When you have a house full of kids, you learn how to have a little fun without breaking the bank. When Christmas rolls around you might be like me and have the same thoughts you have the other twelve months of the year.
What can we do together to make this (birthday, Christmas, summer) fun — and how can we do it on the cheap?
Here’s 5 things the Kraft kids have experienced that have made for some lasting memories–but before we get started remember this: the BEST memories are the ones that flop and fail, so let yourself off the hook and sit back and try not to control each moment–but just sit back and let them happen.
1. Look at Christmas lights in your PJ’s.
Our kids all remember loading into our blue Chevy Suburban around Christmas time. I’d make hot cocoa and fill them in cups with lids (I’m no dummy). Their pj’s would be on which made it more special and way easier for me to load them into bed afterwards. We’d sing Christmas songs and point and shout over one another as each child became a scout for the best lights.
Our youngest is almost sixteen years old and I mentioned going to “look at lights” this weekend and six feet of “Mr. Cool” was all in.
2. Make Christmas cookies from YOUR childhood.
Most of us make Christmas cookies with the kids, but how many of us make the cookies that WE LOVED as kids? As a mom, we’re the Christmas-pleaser who wants to make cookies they love…I say NO, not this year. Make the ones YOU love and I promise they’ll become the ones they love, too.
That’s why I make these cookies every year. They were my mom’s favorite when I was a kid. Eating these every year brings me right back to 1979 in San Lorenzo, California.
3. Read the Christmas story to your kids.
How much of this holiday do you spend sharing the reason for this time of year? It’s easy to get caught up in the have-to’s and to-do’s, but the greatest gift of all is the WHY and that’s Jesus. When was the last time you read the gospel of Luke chapters one and two?
This portion of scripture is what me and the kids have been reading before they take off for school. I want my kids to know the WHY and the WHO so they understand WHAT Christmas is all about.
4. Watch YOUR favorite Christmas movie with the kids.
There’s something about Christmas movies, am I right? For most of us, our favorites are in black and white. I’m a HUGE fan of It’s a Wonderful Life. I’ve learned you either love that movie or hate it. My husband falls into the hater category.
Each year we end our holiday season by cuddling under blankets, turning off all the lights but the ones on our tree and watching this movie. It’s the period at the end of the Christmas sentence for me.
Who doesn’t need to be reminded of the words Clarence tells George? “Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends.”
5. Teach your child to give.
This is the season of giving–so why are our kids raised with more
taking receiving than “giving”? They receive lots, so how about teaching them to give the way the Bible tells us to…anonymously.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:1-2
When our kids were little we learned about a hurting family in our town. These kids were very young and would be without both parents at Christmas. We gave each of our kids $10.00 and turned them loose at The Dollar Tree. We individually wrapped all the gifts and put them in a BIG sack tied off with a Christmas ribbon.
After church on Christmas Eve we drove to their house. We parked our car down the street and our son crept up to the front porch, dropped the bag of toys and ran back to our getaway car.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to teach your kids how to give. Just start somewhere. The neediest people aren”t always the ones who have the least money. The neediest people at Christmas are the loneliest ones. Teach your kids to spot them and help them give this year.
Make Christmas Memories That Last
Christmas is that time of year when a mom will kill herself making the day magical. Her heart might be saying, Toys R Us, while her bank account shouts Dollar General. Let me be very clear here: let yourself off the hook this Christmas.
Lasting Christmas memories are the ones wrapped up in time.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 90:12, Teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom. God reminds me every time I read it that this life is temporary which makes time my most valuable resource.
You don’t need a pocket full of cash to have a magical Christmas. Spend a little time on the ones you love this year. When you teach your kids how to spend with their time, you’ll be giving them the gift of a lifetime.
Katie Chaney says
All awesome suggestions, Joanne! This is a fun way to develop precious lasting memories/traditions!
Thanks Katie! Some of the best memories are the ones that flop and are less-than-perfect, right? xo