As a busy homeschool mom to three, I want to savor the holiday season… without losing my marbles! I know I am not alone! Today, I am chatting about the importance of those super-simple holiday activities.
But, first, I’d like to tell you a story…
Several Christmases ago, we were about to embark on a months-long kitchen renovation. I was overwhelmed with packing up our spaces and planning how on earth I was going to feed the family during the mess.
And Christmas was coming.
How was I going to create Christmas magic for the kids when we had a refrigerator parked in our family room, where the tree normally stood? How was I going to create a sense of holiday spirit when our mantle housed our coffee pot and a bunch of bananas?
Life felt chaotic, not merry.
I wanted, desperately, to find our merry. And so I did something that might, at first, sound a bit crazy…
While the kids were upstairs having quiet time, I took a sharpie to all the walls and cabinets
And then, when I was finished and quiet time was over, I called the kids downstairs, turned on some Christmas music, and invited them to paint on our soon-to-be-demolished walls and cabinets.
That was years ago and my kids still talk about how magical that day was for them!
Those super-simple holiday activities are important for everyone!
My point is this: we get all caught up in the big stuff. We want the tree trimmed perfectly, the mantle to look Instagram-worthy, we feel we need to do all the big holiday events.
But the magic happens in the space between. It’s in the moments shared, the memories made.
The holiday season could be so much simpler if we got out of our own way from time to time.
Now, I realize that I just shared a rather unique set of circumstances. Most people can’t paint on cabinets and walls, but let me tell you another story…
Super-simple holiday activities: A Nutcracker Breakfast
Several years ago, I woke up with a migraine. I get them periodically and they are awful. When I wake up with one, I’m junk for the rest of the day. I want only to put a pillow over my head and wish the day away.
But Christmas was coming.
I had a list of bucket-list items a mile long. I had planned to make gingerbread houses and cookies with the kids. We were going to make our beloved Grinchy Dough. We were going to enjoy moments shared and make some memories.
Except I couldn’t. My migraine was making me nauseous and I needed to lie down…fast.
So, in a moment of desperation, I asked the kids to grab a blanket, milk, bowls, and cereal and meet me in the family room. I popped in a DVD of The Nutcracker and I let them have at it.
They ate cereal and watched The Nutcracker while I was sprawled on the couch with a pillow over my head.
Cut to the following Christmas…
When we were creating our annual Christmas Bucket List, the kids asked me to add Nutcracker Breakfast.
I had to ask them what on earth they were talking about… and they recounted the morning they had picked their own cereal and ate it while watching The Nutcracker.
What, to me, was a holiday mom fail was a treasured memory for my children.
We have enjoyed a Nutcracker Breakfast every year since. It has become a favorite family event. It’s ridiculously simple, but it’s a moment shared that is important to my kiddos.
The Importance of Super-Simple Holiday Activities
*Disclosure: We received a Spielgaben set at no cost in exchange for a review. We are honored to work with Spielgaben. This post is part of a monthly series featuring how we use Spielgaben in our homeschool. All thoughts and opinions are my own. You can read my review of Spielgaben here.
Super Simple Holiday Activities: The Annual Christmas Bucket List
Every year, we create a holiday bucket list. We include a couple bigger activities, such as going to see A Christmas Carol and a couple other favorite holiday events, but the majority of the items on our list are simple favorites.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here is our list from this year:
Simple Holiday Activities: Pair favorite books and/or movies with fun hands-on activities!
As you can see from our Christmas Bucket List, one of our family’s favorite holiday specials is A Charlie Brown Christmas.
We just love Charlie and his friends… and Charlie Brown’s teensy little Christmas tree!
I’m always looking for super-simple ways to take movies (and books and games) to the next level, and I thought it would be really fun (and stupid-simple), to make our own Charlie Brown Christmas trees using two of our favorite hands-on resources: Spielgaben and Grinchy Dough!
This is not fancy, you guys, but I promise you that it was a magical afternoon! (I have a feeling it might make next year’s bucket list!)
Create Charlie Brown Christmas Trees with Spielgaben and Grinchy Dough!
This is super-simple, you guys. All I did was grab some green cardstock and cut out a few trees…
And then grab a few drawers from our beloved Spielgaben set…
(If you have had your eyes on Spielgaben, please keep reading. There is a special offer for My Little Poppies readers below!)
And then I turned on some Christmas music and invited the kiddos to make their own Charlie Brown tree!
Here are the completed Charlie Brown Christmas trees:
We had a wonderful afternoon, using Spielgaben to create whimsical trees!
As the kids were enjoying themselves, I had another idea. What if we combined our Spielgaben set with one of our absolute favorite Christmas bucket list items?
Our beloved Grinchy Dough…
Every year, we make Grinchy Dough. It’s a super-simple recipe. It’s so simple, in fact, that my kids can make it independently at this point.
(Well, sometimes they need a little help at the end because all that dough stirring can be tricky business!)
Get your FREE Grinchy Dough recipe here:
Spielgaben + Grinchy Dough = A Bucket List Match Made in Heaven!
I cannot tell you how much fun this was, you guys!
All I did was take out our Grinchy Dough, sprinkle some Spielgaben into the mix, and grab a few cookie cutters.
The kids played together peacefully for the entire afternoon!
I have a sneaking suspicion that Spielgaben, Grinchy Dough, and Charlie Brown trees will be on our Christmas Bucket List next year!
After we cleaned up, it was time to sip hot apple cider and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.
(The above photo is not the first time we’ve combined our love of Harry Potter with Spielgaben. You can read more about that here, and you can also check out our resources for Harry Potter Gameschooling here!)
Be sure to check out our favorite holiday homeschool resources here:
And don’t forget our gift guides and stocking stuffer recommendations, organized by academic subject for stealth learning!
- 100 Educational Stocking Stuffers Your Kids Will Love!
- Holiday Gift Guides 2018: The Best Gifts for Homeschooling & Gameschooling
Here’s a special Spielgaben offer for My Little Poppies readers…
Learn more about Spielgaben
The following articles will show you how we use Spielgaben in our homeschool:
- Using Spielgaben in Your Homeschool
- Create Your Own Fidget Factory Using Spielgaben
- Super-Simple Hands-On Flag Study
- Hands-On Animal Study with Spielgaben
- Study the Four Seasons with Books, Play, and Spielgaben
- A Simple World Monuments Study with Books, Games, and Spielgaben!
- How to Pair Amazing Christmas Play and Fantastic Books
- Challenge Kids to Get Creative with Awesome Homemade Games
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Play and an Incredible Book
- How to Make Snow Days Fun and Educational
- Bring Books to Life with this Hands-On Flower Study
- How to Make Read Alouds Memorable with Amazing Hands-On Play
- How to Celebrate July 4th with a Super-Simple Fireworks Study
- Get Ready for Fall with Fantastic Picture Books and Hands-On Play
- How to Make A Super-Simple, Super-Fun Rainbow Study
- Summer Picture Books and Hands-On Summer Play
- The Best Halloween Books for Your Homeschool… Plus Spooky Hands-On Play!
- Top 5 Reasons Why Spielgaben is a Great Investment
Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What are your favorite super-simple holiday activities? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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