

@Figment, I have done that for several years now. It seems we never get through a bunch before 1 or 2 get too ripe. All of my aunts and uncles have guests at the holidays so they have told me they enjoy having something like that to put out with coffee for breakfast for their guests.

@ M, again, I could name 15 or 20 folks off the top of my head that are in situations that some would call unfortunate (some financial, some with terminal illnesses and one with a dying child). I never see any of them with a frown or feeling sorry for themselves. They enjoy this type of fodder for an escape. I have kept my mouth shut about the trolls recently, but today I am over it. If you want to sulk do it by yourself. If you want to take that energy and do something positive then google Atlanta Community Food Bank or Hosea Feed the Hungry and call to see where you can volunteer. Otherwise, leave those of us with spirit alone.

K's Mom

December 22nd, 2011
3:01 pm

TnT’s Mom…what a great idea. I am going to make a Thanksgiving countdown tree with all the grandchildren’s hands (the hand prints are the leaves) next year for my mom. But I like that one too.

ssidawg

December 22nd, 2011
3:06 pm

I love this! I’m having a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party with some of my mom friends and their kids tomorrow. We’re having an ornament hunt (like an Easter Egg hunt), making a couple of crafts, reading The Christmas Story & eating pizza and ice cream cake (half-price at the Brunswick Dairy Queen). I bought boxes of round ornaments at the dollar store & found crafts at Michael’s (deeply discounted). I’m so excited to hang out with my friends and watch my 2yo son start to learn about this special season.

catlady

December 22nd, 2011
3:07 pm

jarvis–that is terrible!

M–yep, it is a tough time of the year for those with/without money who don’t have family or friends. Have you thought of volunteering at a nursing home or taking a dozen cookies to a fire station? Very cheap and might lift your mood.

Since this is a mother/family blog, maybe you’d be better off avoiding it this time of year. Try Kyle Wingfield’s Gloom and Doom instead.

I hope the next few weeks turn out even better than you ever thought they could!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 22nd, 2011
5:34 pm

ssidawg — love those ideas — very good!!! love the focus on Jesus’ birthday! good job!

mom2alex&max

December 22nd, 2011
5:51 pm

Jarvis: our PTA requires room moms to submit an account of expenditures twice a year (in January and at the end of the school year), so everyone knows where the money went. I have this feeling that it might be a PAT policy, not a school policy. If it were me, I’d DEFINITELY inquire further.

Also, I have to say, having been a room mom, let me tell you that money never goes as far as you would think it does. 10% of it goes right out right away for “teacher birthday gift”. Then there’s the parties, a couple of requests from the teachers for extra materials they need, and before you know it, you are out. I have stopped being a room mom because I have had to spend my own money once the funds run out and I am kinda over it. But let’s not assume something ontoward has happened. It is possible that things went over budget,

mom2alex&max

December 22nd, 2011
5:53 pm

to K’s mom: I have met a few people who are “alone”. It is usually their own doing.

Not everyone marries and has children (nor should they if they don’t want to!), but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. If I were single and had less family responsibilities, I would spend WAY more time volunteering for worthy causes. You’d be AMAZED at how positive you can feel just by helping others.

motherjanegoose

December 22nd, 2011
6:04 pm

I do not want to judge but I tend to agree with mom2alex&max about being alone. We recently heard a great sermon on sowing and reaping. The Pastor mentioned folks who claim they are lonely and have no friends. He then said, WELL…ARE YOU FRIENDLY? I am just home from Costco, where a man my age stopped to ask me about something in the aisle. I started talking to him and he told me all about his kids, who are grown. We chatted for 30 minutes and I do not know his name. Yes, I talk to everyone and have met some of the nicest folks. Yesterday, I ran into a Mom whose daughter was in my daughter’s 4th grade class. Her daughter is at Tech and mine is at UGA. We also talked for 30 minutes. I feel honored to know lots of different people and enjoy meeting them each week. Having friends starts with being friendly yourself and reaching out to others too! It is never too late!

TWG..I was the craft QUEEN when I taught school. December was a hurricane of glitter and glue. No more and I am fine with it but I do have wonderful memories of various things! Have fun!

K's mom

December 22nd, 2011
6:22 pm

@mom2alexandmax…thanks for the backup. Again, I should not judge, but I just know too many people who are having a really hard time in one way or another who are full of spirit year round and are out doing for others instead of feeling sorry for themselves. I was single until I was 34 and I have a group of friends that became like family just in case I never met Mr. Right. I was fortunate to marry and have kids, but it was not a certainty and although I was lonely at times, I made the best of it. One of the best things I did to combat loneliness was to volunteer. I worked at food banks, nursing homes, etc. It was certainly not completely altruistic, because I left each opportunity feeling great about the experience I had.

@MJG…you are so right, you have to be a friend to have a friend…as corny as that may sound.

DB

December 22nd, 2011
6:31 pm

@M…just M: OK, I’ll be the Grinch: Get over yourself. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” It’s a blog about families and kids. What else is she going to write about? The devaluation of the dollar? The Euro meltdown? Budget balancing? You come on this blog grousing because TWG made you feel bad because your life isn’t what you wish it was. That’s not TWG’s fault. You could elect not to read blogs that made you sad. You could write your own blog, complaining about the cheeriness of the holidays. But what you CAN’T do is demand that TWG write about something depressing so it will fit your mood. ‘

If you don’t have family, there are dozens of homeless people who would be overwhelmed by the gift of a small bag of candy and someone to talk to for a few minutes. I bet there’s a nursing home near you where some residents won’t see their families over the holiday because they are “too busy”. How about stopping in with some magazines? If you are lonely, but have love to give — have you considered taking in a foster child? The number of foster children has risen abruptly, because parents can’t care for their kids. Heck, if you don’t like people, go volunteer at an animal shelter — throw a ball for a dog to catch, bring some treats for the kittys, etc. In the new year, volunteer at a local school to read books during library time (works best if your local school happens to be one where the parents aren’t very involved — those kids need all the good adult role models they can get.) And if you celebrate Christmas, go to church services. It’s free, and basically, if you’re Christian, that’s the main point of the holidays in the first place. Everything else is just icing.

Your life may not be perfect, but no one’s life is perfect. You’re alive, you’ve got a brain, and you are in control of your own life. No one here is “gloating”. People are pretty much about as happy as they choose to be.

mom2alex&max

December 22nd, 2011
9:34 pm

Wells said DB, VERY well said.

Hindu Elvis Pimp

December 22nd, 2011
10:28 pm

You dumbasses do realize Christmas was a pagan celebration for the winter solstice?

To see you tards refer to it as Jesus’s birthday is funny and sad.

M.....Just M

December 22nd, 2011
10:39 pm

Until you live a day in my life, don’t give me advice on how to live my life…….Got it?

Kat

December 22nd, 2011
10:55 pm

Please don’t suggest that M….Just M take in a foster child. He/She is not in the right place for that at the moment. If you don’t want us “giving you advice,” then don’t post. Pretty simple! And here’s a simpler suggestion if you don’t feel like helping people who are less fortunate than you – and yes, they do exist – go see a movie on Christmas Day. The theaters are open. Then, go to Waffle House for a soda or a cup of coffee.

Kat

December 22nd, 2011
10:56 pm

@MJG: You’re right – you can make friends anywhere, can’t you? You’ve said it on this blog before, but if you remember someone from your daughter’s class (presumably) years ago, you have an excellent memory that I wished I was blessed with!

Have a great Christmas, everyone!

Denise

December 22nd, 2011
11:28 pm

Today has been one of the worst I’ve had in a long time but coming to this blog, reading all the cute stuff you guys are doing made me smile. Yes, being single and child-free at Christmas kind of bites but I am happy to be at home with my family…happy to be slightly broke (smile) because that means my nieces and nephews will give me big smiles and hugs because I bought them something cool for Christmas. It’s easy to be down but it really doesn’t take a lot of effort to find something to smile about if you look for it. You guys give me stuff to smile about and look forward to and today I really needed. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Seasons Greetings. (Whatever it is that doesn’t offend.)

DB

December 22nd, 2011
11:58 pm

@Hindu Elvis Pimp: It is the time that we CELEBRATE His birth. No one said it was His actual birthday.

jarvis' Room Mother

December 23rd, 2011
8:04 am

I be needin dat money for occupian you rich folks. how dare u be makin bling an my baby daddies be incaseroled for chillin wit the bloods. my babbies need there daddies supervizzin an them boyz throw some earth shakin booty calls fer me. I be axing em over soon as thay be releesed from prizin. that all now. i be takin dat rich peeple scool money an be gettin me some more krak.

Figment

December 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

@Hindu – well since I’m Agnostic, I don’t really care about Jesus’ birthday. Christmas isn’t about Jesus to me.