Thursday, December 15, 2011

Etiquette: Thank you Notes and Kids

Even Santa writes Thank You notes!
The joy of Christmas for children often has to do with opening presents and there are many important life lessons to be learned.  This is a perfect opportunity to teach how to express gratitude for all the gifts received.  No matter the age, it is important to take the time to thank the person for their gift.  As parents, we need to model this.  My son made me a gift for Christmas at school.  I thanked him the the special gift and later put a thank you letter in our mailbox for him expressing my gratitude.  He was so excited to find that letter in the mailbox.
My mom always has a thank you note in the mail within days of receiving a gift.  I am always amazed but know how much she appreciates any token of love given to her.  I remember as a child having to write thank you notes with my brothers after Christmas.  It was not my most favorite day, but looking back I am so glad my mom made us write them.  Now that I am the mom, there are a few ways I think I can make it a little less painful for all involved.  
Type of Cards:  
Photo cards:  Take one of your favorite holiday photos and turn them into personalized note cards.  You can make your own by printing out your photo and gluing them on paper or go to any online photo store and upload your photo to create your cards. ( ,
Child Creations:  If your child likes to draw, let them draw the front of the card.  If they have a lot of thank you notes to write, you can scan the art and print additional cards.
Store Bought:  Let your child pick out their own stationary
What to say:  Thank the gift giver for the particular gift and tell them why or how it is appreciated, even if it is not the “best” gift.  Mention something special about Christmas and wish them a Nappy New Year.  Keep it simple!
Young Children:  Adults can write the letter by asking their children about the gift and why they like it.  This is a good time to model writing with your children and teach beginning sounds.  You can have them “write”/scribble their names.
Writers:  Encourage your child to write what they can or even do a fill-in the blank type card.

Let you children take part in putting on the stamp, putting stickers on the envelops or walking them out to the mailbox.  Tell them how happy the receiver will be when they get their special note in the mail.
Thank you for reading this and I hope you and your children have fun writing your Thank You notes together. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Photo Gifts

This project is for the moms.  These were my "crafty" Christmas gifts for my family last year.
Basic Directions:
1. Cut or buy a wood block from your local craft store the size you want
2.  Paint sides that will not have a photo
3.  While drying, choose your photos.  You may print off your computer using cardstock or photo paper.  Trim photos to fit the sides of your block
4. Mod Podge your photos onto the blocks.  Paint onto the block first, place photo, then Mod Podge onto of photo.
* For the ornaments, I used 4 photos to go around the block.  Then used a staple gun to attach a mini bow on the top of the block.  Finally, tie a piece of ribbon through the bow and write the year on the bottom.  I thought this would be a great ornament to do each year of your children.  You can pick 4 of your favorite photos of your child from the year.  What a great way to look back at your child's growth.

*The larger blocks (2 1/2 inch) were for my parents.  Each block represented one of their children (3) and their family.  The fourth block included everyone's wedding photo and grandchildren altogether. The top of each block I printed out a family photo with a typed verse on it.  This is something they can keep out all year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Come Light the Menorah!

Here is a simple hanpdprint menorah that you can make with your child.  You may use giant washable ink pads or paint.  Paint hands blue and press on paper, one at a time.  Have the thumbs touching.  Then paint thumb yellow and press above each finger for the flame.  You may use glitter to make it sparkle. 

*Hanukkah begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 28, 2011.

*What is a Menorah?
The Menorah is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith. It is a candelabrum with seven candle holders displayed in Jewish synagogues. It symbolises the burning bush as seen by Moses on Mount Sinai. The two most common menorahs have seven and nine candle-holders. The term hanukiah or chanukiah, refers to the nine-candled holder used during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Handy Christmas Crafts to be Treasured

Looking for some simple, versatile Holiday crafts to make with your children.    Here are three of my favorites that can be used for cards, ornaments or even framed art for family members this year.  The best part is that you can do these with any age, even newborns!
All the crafts need washable acrylic paint, sponge paint brushes, cardstock, glue and markers for details.  Colors depend on the craft.  Materials can be purchased at Michaels' Craft Store.  Don't forget to have handy wipes ready!!

1.  Santa Handprint: Paint red on the tip of your child's thumb and across the top of your child's palm.  Paint the fingers and rest of the palm white.  Press down on cardstock.  Repeat if you are making more that one.  Once dried, add details.  Glue a cotton ball at the end of the thumb for Santa's hat.

2.  Angel:  Paint bottom of your child's foot white, have them stand and press on cardstock.  Then paint both hands white and press on either side of the footprint.  Once dried, add halo and face details.  This is great framed for grandma.

3.  Rudolph:  Cut out a brown triangle and glue on cardstock.  You may use hands or feet for the antlers.  Found it easier to paint infants feet than hands.  Paint hands (or feet) brown and press on the top corners of the triangle.  Once dried, add details.

I hope this inspires you to get creative and have fun this Holiday Season with your kids.