12 days of Christmas when you don’t have 12 days

Neighbor's front yard is an Elmo Christmas

This is the first year that Monkey #1 is really into Christmas. He wrote a letter to Santa and has been enthralled by Christmas trees and Christmas lights. We’ve had a hard time catching up with Santa, but we’ve got it all booked in for the first day after we arrive in Montreal at my parents. I’m thankful that’s covered as he really believes his presents won’t arrive unless he has a word to the big guy first.

I had grandiose ideas of doing 25 days of Christmas. Seems everyone and their dog is doing some series of activities, crafts, traditions leading up to Christmas. Then I realized time with a toddler and a newborn is scarce, so I figured I’d do 12 days of Christmas…hmmm, well even that is an undertaking  so here I am just a week out from Christmas eve and I am having to seriously reexamine the traditions our family will take part in this year and hopefully for years to come.

Below is a list of traditions I think we can do between now and Christmas. So if you to are time starved or just plain lazy, consider adding some of these activities to this year’s Christmas holidays.

1. Christmas crafts : Monkey #1 isn’t big on crafting, but the mama in me feels like all well rounded kids need to craft so I try to do something I think he’ll love at least once a week.  He loves getting messy with paints and doing quick projects. So this year he is making our wrapping paper for all our presents. We have heaps of packing paper left over from our move so he has been painting his hands and stamping them onto the paper. It makes for lovely paper and makes a miniscule dent in what would have been a never ending mound of Christmas wrapping paper fodder come Christmas morning. We’ve also tried making handprint reindeers and angels, he did not like that so much :(

2. Decorate a gingerbread house : Back in the day before we had kids, Big Monkey and I hosted gingerbread house making competitions. No better way to start the holidays then to have Pimms, beers, cook up gingerbread and then decorate houses , teepees and other forms of accommodation. We did these back in New Zealand where Christmas is during summer (hence the Pimms). This year I’ve tracked down a kit and we’ll just have to deal with decorating the house, which can be hard enough without worrying about baking the house panels. Gingerbread men will also be made, it’s just not Christmas without gingerbread men.

3. Christmas baking : Sugar cookies, trifle and pavlova. The last 2 are to bring a little New Zealand flavor to North America. I think I will get around to making 2 out of 3, I’ll post some pictures here if I do. Sugar cookies are too easy thanks to the little rotund giggly boy, so I’m aiming for the trifle and the pavlova neither of which I have made before. It’ll be fun to watch my mom after the effects of a boozy trifle.

Boozy trifle, photo credit to yumsugar.com

4. Snuggle up and watch Christmas movies : Rather than brave the shops on the last Saturday before Christmas, we have managed to watch a few Christmas cartoon classics – Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is coming to town. They may not be my absolute faves but the little monkey is enjoying them. Next year I’d like to get my hands on A Christmas Story and Love Actually, they’re Christmas movies I love.

5. Making paper snowflakes to decorate the windows : This one’s pretty self-explanatory and I think we can definitely pull it off. If not we’re pretty sad.

6. Take a picture with Santa: Okay, this one is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be. It seems that all the big department stores have the monopoly on Santa photo ops. Seeing as I don’t want to stand in line for an hour and a half and pay $35 for a picture of Monkey with the portly old guy, I thought I would try the local Santa at the Dekalb market. Twice we have been and both times he has been MIA. So I’ve given up on New York Santas and we’ll catch up with jolly old Saint Nick in Montreal where the lines will be shorter (hopefully) and the photo cheaper. I can’t help it if I want to scrimp on the photo cost – relocating from New Zealand to New York, having a baby, and moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn has made this a costly year.

7. A family photo : I’d like to have photographic evidence of what an awesome family we are. My sister has said she will attempt family photos a Christmas seeing as she is an old pro with the camera. We might attempt our own quirky version at home using the self-timer.

8. Christmas window displays and lights : Phew, we managed to see the window display at Macy’s this week! Yeeha! Check that one off my list. Monkey #1 is obsessed with Christmas trees so we’d love to get to Rockefeller but not sure if we will make it there before Christmas. We’ve also got a family walk around the neighborhood planned.

9. Write a letter to Santa : Monkey #1 sat down with Big Monkey and wrote a letter complete with pictures of what he wants for Christmas. I was originally going to write a letter from Santa and send it off to Santa Claus, Indiana so that he received a postmarked letter back from Santa. Then I realized, what the…he won’t know the difference, we’ll fake the postmark here and have a letter “from Santa” waiting at my parents in Montreal.

10. Crystal ball gazing the year ahead : Preferrably with eggnog, Big Monkey and I will look ahead to the future and make some predictions for how our lives will evolve in 2012.  Hat tip to Four against two for the Time Capsule letter idea.

11. Elf someone : Over at Stop, drop and blog the idea of elfing someone is a great one. Seeing as we are new to the neighborhood, we’re going to adapt this idea and actually let the person we’re elfing know it was us.

What do family traditions look like at your house?



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4 Responses to 12 days of Christmas when you don’t have 12 days
  1. mandy w
    December 17, 2011 | 9:15 pm

    Thanks for the ping-back! Good luck with your ideas, the kids will have great memories!
    mandy w recently posted..The Non-Christmasy Christmas AppMy Profile

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      December 18, 2011 | 12:59 am

      Thanks for stopping by and happy holidays to you :)

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      December 19, 2011 | 10:15 pm

      Cheers! It’s going to be fun no matter what as its great to see the 4 year old so into everything.

  2. The top 5 Elf on the Shelf | mama goes BAM
    December 17, 2011 | 10:57 pm

    […] slightly creepy. The main reason I did not want to do it this year is because, let’s face it I really don’t have the time or headspace to come up with creative places to move the elf not once, but multiple times until […]

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »