Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Counting Down

My Grandma collected snowmen at Christmas for as long as I could remember. She had a massive collection that encompassed decorating a huge house. She had a Christmas tree that was decorated only in snowmen. There were walls of just shelves filled with snowmen. Snowmen could be found in bathrooms, on the sofa, in the windows, outdoors, and more. She loved her snowmen.

Over the years, I've picked some up, and inherited several of Grandma's snowmen as well. However, last year, I finally settled on something I want to collect at Christmas time that takes up less space, and won't break- stockings. I love stockings! They're so cute, and fun, and the designs are endless.

One thing I've been trying to do for years is find an advent calendar that was reusable, and big enough to fit a small treat in it for 3 kids. It's harder than it sounds!

Last year, I finally figured it out- stockings! After Christmas, when Dollar Tree had their items 50% off, I picked up 12 2-packs of mini stockings for only $.50 each. This year, I plan to string them up along our large archway, and number each stocking.

At night, after the kids are in bed, I'll fill the next day's stocking with some small treat. They can count down to Christmas, get a small treat, and I get to indulge my love of stockings.

I was reading Family Fun tonight, and came across the same idea, only using colorful children's socks in place of stockings, and hanging the sock up each day one at a time. It included a list of ideas for what to fill the stockings with that I really liked.

Here are the ideas it listed:
  • Special Coupons: Get Out of Chores Free, or Pick A Movie Rental, for instance.
  • Puzzle pieces to a Holiday puzzle- the pieces are collected, and put together through out the month.
  • Trading Cards
  • Special coins- foreign coins, for instance, or even chocolate foil covered coins.
  • A small gift card for a special treat, such as a sundae at a local restaurant.
  • Jokes & riddles- stick the answer in the next day's stocking for more fun!
  • A mini game, Mad Lib, Sudoku, or even a Christmas coloring page.
  • Art supplies.
  • A special ornament to hang on the tree.
  • A new pair of socks!
Our kids love hot cocoa, so I think that might be a nice one to add as well. You can melt chocolate and cover a plastic spoon with it. Once it dries, wrap it up with plastic wrap on the chocolate end, and add it to the hot cocoa for the kids to stir with. An extra chocolaty treat!

You could put in the pieces to a game for a family game night, too. A coupon for taking the kids sledding, or out to look at the holiday lights would be a fun family way to spend some time, as well.

I hope to make this our newest family tradition, in a long list of traditions I have started over the years. Some are passed down from my family, some from Nick's family, and some are things we've come up with on our own over the years. For instance, we never put candy canes on the tree- Santa does that when he stops by on Christmas Eve.

I know more and more families are shying away from "Santa", but I was raised with Santa, and my kids are raised with Santa. I don't see any harm in it, and the kids eyes just light up when they see the stockings filled by Santa on Christmas morning.

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