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Decorating our home for the holidays is a family affair in our house. But we can’t start decorating until we make a batch of cookies! The first kind we make every year is my childhood favorite – Spritz. It isn’t really about the taste, although I love the buttery melt-in-your-mouth cookies. And it isn’t because they were a childhood favorite, although I have fond memories of baking these in the kitchen with my Dad. The reason they are my favorite is because they look so pretty and immediately make it feel like Christmas to me!
The other preparation we make before decorating is getting together an appetizer spread. Everyone gets to pick an appetizer. Then, as we decorate, we get to nibble on some yummy treats. Typically we have caramel popcorn, cheese ball & Sociables, Christmas Cookies, meatballs, and Punch. But it does vary some from year to year. This year we also had potato skins (something Tinkerbell could eat & somewhat nutritious) and White Chocolate Party Mix.
I think us adults, like kids, are very sensory oriented too. When I think of Christmas I think of the smell of cinnamon from the Wassail my Mom would boil on the stove top, the sound of bells and Christmas Music, the prickly texture of the Christmas tree as I would help my Dad string up the lights, and the sight of all the beautiful lights that adorn our tree and home. So to help my kids have beautiful sensory experiences of Christmas too, we always have some fun, joyful Christmas music playing throughout our decorating.
Then it’s time to decorate! The best thing I did was a couple years back I organized. I found that I was always doing all the decorating because no one else knew where I wanted things to go. So I fixed that! After things were decorated I took a picture and labeled where everything was suppose to go. I put everything in bins together. Now you grab a bin and decorate that room with the items in the bin just like the picture shows. Goofy can decorate his own room and my hubby is a HUGE help! We started out with just one tree, but each year when things go on clearance we pick up a couple new things. I try to make the kids room’s festive, without going overboard. I don’t want cookie cutter rooms that each look the same, so I try to spruce up what is already there. (For example Minnie has a pink princess room – so she got white light garland for her dollhouse & a little Christmas tree with mini Princess ornaments).
We save the best for last ~ the tree! By doing it just after lunch time the younger kids will be going down for a nap and there is less chance of the favorite ornaments breaking! Goofy & Minnie are now old enough to help us. We love laying out all our ornaments and looking at them before we put them up. Each ornament holds a very special memory to us, but I divulge, more on that in Holiday Tradition #7. At the very end my husband lifts up one of the kids to put on our star like tree topper. This year I had a new special ornament for each of us. The kids were so excited to start things off opening a present! Now they look for that special ornament on the tree. I decided to start this because I always look for clearance ornaments after Christmas (since Hallmarks can get pretty spendy). Plus if you wait until Christmas you don’t get to really use it/see it much until the following year –this way they can use look at it all Christmas season!
When the kids all wake up from their nap we have a tree just for them. It is a simple tree we got when it went 90% off at Walmart, but it thrills the kids. They get to decorate it with a couple non-breakable ornaments and all their beautiful ornaments they make that year! They can rearrange them on their tree as much as they like!
And TADA – our house is decorated! The last part of our tradition is we all watch the original Grinch together on the couch while we admire our beautifully decorated home. Then we look through our Christmas album and remember all the fond memories we have of Christmases past.
And this year I even decorated my blog =) Just a few subtle things: a Merry Christmas banner & Stocking Social Icon buttons. I hope you enjoy them.