With four kids under six, Amy has great tips for easy, cheap and meaningful ways to beat Christmas stress – these are the best Christmas ideas ever!
It’s FINALLY the most WONDERFUL time of the year!
As the diary quickly fills up, Christmas lists from the kids get longer and wallets start emptying faster than they’re filled…it can definitely start to feel stressful. Here are some easy, meaningful and CHEAP ways we beat the stress, keeping the magic of Christmas alive at our place!
Best Christmas ideas
1. The Kindness Elves: Making Christmas Meaningful and About More Than ‘Getting Stuff’
This is for sure and certain our favourite Christmas tradition! An alternative to the popular Elf on the Shelf idea, the Kindness Elves arrive at our place on the first day of December and look out for and encourage kindness in our four children. Rather than getting up to mischief, they create magic by encouraging positive, character building activities. They emphasise gratitude instead of entitlement, leaving out little notes encouraging my kiddos to do things like write thank you notes to their teachers, fill up a jar with 20 things I love about a family member (beautiful idea for a Christmas present!!) or even collect and donate toys to people less fortunate.
This beautiful Christmas tradition is one that fills our home with magic throughout December and my children LOVE when the elves come to visit! You can get your own Kindness elves here and read more about what you can do with them here. The initial small cost is worth its weight in gold, year after year (after year)!
2. Salt Dough Christmas Tree
I love cheap and easy things to do with the kids with items that we already have. Playdough is one of our staple play items (check out here for another article here about playdough) and salt dough is close second! Making salt dough is fantastic for developing literacy and fine motor skills – not to mention how EASY it is for toddlers to make!
To make salt dough, mix equal parts salt and flour in a bowl (we used around 1 cup of each) and slowly add up to one cup of warm water. As we were using this batch to make a Christmas Tree, I popped green food colouring in the water before adding it to the dry ingredients.
Once the dough was made, we rolled it out and my kids used star shaped cookie cutters of different sizes to make the stars (we bought ours for a couple of dollars from Kmart). If you’d like to make Christmas Tree ornaments as well, use a straw to pop a hole in the top of some of the decorations before baking. We popped the pieces in the oven on a very low heat (around 100 degrees celcius) for a couple of hours.
Once they were cool, my 2 year old assembled the pieces from smallest to largest using PVA glue to make a ‘Christmas Tree’! (Side note – this part makes the teacher in me very excited about developing early numeracy skills!!!) I also left out some glitter and sequins for her which she used to decorate her Christmas Tree. The best thing about this is that the kids decided they wanted to use theirs as the Kindness Elves’ Christmas Tree next to their fairy door! I LOVE a meaningful craft J
* Trouble Shooting – If you’d like smoother dough, try dissolving some of the salt in the water first. If the dough’s too sticky – add more flour. If the dough’s too dry, add more water a little at a time.
3. Pom Pom Wreath: Easy Craft for Toddlers and Big Kids
There is no two ways about it – we are absolutely ADDICTED to Pom Poms at our place. I just LOVE perfectly imperfect home-made kids crafts and there is nothing better than using pom poms for this!
All you need for this simple idea is pom poms of different colours, PVA glue and an old nappy box cut into a circle. After gluing on the pom poms (don’t be shy using the glue!!) I popped a heavy book on top while it dried. The finished product now hangs on our front door come December 1st. The kids love seeing their handy work when they come in and out of our house and are quick to show our friends and family too! A little warning before embracing this tradition – once this becomes a Christmas ‘must do’, you will quickly have enough to hang on every door of your home!
Also a quick note on safety: common sense ALWAYS prevails at our place – pom poms are small and can be a choking hazard, so supervision is a given!
4. Baby Christmas Shakers
With four young children (aged 5, 4, 2.5 and almost 1), we have ALWAYS had a baby at our place at Christmas time over the last half decade. This simple play idea is one we have done year after year with all four – and it is a guaranteed hit every time!
My older children filled hoarded empty paint pots (these were Crayola brand) with different Christmassy items: jingle bells, cut tinsel, cut bead garlands, coloured green/red rice and Christmassy pony beads. Using a hot glue gun, I fixed the lids down (this step is important as items may pose a choking hazard if they come out).
This simple and inexpensive idea is perfect for a treasure basket and is an easy way to involve your baby in the spirit of Christmas!
For more EASY Christmassy ideas check out my Instagram page! Hope your Christmas is full of lots of kisses, squishes and all things MERRY!