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We are excitedly preparing for Christmas in our home, and part of that is doing tons of Christmas themed activities. As was the case last year, I put together a busy book and other printables for my little one to use, and he is thoroughly enjoying them.
The latest 27 page release is available only for newsletter subscribers, and currently uploaded to the resource library. You can subscribe here.
What is available in this release? Alphabet and writing activities, craft templates, fine motor/cutting practice, puzzles, color awareness activity, and more! Plus, last year's number and matching activities are also still available for download on the resource library.
This educational busy book has great options for toddlers and preschoolers, and is FREE!
Tips for Creating Your Winter Busy Book
Gather your supplies:
Create your book:
Find more great Christmas activities and content!
Grab a Letter to Santa template (available for free and as an instant download), get ideas for winter and Christmas sensory activities and crafts, and more. Find that all in my Christmas Guide!
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Traditions and Ideas to Make Santa Even More Magical!
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Santa is a fun part of many families' Christmas celebrations. A prime example of the magic of childhood, Santa is a great way to build excitement for the season. Many of us have Santa traditions from when we were young, but as I've learned from being a parent, there are always ways to make things even more amazing for our children.
Here is some inspiration for how to make the Santa tradition even more magical and exciting this year!
1. Use dedicated wrapping paper for gifts from Santa. Print labels or disguise handwriting on tags.
I remember wondering why Santa used the same wrapping paper as my parents when I was a child. Today, I make sure that Santa sends all gifts with special wrapping paper, and when relevant, tags. You can also use plain brown paper and decorative twine to wrap gifts, which gives a classic look. While younger children won't know the difference, the small details matter a lot in making Christmas all the more magical!
2. Bake cookies for Santa, and leave one or more by the fireplace overnight with milk (or a milk alternative). Make sure to take a bite, or eat it and leave crumbs for Christmas morning! (Bonus: leave carrots for the reindeer)
We started baking cookies for Santa with our child last year, and can't wait to do it again in 2021! Last year we made and decorated fresh gingerbread men on Christmas Eve, and made sure to leave one for Santa. This is a tradition I didn't have as a child, and it is one I've loved bringing into my home. We didn't leave milk out overnight, of course, but we did put some out while our son was awake!!
To make things even more special (remember those details that matter so much?) we have a special Santa cookie plate, and a dedicated mug to leave his milk in.
3. Never give big gifts from Santa; leave small, meaningful gifts that kids will still appreciate.
If you are getting your child the hottest toy or a big/special gift, don't let Santa take the credit. You worked hard to afford that gift!!! Your child will find magic in, and appreciation for, Santa... whatever Santa brings. That said, Santa always sends our children something they will love, not just practical gifts. We just make sure the present is something smaller. Stocking stuffers also come from Santa, which means fun trinkets, tasty (and allergy safe) treats, meaningful mementos like ornaments, and sometimes practical items, too. These gifts only arrive Christmas morning, making the surprise extra special.
4. Write letters or send cards to Santa
My little one was too young to send a letter to Santa last year, but this year he is excited to send a picture! There are tons of ways to make this tradition special, and have it be developmentally appropriate. If your children are very young, letter templates or coloring are nice ways to write to Santa. Older children may want to handwrite a note or create a card. Get creative, and have fun!
Looking for a great letter template? You can also grab your free letter to Santa template here.
5. Start reading Santa books and doing seasonal craft/activities early in the season to build excitement
We usual start with Santa and Christmas everything on Thanksgiving, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (though this year an early arrival of a Santa book from a family member and missing out on so much last year has lead us to doing a bit of Christmas even earlier). Santa books, Santa and Christmas activities, Christmas movies, decorations..... it is all Christmas, as much as possible!!
Highly Rated Options
6. Focus on your child's heart, not good or bad behavior.
And, Santa watching us when we are sleeping? Well, that is just plain creepy. Okay, we sing the song, but in explaining it? We make sure our kids know that it is just a song. Santa won't be spying through any windows at our home!
7. Visit Santa (in person or virtually), but don't force it.
Visiting Santa can be an exciting tradition, but for some children, it feels more scary than fun. If your child doesn't respond well to strangers in character, or is very shy, consider whether visiting Santa would be less magical and more upsetting. With recent events, virtual Santa visits have become a great alternative to in person!! And, in Westchester, we also have a chance to see Santa at a distance at our local drive through light show. Many other communities offer similar events, so be sure to look and see what is available near you. These distance events are an excellent way to see Santa while not upsetting young, stranger adverse children (and while being safe if there are high case rates in your area).
8. Track Santa on Christmas Eve.
If you aren't already doing so, make sure to track Santa on Christmas Eve! NORAD has an awesome feature allowing families to see where Santa is on his epic journey, so if you haven't used it yet, definitely check it out.
Love these ideas? Be sure to check out my entire Christmas Guide!
And don't forget to make sure you are prepared for holiday shopping with my 2021 holiday shopping tips!
Be sure to save and share these ideas with other families!!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Commissions earned support my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. Learn more here.
Keep your family busy this holiday season with fun and easy crafts and activities.
Most of these are geared towards younger children (up to age 8), given I am a parent to one and my teaching background is as a preschool and Grades 1-2 educator, but the Farmhouse Style Decorations are great for teenagers.
Shaving Cream Santa
This sensory activity is super simple to put together and, more importantly, fun! You just need shaving cream and a laminated Santa (you can get your instant download here). Add plastic cutlery, cookie cutters, and more to make things even more fun. You can also practice sensory vocabulary during the activity to make things more educational.
Paper plate and Cotton Ball Santa
This is another simple and fun activity for little ones, and you likely already have everything you need at your house: paper plates, glue, cotton balls, markers, and construction paper (though you could also use colored markers instead). Check out the entire activity here.
Homemade salt dough ornaments are a great holiday gift, as well as a fun sensory and craft activity. You can find my salt dough recipe and tips for creating ornaments and other keepsakes here.
Gingerbread houses and baking cookies are two great activities to do with kids that are tasty as well! Want more ideas? Try marshmallow snowmen (simply use pretzel sticks and frosting to connect them, then decorate with candy and/or cookies! You can also try making winter versions of my sand cups (do snow cups instead; use whipped cream and/or white frosting instead of blue frosting, and find fun Christmas candy as toppings)
Paper Plate Christmas Trees
I'll be sharing an entire blog post on this one, but here are the basics to get you started:
1. Color paper plates using crayons, markers, or colored pencils
2. Fold in quarters. Cut out 1 quarter of the plate.
3. Roll plate into a cone and glue 2 of the 3 quarters together (one on top of the other)
4. Glue pompoms, ribbon, sequences, or other decorations on.
Christmas and Winter Busy Book
Looking for ways to keep your toddler or preschooler occupied, having fun, and learning? Be sure to check out my busy book pages, worksheets, and more!
Great Santa Traditions and Activities
Make this Christmas extra magical with my tips, tricks, and recommendations for making Santa even more special. Find everything from activities, to ideas for the little details, and new traditions to try. You can find the entire post here.
Pretend snow is a great sensory activity for young kids, and easy to make with baking soda and hair conditioner. There are tons of ways to dress the activity up to be more educational, too. Get the recipes and tips for how to use the snow to promote learning here.
Target Chanukah Banner Hack/Create Holiday Banners
Not every activity has to be put together from scratch. Store bought activity kits are great options, and there are tons of ways to hack them to make them even better. One example is this hack we did with a Chanukah banner kit purchased at Target. You can view all the details via my Pinterest Idea Pin here.
For the Adults: Winter Farmhouse Style Decorations
Create beautiful farmhouse style decor for your home with these easy tips. These projects are great for teenagers and adults, and look great year after year. Read the entire post here.
Even More Great Crafts and Activities Coming Soon!!!
In the meantime, be sure to check out my Pinterest for even more great ideas from around the web!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support this blog, and my participation in the program comes at no added cost to you. Want to learn more? Click here.
If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love DIY decor projects! So this Christmas, I had lots of fun putting together several projects that are perfect for the entire winter season. If there were any year where cheery decor were necessary all year, it would be this one, right? Check out these gorgeous farmhouse designs, plus tips for recreating the looks!
Dining Room Table Centerpiece
Using the same off white recycled jars from this project (see the Thanksgiving jars), I was able to create a beautiful centerpiece! I traded out the autumn foliage for faux pine branches, pinecones, and berries, and used a gold metal tray as a base. I then wrapped twinkle lights (with leaves attached) around the vases, and placed the battery pack in the center vase (beneath the greenery). The finishing touch was the addition of a few pinecones on the tray. I paired the centerpiece with a table runner, plus white and gold candles.
Farmhouse Style Wreaths
These wreaths are super basic and easy to make; just purchase a faux pine wreath and use a hot glue gun to add a few pinecones and a burlap ribbon (the ribbons I used had gold thread intertwined). Because there is no red, no ornaments, and no other holiday related additions, I'll be able to keep these wreaths up all winter!
Birdcage 'Potpourri' Light
I loved the birdcage decor I used for the fall so much that I repurposed the item for winter! I wrapped evergreen garland (which had bells attached) and twinkle lights around the cage, and then filled it with some scented pinecones. This farmhouse style DIY piece is a huge upgrade from your grandmother's potpourri dish, and made for a festive addition to my foyer.
Products You'll Love
Want to try one of these great projects? Here are some products you may love!
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May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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