This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NABISCO Cookies and Crackers. All opinions are 100% mine.
Here are some of the things we do to decorate Christmas each year that make life more festive.
Christmas has always been a fun time of year, never more so than with children underfoot. Mine are young enough they don’t associate Christmas with a lot of presents yet, so we’re just enjoying reading Christmas books and talking about Santa.
I’ve talked about it here in my post Is Santa Real?, but the kids still have fun pretending there’s a Santa even when they know he isn’t real. It can happen.
While we’ve lived in 3 continents over the length of our 6-year marriage, there are some traditions we’ve started and tried to keep throughout that I now really enjoy.
Even when Christmas isn’t hosted at our home (and it won’t be this year), I love to make the house festive and welcoming.
It’s a better setting to watch the 12,567,356 Christmas movies I’ve saved on Netflix…
A real Christmas tree
For the 34 years I’ve been alive, I’ve never had a fake Christmas tree. I see they are easier to decorate and beautiful, but I’ve lived in the sticks most of my life and that’s not how we roll.
We usually go to a Christmas tree farm in our town the first or second week of Christmas and bring home a 6 ft. tall tree. We look for a tree whose branches aren’t flimsy and one without big holes or gaps.
This is harder than you’d think. Also, cedar makes my arms break out. When arriving home, the best thing you can do before putting it into the tree stand is slicing another thin layer off of the trunk then immediately putting it into the water.
This will help it soak up more water and live longer without becoming brittle. Either way, you’ll be vacuuming up needles.
Reindeer and lights
For as long as I can remember, my grandmother put up reindeer (or just deer really) in front of the house with Christmas lights on them. Now we do it and love it. We use the big chunky colored Christmas lights and a spotlight to shine on them.
This is a photo of the kids from last year helping put them up. I’d love to get into the tradition of lighting up a huge portion of the house, but we don’t have the margin for that right now.
Anything that requires a few adults outside doing something means the kids are unsupervised and, well, that doesn’t end well.
A fabric Christmas tree
Years ago, I purchased this large piece of fabric with a glow in the dark Christmas tree on it. I sewed a plaid piece of garland for it and pinned it and now, voila, another Christmas tree.
It actually gives me a shock when I go to the bathroom during the night and see it in the hall since it glows, but I love it. I bought it after seeing someone create a giant advent calendar using it.
Stockings (even without a mantle)
Even when we had no mantle (in Australia) I hung Christmas stockings. It just didn’t seem like Christmas without it. Currently, we use stockings I made from this tutorial a few years ago and they are still beautiful.
This year the kids will just get socks in their stockings. I know, mean mom. But they get excited about things like Frozen or Cars socks, so who am I to up the ante.
A pretty table setting
There is a fine line here. One year I created a fairly elaborate table setting with chargers on chargers and plates and every time we sat down to the table we all got annoyed. Now, I like to have a simple runner or place mats with a centerpiece.
This means you aren’t shuffling things everywhere for breakfast, but can still enjoy a nice table. In years to come when the children aren’t so little this may change, but for now it works.
A Christmas recipe
A few weeks ago we had a Christmas meal at a friend’s and I made this Cranberry Apple pie. You can get the entire recipe here, but it’s simple.
You slice 6 large apples into thin slices, cook the apples and cranberries in butter until soft. Then you add a sugar, flour, and cinnamon mixture until it’s melted and evenly coated, then add it to the Honey maid Graham pie crust. After it’s cooked, you add a whipped topping and there you go!