Teach children mindfulness, gratitude and generosity while having fun this Christmas season. As a child, creating memories was more meaningful than any gift I received. I was raised by my mother and grandmother who were both hardworking yet had very limited resources. They could not afford to provide me with the latest Cabbage Patch doll or Converse sneakers but they did show me how to cherish everyday moments. My fondest childhood memories of Christmas include baking with my grandmother, drinking hot apple cider (a rare treat), driving around looking at twinkling lights with my mom, sledding down dangerously steep hills, and decorating our “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree. I remember very few of the gifts I received but cherish the traditions we created.
Here are a few ideas to create meaningful memories and expand the hearts of little ones. Select an activity from the list below (or create your own) and assign it to a day in December leading up to Christmas. Adjust activities to fit your interest and schedule. The activities can be written on a calendar, placed in tiny boxes for little ones to open each day, or slipped into envelopes labeled 1-25. Don’t get caught up in the details of the presentation, the most important thing is to connect and have fun.
Dec 1st: Create an ornament to represents the year. Each year, we select one picture to represent a significant event from the year such as our wedding, buying a house, epic road trip, starting our business, expanding our family, hosting our first christmas, ect.
Create a simple ornament: 1. Print picture 2. Obtain clear glass bulb. 3. Cut the picture to fit inside the bulb. 4. Roll up picture, slide it into glass bulb and flatten in out using the back of a pen. 5. Write the year on the back of the bulb and hang on the tree. It is so fun to reminisce as we hang the ornaments from year's past.
Dec 2nd: Set the mood with your favorite holiday flick, spiced apple cider and fuzzy blanket. We know it’s Christmas time when “A Christmas Story” is blaring and the smell of spiced apple cider is filling our home.
My favorite spiced cider recipe includes: 1 bottle of organic apple cider, 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil, 1 drop of clove essential oil, 2 drops of lemon essential oil and 2 drops of wild orange essential oil. Simmer on the stovetop or in a crockpot. You can learn more about essential oils or purchase them here.
Dec 3rd: Write a meaningful letter to Santa. In this letter, have your children include what they are grateful for this year and a wish they have for themselves, a friend, a family member, and a person they have not met yet.
Dec 4th: Sponsor someone in need. Purchase a gift for a person or family in need. You can find people to sponsor on angel trees found in many grocery stores or shopping centers, churches, nursing homes, or even through Operation Christmas Child were you fill a shoebox with small toys and hygiene products and send to children in developing countries.
Dec 5th: Learn about another culture’s holiday traditions. You can read about how other cultures around the world celebrate Christmas, or even learn about another holiday such as Hanukkah or Kwanza. Dec 6th also happens to be St Nicholas Day. On the eve of St. Nicholas some cultures leave their shoes on their doorstep and wake up to find them filled with small treats and gifts meant to be shared. You can read more about St. Nicholas Day and even try out a new tradition today.
Dec 6th: Engage your senses and build a winter wonderland with homemade aromatherapy play dough. As a child I remember making play dough with my grandmother and having a blast building snowmen with her. I use this aromatherapy play dough recipe and add peppermint to half of the batch and Holiday Joy essential oil to the other half to awaken the senses. You can purchase essential oils here.
Dec 7th: Take family selfies wearing ugly sweaters or holiday props and send them to loved ones to brighten to their day. Who doesn't love a good candy cane turtleneck or reindeer antler headband? Don’t want to buy these items? Thats ok…snap the pictures IN the store. The tackier the better!
Dec 8: Spread gratitude to emergency responders in your community. I have a special place in my heart for the people in our community who sacrifice their safety and time with their families to serve and protect our families. My husband has been a police officer for 17 years and has sacrificed many holidays and special occasions to serve our community. I bring the local police department homemade trial mix, a crockpot of spiced apple cider and a thank you card. If you do not know anyone at the agency then bring them prepackaged treats. They cannot accept homemade goods from people they do not know. Your gratitude is always appreciated.
Dec 9: Channel your inner artist and create a coloring book legacy. Select a coloring book and have each family member color one picture from the book each year. Sign and date your masterpiece. Use this book each year until every page is complete. Have other coloring books available for those wanting to go on a coloring spree.
Dec 10: Marvel at the magic of Christmas lights. Go on a tour of your town to find the homes and businesses with the best Christmas lights. Count how many angels you see today!
Dec 11: Spread joy to your neighbors. Create simple homemade gifts and deliver them to your neighbors just to let them know you are thinking about them. Some of my favorite homemade gifts include DIY bath salt ornaments, chocolate spiced pretzels, or 5 minute rosemary spearmint soap. Need essential oils? You can get them here.
Dec 12: Make space for new and donate used toys. Help your children clean out their toy box and select toys to donate to others who will continue to enjoy them. Teach them about the concept of paying it forward.
Dec 13: Have a dance party! Rock out to your favorite Christmas music, record a brief video and send the video clip of your dance party to friends & family to brighten their day. Who doesn't like a good dance party?!
Dec 14: Have a meaningful visit with the jolly guy in red. Have your child share with Santa one thing they are grateful for and one thing they would like for themselves, a friend, a family member and someone they have not yet met.
Dec 15: Pick up the phone and call someone who you haven't talked to in a while. Let them know you are thinking about them and ask questions about their life. Electronic communication will never replace the personal touch a person’s voice will have on another human.
Dec 16: Snuggle up with a favorite book and read to your little ones under the glow of the Christmas tree. Select a special Christmas story that you read each year.
Dec 17: Have fun in the kitchen together creating a few of your favorite Christmas treats. One of our favorites is 3 ingredient peppermint bark. Easy and delicious!
3 ingredient peppermint bark: 1. Melt a bag of chocolate chips over very low heat (don’t over heat) 2. Stir in 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil 3. Spread melted chocolate over a parchment lined baking sheet. 4. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes 5. Put in fridge or on counter until chocolate is solid 6. Break into large pieces and enjoy! Need essential oils? You can get them here.
Dec 18: Attend a holiday themed event like a Christmas concert, performance, or go ice skating. The Nutcracker, sledding, and ice skating are some of my favorite events. It helps that they all end with hot chocolate!
Dec 19: Celebrate all things red and green. Wear, eat, and bring awareness to all things red and green today. How many things can you identify that are either red or green that you hadn't noticed before?
Dec 21: Spread joy to the homeless community. Fill lunch bags with prepackaged snacks, bottled waters, and a pair of socks or hygiene item. Place a ribbon on these bags and pass them out to homeless people in the community. Did you know socks are one of the most requested items from shelters?
Dec 20: Create a handmade Christmas card for each member of the family and place it under the tree. My husband and I have been exchanging handmade Christmas cards for years. Many are hilarious and inappropriate but they are always memorable. I have a shoebox filled with them that bring a smile to my face each time I crack the lid.
Dec 22: Commit a “random act of Christmas.” This is a random and often anonymous act of kindness. Some ideas include paying for someones coffee, leaving a special note for someone, buying someone’s groceries, leaving anonymous donations, or giving someone an unexpected gift.
Dec 23: Camp out under the Christmas tree. Snuggle up with your favorite people, blankets and pillows and have a slumber party under the glow of the Christmas tree. Popcorn garland anyone?
Dec 24: Open up a “night before Christmas box.” This box can include a pair of pajamas, small treat, and an activity for the family like a movie, game, or book. We enjoy making OnGuard popcorn, drinking peppermint hot chocolate, playing a game, and watching a Christmas movie while wearing our new pajamas on Christmas eve.
"Favorite Christmas Eve Recipes"
Dec: 25 Celebrate Christmas with family! Cherish every moment.
"Baby's First Christmas Morning"
Dec: 26: Express gratitude and write thank you notes to anyone who gave you a gift. Teach children to express gratitude each day. The more we focus on what we are grateful for the more opportunities we will attract to express our gratitude.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Share in the comments below or better yet, share on instagram @theblissedmama #mindfulmamatraditions.
Wondering about other ways to use essential oils?
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