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Archive for christmas movies

December Bucket List: Got Purple Santa?

December Bucket List IdeasHmmm. December bucket list? Got Purple Santa? Just a reminder that this weekend it is FREE to download on Kindle. Or if you want to skip that and order, we like that too. 😉 You can do that here. So check it out and see if you want to add some of our activities to your December Bucket List once you get the hard copy version. Meanwhile I decided to get busy with my own December Bucket List! Should I really do it this time? Make a purple tree?December Bucket List purple-tree

I decided this year to get a head start on my December Bucket List.  I was kind of late last year not thinking about it until December was half way over.  But this year I am sitting in a warmer than what I find appropriate climate for November and I am dreaming of December activities.  Before I get too far- Let me say that number one on my list is of course to read A December Bucket List. I suppose that goes without saying. So I’m ready to get to it.  Some are repeats. Some are new hopeful ideas. I hope you enjoy!

1)Find a great new holiday read aloud. I know Mariah Carey has one. And there is a new Eloise one. I’m sure there is something waiting for me to find it, but I’m determined to find it.  For me Santa’s Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) was new last year, but if it is new to you it is free this weekend on Kindle I still love the original Night Before Christmas and Snowmen at Night! I can’t wait to find a new one!
2)Make Christmas Pajama pants for everyone to have on Christmas Eve. I don’t know if I will get there but I found a great post that might lead to a short cut! Check it out!December bucket list: Making pajama pants

 

3)String cranberries and popcorn for the tree.  This always puts such magic on our tree. And the chatter as we do it is so much fun!  It’s like baking cookies but without feeling guilty for eating all the dough! Just buy fresh cranberries, pop the popcorn the old fashioned way on the stove, get needle and thread and away you go.

4)Make a silly family Christmas card. December Bucket List: This year I'm making a fun family Christmas Card. Sending Christmas cards is such a hassle. But I really want to work on sending one out and making it fun! I wonder if I can get as creative as these folks?

5)Have a cookie exchange! December Bucket List: Host a cookie exchangeI’m getting started early and I’ve done it before.  Wouldn’t it be fun to bring SANTA’S JUST NOT RIGHT CHRISTMAS COOKIES.  Need I say more?  Baking is on most everyone’s December Bucket list! And having a cookie exchange is such an easy short cut. Yum and fun!  Every year we love to bake cookies, but of course I will have to bake the special ones that were created just for us. Recipe here! And won’t it be fun to serve grown up milk?December Bucket List: Santa's Just Not Right Christmas Cookies

6)Go sledding.  December Bucket List: Go SleddingOr on a sleigh or hay ride. Or horse and carriage ride.  Whatever the vehicle, it is always a special night out! What December Bucket list treat!

7)Have a Santa party.  We used to do this when the kids were little.  We had a very special Santa who would stop by.  Every parent would secretly leave a wrapped gift with their child’s name on it on our front porch.  Then a little bit into the evening Santa would arrive, gather the presents, put them in his bag, and then come inside and deliver them.  It was such delight to see the kids light up when Santa came with something they wanted and delivered it in person.  I need to do this again soon!

8)Make a Gingerbread house.  Darn it.  I’ve not done this one STILL.  Oh how I want to try!

9) Have a popcorn party and serve hot cocoa from scratch for either a Christmas book reading night, or movie night. (check out December Bucket List: Make pink popcorn to go along with all the other zany ideas in our book Santa's Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!)this yummy pink popcorn which will go perfectly with the zany upside down antics of Santa’s Night Before Christmas….) Pink Popcorn December Bucket List: Have a popcorn partyOf course there isn’t much better than fresh regular popcorn popped in oil drizzled in fresh butter and salt right on the stove either.  And I’ve been making popcorn cakes for years, but I may have to all of try these on for size this year. December Bucket List: Have a popcorn partyIn my opinion Emeril’s popcorn cake is the best. This is the one I like to make.

December Bucket List: Have a bring your toppings pizza party10)Have a bring your own toppings pizza party.  I want to have a pizza party and serve cool holiday pizzas! I’ve seen snowmen and trees. Maybe we can watch the “old” Peanuts specials! I could invite folks and I can provide the crust and they can bring the toppings! How hard can it be?

11)Build a snowman.  I saw one already this year and I was jealous! Maybe I can finally build an upside down one, like in the book. Santa’s Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) December Bucket List: Build a snowman

12)Drive around and look at Christmas Lights! This goes on every year! With the internet and  mapping so easy at our fingertips, we can look them up and really go find the great ones!  Maybe there is an app for that!?!? I’m thinking of making it into a game.  Maybe tied in with the scavenger hunt idea below.

13)Christmas Scavenger Hunt– I have been determined to do this for years.  It’s something we used to do often as kids. December Bucket List: Go on a scavenger huntThere are lots of places to find lists and riddles on the internet.  So many ways to do it, easy or really complicated. Can’t wait to try this one out!  Here is an easy one I liked. There are ones you can incorporate with the light watching and more and more. Sounds so much fun!

14)Hang Mistletoe– I’ve never done it.  But I really want to this year.December Bucket List: Hang Mistletoe

15) Set an amazing Christmas table. I am no Martha Stewart. And it may use paper plates. But just once I’d like to do something a little over the top. I love this idea I found of folding the napkins into trees. Festive! I found it here.December Bucket List: Set an amazing Christmas Table

17) Make ornaments and decorate a tree– and enjoy it!  Do I really need to put it on the December Bucket list? No, but somehow over the years this has turned into a chore instead of something to be enjoyed.  I said this one last year, but I think it might need to be said again. I want to get back to making it a festive afternoon or evening. Maybe starting with going to pick out the tree together as a family!

18)Take a special family photo– This is different than the card. This is for our own documentation. Christmas is a great time to document the years as they go by.  Maybe do something extra special each year, or maybe record it the same.  Just make sure you do it!

19)Start a new holiday tradition. Years ago we started making cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve so they would be ready on Christmas morning. December Bucket List: Start a new tradition like making homemade cinnamon rollsFor other ideas see my blog post on that. But I assure you your family will remember. So I’m looking for a new one, but if you want to try the cinnamon rolls this looks promising. It’s a knock off of Cinnabon, and who doesn’t like those?

20)Make homemade simmering potpourri- December Bucket List: Make Simmering PotpourriI love candles, but since I’m starting earlier this year wouldn’t it be nice to try something fresh and not artificial?  Google and I are going to have a date.

Whew! That’s a lot to tackle.  I’m glad I got started earlier this year! What are you going to do?

I reserve the right to expand this December Bucket List……….and it may take me some years to get to them all, but I am so excited to start trying, AGAIN!

Don’t forget if you want to discover our purple Santa, this weekend is FREE on Kindle.

 

10 New Holiday Traditions to start with your kids this year!

Holiday traditions are important. Read our ideas of good ones to start this year at purplesantasuit.com10 New Holiday Traditions to start with your kids this year! I’ve always been one to enjoy holiday traditions.  I guess that to me, it is the traditions that weave our lives together year after year.  After all isn’t that the time we tend to make the effort to see old friends and gather with our families. They are what we look forward to.  Traditions, rather it be the particular way our family makes Macaroni salad or that we always have a ham dinner for Christmas, how we open up our presents, or even when we get together, those traditions are what we remember and look forward to.  I often recall fondly certain food things, but there are many other things that my family has woven through our holidays year after year.  I will share some great ideas that I think will make your holidays memorable through the coming years.  Some we have done, some I have only wished I would have started so they would already be a part of our traditions. And one is brand new even to me, but I like it!  It is never too early to start with your kids.  Let them help, let them be a part of it and pretty soon they will look forward to the things they remember from their holidays growing up.  Here are some ideas to consider starting as a new holiday tradition with your kids this year.

  1. Christmas Eve Box – Growing up I was always allowed to open just one present on Christmas Eve. I suppose it was a way to hold me over.  It never seemed to work well.  I still woke my parents up at about 3 a.m. telling them that Santa had been and it was time to get started!  A Christmas Eve Box expands on that idea.  It is a gift box designed to be opened on Christmas morning.  It includes a pair of Christmas PJ’s (who doesn’t love a new pair of fun PJ’s?!), a new Christmas book to read out loud like Santa’s (Zany Wacky Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, if you don’t have it, maybe a candy cane and some hot cocoa mix, or a new DVD Christmas movie and a bag of microwave popcorn.  Whatever goes in the box ideally would be something that your little one (or big kids like this too!) will enjoy savoring for that last night while they wait for Santa!
  2. Christmas Book Box- Speaking of books, another idea is to have a Christmas Book Box. It would be a box that you maybe add to each year.  Customarily those would be great read aloud picture books, but if your family likes other books to read aloud, other chapter novel Christmas books would be great additions too.  Then each year you will get out the box and read these books again and again.  It might be you read one each night during the season.  Maybe you have a night, like tree decorating night, that you sit down and read several.  Maybe on Christmas Eve, you read them all in one sitting.  Just make sure you enjoy the old books as you keep adding new ones each year.  And since you probably don’t have it, I have to plug that Santa’s Zany Wacky….makes a good one, and for more on other Santa books that make nice traditions see my previous post. Santa Books
  3. Ornaments – In my family I started collecting the Hallmark series ornaments. Every member in our family has a series that we add on to each year.  We open them on Christmas Eve night, and hang the new one on the tree.  My daughter who is about ready to move off on her own will have the most lovely set of ornaments to begin decorating her own tree with.  But there are other things you can do to make ornaments part of a tradition.  Some families make a special  personalized ornament with each member that comes into the family.  It could be a simple ball ornament with their name, or it could be an ornament that somehow represents them.  Another nice thing you can do with ornaments is to find a special ornament for each child that represents something special about their past year.  For example if she started ballet lessons it could be an ornament relating to ballet.  Or if he went to cooking school maybe it would be an ornament with a rolling pin.  There are so many ways to make annual ornaments part of the holiday traditions.
  4. Christmas movie or specials like Charlie Brown –My kids get a big laugh out of the idea that we all had to check the listings for the Christmas specials to come on. But we did.  And we looked forward to certain ones year after year.  It would be easy to find an old Christmas film that you liked growing up and share it with your kids.  You could pick the same one year after year, or you could introduce them to new ones every year.  It is a fun way to connect with your kids about what you did growing up. Two of my favorite movies are Santa Claus and The Grinch, but here are a couple list to help you remember. Specials  or Movies
  5. Baking Cookies – There are so many ways that baking cookies can become part of your tradition. It can be as simple as just baking them one day each season with your kids.  Even when they are very little they love to dump things into the bowl or sprinkle on some sugar.  Or you could host cookie decorating get together with all of the kids in the extended family.  Of course teaching your kids how to make a family heirloom recipe is a wonderful way to start a tradition.  Some families don’t do this and then when Grandma passes on, so do the cookies.  It is never too early to start teaching how to make those special treats.  It could be that the tradition is that you look through magazines, cookbooks, or the internet looking each year to discover some new holiday treats.
  6. Mapping out Christmas Lights to drive around– For as long as I can remember my kids and I have looked forward to going out one night, usually Christmas Eve for us, and looking at all the Christmas lights on houses. It is fun to go our favorites, and see them again and again.  Some years we find new ones.  Some years our favorites are no longer there for whatever reason.  But each year we go, chatting and signing along the way.
  7. Christmas cards– Having your kids participate in sending out Christmas cards is a fun way to teach them about what is quickly becoming a lost art. You can make cards together. That can mean cutting things out, drawing, painting, putting hand prints or the like. Or it could be as simple as letting them seal the envelopes.  Maybe they can help write a Christmas letter and help choose the stories and pictures included.  The important thing is, if they sit down with you every year to participate in preparing Christmas cards to send out, in whatever capacity, then it is likely that they will carry on that tradition when they decide how to celebrate their own holidays.
  8. Scavenger Hunt or Christmas Caroling – Christmas caroling is almost a lost art. But it is delightful to open the door and find people singing delightful songs.  Gather some family or friends, and go out.  It really is fun and rewarding.  Or………if singing just really isn’t your cup of tea, then try designing a scavenger hunt.  There are all kinds of fun ways to do it.  You can divide up the family, create a list, set a timer, and off you go.  I promise there will be stories to share upon your return of how someone got that last unlikely item, or the tales of what the neighbors said and did.
  9. Family Photo – including  your pets under the tree! It is something you will want to look back on year after year.  And if you take the time to do it you will have a nice documentation of how much your kids have grown, how your home and trees have changed, and even a good record of the pets in your life.  After all they are part of our families too. It seems like it is so obvious to do this, but it is so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of getting ready.  So make a point!  Find a time…….like the night you put it up, or Christmas Eve, or the night you watch Charlie Brown.  Just start and commit!
  10. Pickle- I lost a dear friend this year who had lots of German traditions because his wife was from Germany. I always loved hearing about them. And though he never told me about this one, I couldn’t help but include it when I read about it.  What a fun game!  I always thought being in a pickle was a negative thing.  But with this tradition, it sounds like a good way to start off the year.  And………..it is only one night of hiding something for those who dread that other little “hiding” game.

In

old

world

Germany,

the last decoration

placed on the Christmas tree

was always a pickle… carefully

hidden deep in the boughs. Legend

has it that the observant child who found

it on Christmas Day was blessed with a year

of good fortune…

and a special gift!