Keeping Christmas Magical
an Editorial from Noella Designs
In this materialistic society, a lot of what Christmas is about has been lost in all of the commercialization. If I think back to my childhood, many decades ago, there are very few "special" presents I remember. Instead, my mind swirls with precious, almost tactile memories of interaction with my family during the holidays...they are the gifts that last a lifetime.
Do you remember looking forward to creating a Christmas garden beneath the tree? It left a vivid memory that I revisit year after year. What a soaring feeling to watch that miniature Christmas train roar around the rickety tracks for the first time of the season. I can almost smell the puff of smoke that escaped into the air as it retraced its path again and again.
If you're wondering how to fill the season with treasured moments for the children in your household, here are a few inexpensive ideas that resemble my own experiences as a child.
Take Nature Walks...
After all of the leaves have fallen and that Christmas chill fills the air (or better yet, after the first snow of the season), it's a great time to take a walk in the woods. With a plastic bag in hand, have the kids collect evergreen branches, fallen nuts, pine cones, crawling evergreen vines or basically anything that looks like it could be a great decoration in your home.
Remember not to "hurry" the excursion. Enjoy the fresh air and time spent with those you love. This will become a precious memory and one you'll talk about year after year.
Make Your Own Ornaments...
Our favorite ornaments are the ones that cause us to reminisce about a special time, person or experience. Why not create some of those memories today with handmade ornaments?
Pinecones can be painted and/or have glitter applied. If you attach a hanger, they can be placed on the Christmas tree as an ornament. Display several as a wall decoration by adding ribbon or enhance a centerpiece with the beauty of nature. These pinecones will last for decades if gently stored.
Dough Ornaments are a great way to add character to your Christmas tree. Not only can you create the designs of the ornaments, but you can decorate them anyway you choose.
Plus, you can make dozens of colorfully trimmed "cookie" ornaments for very little cost when compared to commercially produced items.
Most of all, you'll be making wonderful memories that will return each year when you once again hang your magical tree ornaments.
Dough Ornament Recipe (not edible)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
1) Preheat oven to 325° F.
2) Blend flour and salt. Gradually add water, stirring with a large spoon. Finish mixing with hands (the kids will enjoy this). Knead until soft and pliable.
3) Form shapes by hand or roll dough on floured surface to approximately 1/8" thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets. With a straw, make a hole in the top of the ornament for hanging. Bake at 325° F until hard, about 1 hour. Decorate with tempura paint and varnish to preserve.
Make Sure to Include a Letter from Santa...
The magic of a letter from Santa at Christmas will truly make the spirit of the holiday come to life.
There are many web sites that offer free letters that you can personalize and print yourself. For truly "magical" presentations, check out some of the packages offered online that include home delivery, North Pole postage and a gift from Santa.
Either way, a special message from Santa found in the mailbox, tucked into a stocking or placed on the tree will delight the "believers" in your family.
Create Your Own Christmas Cards...
With so many great websites offering printable Christmas Cards, it's a great opportunity to get creative with very little monetary outlay.
After selecting and printing your favorite designs, add glitter, self-adhesive rhinestones or any enhancement to make one-of-a-kind treasures. Add a really personal touch by hand-writing your greeting.
Create Handmade Gifts...
Just for fun, have everyone create a handmade gift for the person whose name they draw from a hat. Set a price limit to keep it within your budget, but enjoy deciding what to crochet, sew, carve, draw, needlepoint or even record as a special personalized gift. You may discover some hidden talents in everyone.
There are many other simple and inexpensive ways to keep Christmas magical. Go sledding. No, don't just send the kids...you go too! Enjoy your family as you all build a snowman. Let everyone assist you while making the cookies. Gather the family to sing carols (yes, the kids will think this is pretty "cornball", but they will one day yearn to relive these times again), or watch favorite holiday movies together. And don't forget that all-important letter to Santa.
Most of all...
You want to give of yourself at Christmas and share experiences with those you love. There may be times that you need to be alone, but remember you're making memories that will last a lifetime and keep Christmas magical for decades to come.