November 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions and Salt Dough Ornaments!

Hi Friends,

Now that we are beginning to put up our Christmas decorations... it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!! :)

When I was pregnant with our son (Who is turned 10 on the 16th!)  I was huge and miserable! It was Halloween night and I was trying to find projects to keep me busy or throw me into labor.  We never celebrated Halloween and no one really tricks or treats around our neighborhood... so that was pretty much out.

I decided, that even though it was early... I would take down the Christmas tree and start decorating it. This sort of became a family tradition for us. Each year on Halloween night, we would take down the Christmas Decorations and begin to decorate our living room.  I said to myself (why take all of those decorations down, and put them up only to last a few weeks and have to take them down again? Why not let them stay up there for a couple of months?)

We have done this every year for the last 10 years now... except for this year : (  we have had so many things going on, that we just didn't have the time to take the stuff out of the attic for Halloween. 

So, we are late getting things going... but we are getting there :). 

I also try to get all of my children, and god children, nieces and nephews together every year and make salt dough ornaments for them to hang on their trees at home.  They have loved this!  I am going to try my best to do this again this year for them since they enjoy it so much. You simply mix the salt dough ingredients together, bake to set and harden it... then decorate with paint, glitter, glue, markers, etc. 

Here is the ingredients you can try with your own kids! 

  • one part salt
  • one part water
  • two parts flour
  • Blend together until a sticky dough forms
  • Kneed together for 7 - 10 minutes on a well floured surface
  • Once it feels smooth and elastic, you are ready to start making the ornaments.
  • Keep any dough you are not using at the moment wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out before you get to it. 
  • You can roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to design ornament shapes, or you can give the kids each a handfull of dough to make their own designs. REMEMBER to place a little hole with a toothpick so they can be hung after they have hardened. 
  • To rid them of any moisture, bake them in an oven at 200 degrees for 4-6 hours. 
  • Once they are hardened, you can decorate them with glitter, markers, paint, etc.
You can seal them with with 3-4 very thin coats of polyurethane gloss varnish to last forever!

Here are some photos of Salt Dough Ornaments I have found online!

There are so many different ways to dress up these ornaments... the last pictures shows salt dough ornaments stamped with actual ink stamps, then dried out afterwards, very cute and the possibilities are endless!

Another tradition we have always had, was we allow the kids to open one gift the night of Christmas Eve... they are allowed to open the rest of their gifts on Christmas morning. 

This will have to change this year though... last year I spoke with the kids about an idea I had regarding the amount of gifts they receive from us.  They all loved the idea and we will be implementing it starting this year. 
They know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
I asked the children how many gifts Jesus received on his birthday... we read from the bible and they discovered that Jesus received 3 gifts on his birthday.

I asked them how they felt about receiving only 3 gifts each, every year for Christmas.  They would receive a small gift in the price range of 5-10 dollars... a medium gift in the price range of 25-50 dollars... and a large gift in the price range of 60-100.  

They could each write a list of the gifts they would love to receive from each price range, and me and their dad would get together and pick one item from each price range to purchase for them for Christmas.

I was really surprised that they loved this idea. I thought it would eliminate the greediness of Christmas... I really disliked when they would open a gift, toss it aside and ask if there was another one for them to open. It really took away from the actual meaning of Christmas.

Because we are going to start this NEW tradition this year, of only 3 gifts each... I think it would be a good idea to start getting some small stocking stuffers to fill their stockings also (something I never really did before, I usually just hang them for decorations) and we will allow them to have their stockings on Christmas Eve night instead of opening a gift.

We sometimes stay up and bake cookies, no... not for Santa. I was never told that there was a Santa growing up, and I never told my kids that there was one.  I do have a 7 year old who asked me if it was ok if she believed in Santa... and I told her if she wanted to, that it was fine with me :) But the cookies we bake are for us to enjoy, snuggled together as a family, watching a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve... just me, my hubby, my handsome son and my three beautiful daughters. 

So... in keeping with the Rambling giveaway theme... I will be choosing a lucky winner who comments on one of my Ramblings to win a beautiful Christmas ornament!

The question for today is... What are some of the Holiday Traditions you share with your family? Or your favorite memories of Traditions your parents or grandparents once shared with you?



GingerPeachT said...

Oh this post made me excited for Christmas!!
I grew up with knowing there was no Santa, but I still pretended if that makes any sense. Lol
We also open just one gift on Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas morn, but my hubby's family does it all on the eve. So I'll be experiencing that this year.
I love your idea of just 3 gifts. Very neat.
And those ornaments look so nice. :-)

Angel said...

That is exactly what my daughter does. I grew up never believing, so I never seen any point in making them believe. Thank you for all your comments! :)