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by Martina McNeill October 27, 2019 4 min read
Our previous Christmas blog has hopefully encouraged you to get your gift list ready by now. With any luck, you've even started ticking some items off your list! Regardless of where you're at, I think we can all agree that this is an expensive time of year.
Do you remember being told as a child that you could, "always make something" if you asked for money to buy presents? My own kids aren't too impressed when I say this to them, and end up going back to playing Minecraft©. Can we blame them? We're so used to buying items off the shelf that it's almost unthinkable to make something ourselves. Let alone create something that will actually be appreciated by the recipient!
One of the fun parts of 'making something' is actually spending time with each other. You can sit down with your kids to plan and create - what a great way to spend quality time together! Sharing stories, having a laugh and making memories - this is what we want our kids to remember in future. Why not make an effort this year to make some memories?
There's tonnes of ideas out there for things you can make with your kids. Far too many ideas in fact and they're likely to overwhelm you! So narrow it down first by asking yourself some questions:
Don't spend $200 on craft bits and pieces to make a beautiful tapestry with your child, if they are two years old! Or your teenager might not want to do anything as 'uncool' as a craft project with you. Be realistic here - the idea is to create memories, not masterpieces or arguments.
Toddlers are easily satisfied when it comes to spending time with their parents. Print out a pile of photos and they can help you glue them into a homemade photo album to give away. Collect their precious drawings and use them in an 'art album' or as gift wrap for presents. Hand and foot prints preserved as wall art make for wonderful memories as your kids grow. Make a cardboard frame for your child to decorate with stickers or glued on treasures. You can use it for one of their favourite masterpieces to keep on your office desk. Don't forget to take photos during the creation process to keep the memories alive!
Craft shops and discount stores have Christmas kits that contain all the bits and pieces you need to make something. A lot are suitable for primary school aged children in particular, and don't need a lot of time and expertise. Why not play some fun music while you're working together, and have some popcorn or other snacks to munch on? Video yourselves being crafty - you could star in your own Christmas movie tradition!
For your teenage children you're going to have to 'up the ante' a bit. Simple 'stick and glue' craft kits would be embarrassing here - at least that's what they'll say. It may cost more, but there are ways of keeping that bond between parent and young adult. Spend an afternoon together building the Lego© Death Star© or a Balsa wood airplane. For those into jewelry, you can also find kits for making your own. Can't cook? Grab a packet mix and get baking with your teen!
Don't overlook the fabulous memories to be made by going out to one of their favourite spots. It doesn't have to cost much - enjoy a trip to the playground, a picnic in the Gardens, a swim at the beach or a walk in the rainforest. Bring your phone but turn off the notifications! Use it to take photos and videos which you can cherish in the future.
Make your 'family drive' to look at Christmas lights even more memorable. Vote on your favourite entries and give a candy cane to the winner to make their night! Finish up at Maccas for a late night Sundae or have some special snacks prepared for when you arrive home. If Grandma lives nearby, stop in for a 'surprise' visit and she can have special treats ready for the kids.
If you don't have grandparents nearby, check with local retirement homes if they allow visitors. Take your young kids and bring some handmade treasures with you to hand out. Volunteer with a charity that organises presents for those who would otherwise miss out. Is there a local family doing it tough this year, who would appreciate a mystery hamper at their door on Christmas morning? Teach your kids the value of helping others, and show them how much joy they can get by giving to others.
We hope this has given you some ideas as to how you can make your Christmas memorable and more enjoyable, without spending a fortune! We'd love to hear your favourite ways of creating memories with your family, and your favourite craft projects for this time of year, so please share them with us below.
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