“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
The carols are playing, the fresh garland’s been hung and the Hallmark Channel is on autoplay because our youngest daughter and I can not get enough of these cheesy, feel good movies. Forget their “12 Days of Christmas” movies, we are on about our 239th. I admit. It’s a problem. 🙂
With five children, this truly is a magical time for our family. It’s changed so much since two of our sons are in college. Now, I just long for the words, “I just want to come home, Mom,” and it never fails that our two eldest echo the same sentiments many times (especially during finals week.)
The Magic of St. Nick’s true story has always echoed through our family traditions. In fact, stockings that St. Nick filled still hold some of the most precious memories for our kids and that tradition continues. When they were born, I picked a unique stocking for them and they’ve used them for years.
Last year, I went ahead and got matching ones for the mantle. They were shocked. I assured them I still had their good ole faithful and once they fly the nest, they’ll take them (and their own box of ornaments. I pick a personalized one for each of them every year.) to start their own Christmas tradition (read about it here).
Last night, our 12 year old daughter pleaded with me that we wake up earlier this Christmas morn. She doesn’t appreciate the fact that everyone but her wants to sleep in. Tearing downstairs to see her stocking if her favorite thing, but now she has to wait patiently for all those teens that want more sleep.
It never fails that my hubby and I make a quick last minute stop at Walgreens to find the perfect stock stuffers. The kids can always count on “St. Nick” stocking them up with candy, Beef Jerky, EOS (chapstick), nail polish and lip gloss for the girls, deodorant for the guys (yep, they want it since now they have to buy it at school), and as we browse the aisles, we always find a little something for everyone. Of course, Mrs. St. Nick (me) always checks the Walgreen’s ads first to see the great deals. 🙂
CREATE LAST-MINUTE DECORATIONS IN A FLASH
Besides stocking stuffers, everyone loves pictures. (Is that JOY craft not the cutest?) Every year, I attempt to retrieve some of the pictures off my photo card and turn them into special memories. (Am I the only one who misses actually getting their film developed?)
I make photo collages for my daughters and husband, and if I’m truly on top of it, I’ll put together a photo book of special moments throughout the year. These days, the stores make it so easy to automatically upload photos right into book format.
Why not try an even more unique and creative way to use your pictures? Turn the moments into holiday décor for your mantelpiece. Simply upload your favorites to Walgreens , print and pick up at the store, then cut to fit onto big wood paneling or letters found at your local craft store (no framing required and don’t forget the coupon).
Can I just tell you, I’ll be taking advantage of the same-day, in-store pick up available because I haven’t made my collage yet. It’s that easy and these make such a wonderfully personalized gift.
Aren’t these personalized coasters adorable?
If you’re still searching for something extra special and only have an hour or so to spare, these DIY Photo Coaster Tiles are perfect (see my full tutorial here). For just the cost of printing your photos and $2 in tiles, these become an heirloom type of gift and they’re so easy. Not only for Christmas, but they’d make a great birthday present for Grandma or even a wedding gift for the new couple.
STOCK UP ON ALL-IN-ONE HOSTESS GIFTS
Three parties, one night: Sound familiar? Fortunately for me, I didn’t have that many this year, but I always want to give a little something special for friends, teachers, hostesses etc.
No need to overthink three different gifts. Pick up all-in-one gifts from Walgreens (like a festive sleigh brimming with chocolate treats) and be on your way. Then breeze through your neighbor’s cookie exchange on your way to your coworker’s cocktail party, stress free.
If you love homemade treats, why not make some Homemade Marshmallows (everyone needs to try them at least once in their life) or whip up homemade hot chocolate mix to share. You can put the marshmallows and or hot chocolate mix in cute baggies, gather in the mugs and tie a cute ornament to the handle.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A GIFT CARD
When you’ve got slightly unfamiliar guests on their way to your place (i.e. family members you only see once every other year), or that hard to buy for friend, look no further than the gift card. They’re oh-so-easy, and never go unappreciated. Even better: Walgreens is open until midnight and has a variety of options, perfect for that last-minute dash. Gift cards are always a win, and I would know. 🙂
As you enjoy these last few magical days of the Christmas season, I pray that you focus on the real reason for the season and soak up precious family time.
If you need a few tried and true Christmas traditions to relish, don’t forget to browse my list of special memory making moments here like
Reindeer Food – Create some magic with your children by making reindeer food. It will take five minutes, but your efforts will last a lifetime through their memories.
Candy Cane Trail – Slow your Christmas morning down, cherish the time and make it extra special. Start the Candy Cane tradition this year. You will not regret it (and neither will your kids…no matter how big they are.)
Christmas Cruising – Surprise the kids tonight! Right after they get tucked in bed, declare it’s Christmas Cruising Time – Don’t forget the hot chocolate to make this a special late night adventure.
I hope these get your creative juices flowing. It’s so easy to make things simple, so you can truly appreciate the special moments.
Have a most wonderful week! 🙂