1. My husband just finished putting up our Christmas lights. Not his favorite way to spend an afternoon, let me tell ya. But he's a good sport and we love him for it! He did say that he was going to celebrate because it would be 365 days until he has to do it again! :) Look at all those lights!
Don't we look festive!
2. Kindness Stockings: Our 2nd grade teacher has her children make and decorate a paper stocking and then sew the edges together with yarn. They absolutely love this project and take great care in designing each little detail (I love you people but I'm at home and wasn't driving 40 minutes into school to take a quick picture for you of how she preps this project. I will, however take a picture for you on Monday). Anywho, she cuts out and punches holes in the front and back of a stocking at the same time so they line up perfectly. It's lots of work but when you see the finished project you'll agree it's worth the effort. The kids decorate with colored construction paper and then she lets them use glitter for their names. Lastly, they learn how to sew the edges. She hangs them up on the bulletin board until the day of their class party. Here's the one I made at home. You get the idea. I think kinders could make the stocking if you put out precut shapes for them to make presents and trees. The notes could be tough though...
That week they work on writing kind words about each child in their class. The teacher has run off tons of cute paper (hers are MUCH cutzier than my sample) with the heading "A Gift of Kind Words" and gives each child a class list. I'm sure you computer people could make a really cute one and post it as a freeebie. I don't know how. :( They discuss how to write something kind that takes a little more thought than just "You are nice." They're to write at least 5 notes/day. They don't have to sign their names.
On the day of the party the kids walk around and deliver their kind words to their classmates. During the party they get to read them. I can't tell you how sweet it is to watch them share and treasure each note. It's a great way to encourage kindness and to teach that some of the best gifts are free.
3. Class gift exchange: This idea came from a dear friend and teacher who is no longer with us. She told me that this is a very old fashioned tradition taught to her by her grandmother.
We send a note home at the beginning of December that asks the parents to help their child send in a gift that costs no more than $2 for either a boy or a girl, as designated on the note. The gift is to be wrapped and labeled for a boy or girl and the buyer's name. A gently used toy is fine for those who can't afford to send in a new gift. I also keep extras on hand for those little ones who don't bring in anything. Attach a long ribbon to the gift. I usually use one color for the boys and another for the girls.
Put all the gifts into a box wrapped with Christmas paper. Place this box in the middle of the floor and have the kids take an appropriately colored ribbon and wait for the signal to pull gently.
As they pull out their gift, we go around the circle and tell everyone whose gift they have received. By the way, we have a discussion prior to this about how to be appreciative and to remember that someone
tried very hard to find something nice to give.
Finally, it's time to unwrap our presents! I've had very few bad responses (quickly corrected after they get a quick glimpse of the "Mom Look" I'm giving them) and the kids are given an opportunity to thank the giver and share with the class what they were given. It's a yearly tradition. Lots of fun.
4. I'm going random now because I don't have much material for my "Six for Saturday."
It's time to write our letters to Santa. I found this cute freebie from Kate Smith Designs.
As they are telling me what to write, I always heavily hint that they ask for presents I've already bought for our class. I post these letters on the bulletin board for parents to see (and then place them in their art portfolio as a keepsake) and always post this one signed by me as well for a good giggle.
Then, the day before vacation, we have a delivery from Santa brought to our class in a huge garden wagon. We get large mail delivery type canvas bags wet and freeze them overnight. Right before the presents are delivered, we take the bags out of the freezer and fill them with wrapped toys (donated to our classroom by very kind people) that we need for our classroom. There is a beautifully written note that unwraps and rolls across the floor filled with glitter. It's magical and they almost can't handle the excitement. Seriously folks, they are screaming. It's the BEST!!! Is there anything more fun than watching the faces of kids who truly believe in magic? We usually have enough gifts for each child to open one, but this year I have 28 kids and they'll probably have to open a gift with a friend. I'll be sure to post the picture of the wagon delivery!
5. Some more random...
Here's our 2009 family Christmas card. I still love it better than all the other attempts with ugly sweaters and matching outfits.
My husband runs a white water rafting company and our boys have grown up on the river. The front of the card is from our youngest's first trip down the Rogue River in 1995. I remember our parents thought we were nuts but he did beautifully and I walked him around the largest rapid, Blossom Bar, in my backpack.
As you open the card, it's us, all grown up!
That's the last card we made. Time for an update but I'm not going rafting in December. My boys wouldn't hesitate though!
6. I made these for Thanksgiving after having them at the most wonderful baby shower I've ever attended! Wow! That sweet mama-to-be received some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen! AND they had a cheesecake bar. HEAVEN! There were all sorts of flavors in little bite sized servings. I was a happy girl.
I've already shown you one of the books I got for her in an earlier post. I love it dearly and bought a copy for myself. It is the sweetest little story about a mother's wishes for her child by Alison Meghee and Peter H. Reynolds. If you know someone who's expecting, this would be a sweet gift. I'm a few years past the mom watching from the porch as her child leaves. The whole book makes me blubber. But, if you're lucky, those precious kids occasionally come back!
Here's another book that I got for her that had me crying. It's called "Forever" by Emma Dodd. I'm such a softie and I miss my little boys when I read things like this...
Super sweet!!I'm impressed if you stayed with me this long. I'm bracing myself for the 3 weeks of craziness as we get our littles ready for the Winter Program, make parent presents and oodles of art projects. It's truly a magical time for a small child. I'm leaving you with this wonderful pin! I love, love, love your comments!