I decided this year that it was my responsibility to teach Addison that Christmas is not just about new toys and clothes, but about appreciating what you have,giving to others, and enjoying your family. Just like Addie sang to us during CarolFest on Tuesday ~ The Magic Word of Christmas is L O V E love, or at least I hope that's what she has taken away from this little adventure.
A little belatedly we started opening a card each morning that determined what we would be doing for the day to celebrate the Christmas spirit. I tried to think of things to a) do as a family; b) do for others; and c) open our hearts and minds a bit.
I thought I'd recap to see how we've done:
Day 1: Clean out toy box and make donation bag for less fortunate kids.
We did shockingly well at this activity. Addie went through the toy box, her bedroom and the playroom. By the time we were done we had two large garbage bags and a box of toys, clothes and books to donate. Of course there were moments when she had a harder time parting with a toy or two, but over all I was incredibly proud of her.
Day 2: Make a Christmas hand print craft.
Yeah, we never got that one done. Maybe today we will as it is raining and awful outside.
Day 3: Do something kind for a friend.
We drove out to Mason to see our dear friend Hilary and her sweet boy Greyson. We all had lunch together and then we took Hilary out to shop for some sparkly holiday clothes.
Day 4: Find the perfect Christmas tree.
Indeed we did. We trudged through many muddy fields, but after about 45 minutes we all agreed on a tree; bonus was that we found an awesome one for Grandma Patty too.
Day 5: Finish decorating the house while listening to festive music.
Instead of our house, we decorated Grandma's tree while listening to music and while wearing a red sequenced Santa hat. Andy had pulled an all -nighter on Day 4 for work, so we pushed our decorating off by a day so he could sleep.
Day 6: Learn about a different cultural tradition : Haunkkah.
Epic fail. Never made it to the library; never really talked about Haunkkah at all. Although a week later Addie did tell Andy (when we were supposed to learning about Kwanza) that she new all about that other candle holiday. We did, however, finish up decorating the tree and house.
Day 7: Donate new toy or clothing to child in need.
Oops. Never did that either. We do have magnet doll all wrapped up and ready to be dropped off, but we sure haven't followed through on getting it done.
Day 8: Go on a neighborhood night walk to look at holiday lights.
Addie and I did this on a very cold Wednesday before dance class. She loved it and she ranked her top six houses. Ours did not make the top six.
Day 9: Help look after our house by emptying the shoe bin or dusting.
I knew she'd go for dusting, she loves our Swiffer duster a ridiculous amount. I had to have her dust twice as the first time she didn't bother to move anything off any of the surfaces. I felt just like my mom as I made her do it right.
Day 10: Make cinnamon ornaments for gift tags.
This we did together and it was fun. Addie loved rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes. She also like decorating them with permanent markers later, which helped me let go of some of my anal retentiveness. Her version of "beautifully decorated" and mine are definitely not the same.
Day 11: Go downtown on a Christmas adventure.
We all bundled up (not really, it was 55 degrees) and headed to Downtown Dazzle. We got to go ice skating, out to dinner, watch Santa repel down an office building and see a firework display. Bonus, the girls were home and tucked in by 7:45 pm.
Addie and I made green sprinkled sugar cookies from scratch and then delivered them to the firehouse across the street from her school. We got there during a down time, so Addie got a tour of the firehouse, bunks, kitchen and all. She also got to sit in the driver's seat of the firetruck. Addie loved it, and more importantly I think the firemen were appreciative.
Day 13: Learn about another cultural tradition: Kwanzaa.
See day six.
Day 14: Do something kind to help out another family member.
This was actually a rather passive event. Aunt Nikki got her wisdom teeth out - Brenna and I took care of the patient and Addie let her convalesce in her room. Pretty kind if you ask me.
Day 15: Bring holiday goodies to dance.
Again, Addie and I whipped up a batch of sugar cookies. We both thought this batch was much tastier than the firemen's batch (sorry guys!). Addie also put fruit snacks and pretzels in her goody bags. Her pals were surprised and she was grinning by the time we headed to the car.
Day 16: Make gift bags for teacher and bus drivers.
This our plan for today. We have gift cards and chocolates to add to the bags and I am going to have Addie make the cards...perhaps this is how I can implement the Christmas hand print craft.
Day 17: Have hot chocolate and marshmallows for dessert.
Gramma Kathy arrives tomorrow, what better excuse to hop Addie up on sugar before bed? We have mini marshmallows and big ones. And instead of hot chocolate I just may have a Baileys and coffee.
Day 18: Take a ride to look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music.
Addie adores Christmas lights. I thought we'd pack some snacks and take a ride - I've scoped out a few good houses and can't wait to show them to her.
Day 19: Read Christmas stories by the fireplace in our pjs.
We have Nutcracker, Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Spirit of Christmas and new this year is Santa from Cincinnati. I have a feeling this may be a new favorite tradition.
Day 20: Bring holiday treats to our neighbors.
This year we're just delivering some spiced pretzels, but we have done something every year since moving here and I know Addie really enjoys seeing our neighbors' open their doors to a treat. Plus it burns off some energy as we wait for the festivites to start at GG's.
So that's it. My 20 attempts to show Addie that Christmas is more than dollhouses and clothes and presents. Hopefully this is something we can grow and do every year; but for our first year I don't think we did so awfully bad.