Monday, November 18, 2013

12 Great Things About Christmas


I have been thinking about past Christmases lately, and just what it is that makes Christmas so special. There is a magic to the season - a spirit of love, giving and celebration that makes the whole month of December more joyous than any other time of year.

Like other moms, I can get a bit frenzied in the weeks leading up to Christmas. With shopping, baking, housecleaning and all sorts of other tasks, the to-do list can be overwhelming. Which is why I spent some time recently thinking about all of the moments that make Christmas wonderful. As I looked back at Christmas photos from last year, I came up with my own personal list of "12 Great Things About Christmas."

1. The Christmas Tree Farm


Visiting the tree farm is just about my favourite annual event. Walking through the woods looking for the perfect tree, warming up by a blazing outdoor fire and sampling hot chocolate in a historic cabin - these are the things that Christmas memories are made of!


Of course, a visit to the tree farm usually involves snow, but last year it was pouring rain. It's all good. Each year's experience is a little bit different, and that means more fun family memories.


2. The Christmas Tree


Okay, it's not all fun decorating the Christmas tree. Taking out those many storage boxes full of ribbons, ornaments and lights can be pretty overwhelming. But we always put on some Christmas music and enjoy a few snacks to make the tree decorating more festive.


We also enjoy a good laugh each time we put the topper on the tree. Last year it was so close to the ceiling we had to replace our usual angel with a star. There wasn't even enough room to get the star straight. My bad, because I always insist on buying the tallest tree possible!



3. Christmas Decor


Once the tree is up and decorated, next come the stockings, candles and garlands. One of our favourite decor items is the Christmas clock that counts down the days until Christmas. It really builds up the excitement!


4. Holiday Movies


Holiday movies are a necessity in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We like Home Alone, Elf, Rudolph and It's A Wonderful Life, among others. What are your favourites?


5. Christmas Music


Around the first week of December my Christmas playlist goes into constant rotation, much to my husband's chagrin. I like to mix up the classics (like Elvis) with more modern Christmas songs.


6. Family Dinners


There's nothing like a Christmas meal to bring family together. It's time to get out your best dishes and your festive charger plates and sit down for a long holiday dinner together.


7. Cozy Nights in Front of The Fireplace


Christmas vacation brings with it more time for relaxing in front of the fireplace. (The closer the better for Jolene the beagle mix - why do dogs like to roast themselves?)


8. Outdoor Skating on Christmas Day


A simple pastime that is not to be missed - skating in the park followed by hot cocoa at home. Nothing more Canadian than that!


9. Playing Board Games


We have a huge collection of board games that gets ignored all too often. With no homework and no sports commitments, Christmas vacation is the time to bring out our favourites and challenge the kids to some healthy competition.


10. Time With Grandparents



My mom and dad usually stay with us at Christmastime and I love seeing my kids soak up all that special attention that only grandparents can give. Granny spends lots of time playing games with them and Grampy gives plenty of hugs!


11. Kids in The Kitchen



I like to get the kids into the kitchen at Christmastime. We make shortbread cookies, date squares, chocolate fudge and sugar cookies. Decorating the sugar cookies with sprinkles, icing and candies in red and green is a Christmas must for us.


12. Kids With Toys


Of course, it's not Christmas without a few toys for the kiddies. Okay, more than a few. They got a bundle last year, but I think their favourite was the Furby. Actually we all (mom, dad and grandparents too) enjoyed watching Furby dance to the music my son played on his iPod. I have to admit that we also tried to make Furby angry at one point. It's just so fun to watch his personality change.


Last year, my son put this mini hoop on the door leading to the basement and then spent the major part of the day doing just what that guy pictured on the box is doing. Not fun to listen to, but I couldn't possibly stop him when he was having that much fun.

Our Holiday List-Making Strategy


In the weeks (okay months) leading up to the big event, the kids point out what seems like hundreds of toys that they want for Christmas. I employ a strategy that my mom and my grandmother used before me - I tell them to get out a marker and the Sears Christmas Wish Book and circle the toys they want. Or, as my grandmother used to say, "Put an X on it!" I get my kids to take it one step further, creating a list from their circled picks (including page numbers)!

Top Toy Picks


I'm thinking online shopping is the way to go this year - avoid the crowds and shop from the comfort of home! All of the hot holiday toys can be found online at Sears. I love crafty toys that keep the kids busy doing something creative - like the Crayola Melt N Mold Factory and the Buki Chemistry Lab. My daughter has both of those on her list. Some of my kids' other top toy picks from the Sears Toy Shop include: the Musical Step-On Keyboard, the Franklin Sports Soccer Set and the HELLO KITTY Tablet.

Win Hot Holiday Toys!


Visit Sears on Facebook to enter to win one of their hottest holiday toys. Each Friday until December 13th, Sears will be giving away one of the top toys of the season. Enter just by commenting! Follow along with me and the other Sears Mom Ambassadors on Twitter using the hashtag #SearsMom.


What's on your Christmas wish list this year?



Disclosure: I am part of the Sears Mom Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

30 comments:

  1. I like your 12 great things about Christmas. Many are the same as mine ... music, movies, baking. My kids still like the really good board games too. Our favourites are Lego Creator (which I don't see anymore) and Bull in a China Shop (which is actually a card game and I highly recommend it!). Enjoy the build-up to the season! Wendy :)

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    1. Thanks Wendy! I will have to check out Bull in a China Shop! The kids are starting to like card games. Have a great holiday season! :)

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  2. There is just something in the air this time of year! I love it :)

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  3. This is a great post - aren't we so lucky to enjoy such a nice Christmas season - even though we moan and complain on many of those days leading up to it!!!

    I am listening to Christmas music right now on the XM radio!!

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    1. We are lucky indeed Jill! (And I do quite a bit of complaining too!)

      I don't think my husband could stand it if I started with the Christmas music in November. ;)

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  4. Great post! I think you named all of my favourite Christmas events (except skating! I can't skate!) The only other one I would add is reading Christmas stories! We just dug our out and the boys are going crazy about them!

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    1. I'm not a great skater myself Jennifer! :)

      So true - reading stories is a great one!!

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  5. I need to get back into the Christmas spirit. 20 years in retail has kind of killed it for me! As a kid I LOVED making sugar cookies and picking out the christmas tree. My brother's birthday was Dec. 15th so we always went out to dinner and then picked out the tree on his birthday. Then took it home to decorate. Since Ruby's B-day is on the 17th so we'll probably have a similar tradition.

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    1. Oh Laurie, I could see how 20 years in retail might be Christmas overload. Especially when they start displaying stuff in August. ;) But I bet Ruby will love Christmas and getting the tree on her birthday! :)

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  6. Your list is spot on Joann, but I would add one thing and that is attending mass on Christmas Eve. There is just something about being there, listening to the story of Jesus birth. It makes all the craziness of the shopping, wrapping, even entertaining part worthwhile.

    Suz

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    1. That is a very good point Suzanne! My grandmother would be happy you added that. ;)

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  7. LOVE THIS! Love all of your decorations and Christmas tree!

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  8. To be honest, I've been feeling kind of grinchy and dreading the holiday frenzy, but your post put me in a festive mood today. Gotta love Christmas movies....Home for the Holidays (which is really more Thanksgiving than Christmas, but still!) and A Christmas Story are my all time faves. : PS: I miss circling things in the Sears catalog! ;)

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    1. I'm really glad I made you feel more festive Heather. :) And I love, love, love Home for the Holidays! Thanks for reminding me! I will have to watch that soon. My husband loves it too! He also adores A Christmas Story, but I can't get into that one so much. PS: I think you should go ahead and circle a few things in the Sears catalog. My husband did. ;)

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  9. I'm looking forward to all of these things. One of our family favourites is sitting down to watch "A Christmas Story". It's our all time fav!

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    1. I guess I better give A Christmas Story a second chance - make the husband happy! :)

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  10. Oh how I love these. Especially the cozy nights by the fireplace. And the outdoor skating!!

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    1. Skating first, followed by a hot beverage in front of the fire, right Keith? ;)

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  11. Love this post! And I agree with pretty much all of it being the best parts of Christmas!

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  12. Great photos and memories! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Aw this is lovely! I used to live Christmas but somehow I've turned into Scrooge . Trying to get into the spirit, thanks for the nudge :)

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    1. You are most welcome! I'm sure watching your little beauties with their gifts will help too. :)

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  14. I can't believe Christmas is so close and I haven't even thought about it! We've got my son's present set, a present for both kids but no idea what to get my daughter. Her birthday is before Christmas and all our gift ideas end up being for her birthday and then we never know what to get her for Christmas!

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    1. I know what you mean. My husband's birthday is before Christmas and I have enough trouble coming up with a gift for one occasion, never mind two!!

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  15. These are great, I agree! Thank you for getting me into the holiday spirit with this one! And about the movies, I have to add that we must watch Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story (my oldest boy bears striking similarity to Ralphie) every year as a family!

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    1. I'm happy to help Lauren. ;) I love Christmas Vacation too! And I am going to try A Christmas Story again just because all of you guys seem to love it! So cute that your guy looks like Ralphie. :)

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