This will be a photo-heavy post! We have not even completed all the boxes, but I'm going to show you what each box says, what is in each box, and what our plans are for each box. If we've done that box already, I'll share a few pictures from it. Otherwise, I may come back and add pictures, especially if I get a lot of feedback on this!
I got this idea from Katherine Marie's blog (this is the blog post). Her kids are older, so while I was able to take a few ideas from her, most of mine were just from brainstorming! Most of what I came up with is appropriate for Alexander, who is about 2.5 years old. I included some items in each box that just reminded me of the theme, but I didn't have any specific plans for those items.
The 12 boxes I went with (for this year!):
- Grinch Day
- St. Nicholas Day
- Snow Day
- Christmas Giving Day
- Reindeer Day
- Christmas Carols Day
- Nativity Day
- Fireplace Day
- Happy Birthday Jesus Day
- Christmas Tree Day
- Candy Cane Day
- Gingerbread Day
I think it's important to celebrate the reason for the season (aka Jesus), but there are so many things that make this a fun, special time of year. Christmas trees! Hot chocolate! Gift wrapping (and gift giving)! The music! So I want to instill some of that magic into Alexander as well.
Now I'm going to break down each box. If you can't read the card inside the box, just check below, in the text. I've outline everything in more detail!
Thanks to lots of my followers who gave me some great ideas for this box! There were way too many to include, so these are some I am going to use.
- Who Hash - According to the Dr Seuss website, "who hash" is just any sort of hash you want to create. I plan to make a breakfast hash with potatoes and bacon or sausage.
- Green Pancakes - To go along with our who hash, I'll make some green pancakes. I'll just make a traditional pancake mixture, minus the sugar, and add in some puréed spinach or kale for the green color.
- Fruit Skewers - I'm using this idea to make fruit skewers that resemble The Grinch! It involves strawberries, green grapes, and marshmallows.
- Handprint Activity - Here is a link to one of many handprint ideas!
- Green Face Paint - We will paint our faces green.
- Green Paint - We'll mix blue and yellow paint to make green paint. Then we will use a Q-tip to draw on some large white paper.
- Heart Sorting - The Grinch's heart grew and grew and grew. So I made this printable that has 10 hearts in growing sizes! HERE is the free printable. I printed it directly onto red construction paper, cut out the hearts, laminated them, then cut them again.
- Watch The Grinch - If we can find the old cartoon movie online (Hulu or Amazon Instant or whatever), we'll watch that together.
- Beard Masks - I cut two paper plates into a beard shape, cut holes for the mouth, and attached string to each side. We'll use glue to attach some cotton balls and then wear the beard masks.
- Santa Hats - I got two Santa hats (size small and size large!), and we will wear the hats and masks together.
- Puzzle - I found a set of Christmas puzzles online (24 pieces each). We'll put together the Santa one.
- St Nicholas Book - This is a beautiful book about St Nicholas. I want to teach Alexander about the history/origins of "Santa" and this is a good place to start.
- Glitter Snowflakes - I got some glitter snowflakes at the craft store. We'll hang those on the windows.
- Homemade Snowflakes - We will cut snowflakes out of paper.
- Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes - We'll twist white pipe cleaners together to make more snowflakes.
- Coloring Page - I simply printed snowflake shapes, and Alexander will color them.
- Build a Snowman with Cotton Balls - Using glue and cotton balls, we'll build a tiny snowman on red paper.
- Build a Snowman with Marshmallows - We will pinch and pull apart the giant marshmallows to make 2 different sizes. We'll use pretzel sticks to attach the "body" pieces and then use pretzels as arms.
- Read Snowmen at Night - I love this book!
- Watch Frosty - This movie is currently on Netflix, so I'd like to watch at least part of it.
- Food Bank - We'll collect some cans of food to take to a local food bank.
- Salvation Army - We will take some coins and a few bills, and Alexander can put them into the red bucket.
- Bible Verses - There are tons of verses in the Bible about giving to others and helping the poor. I'll read some of the shorter verses to Alexander.
- Wrap Gifts - Alexander will help me wrap some gifts and put them under the Christmas tree.
- Read Christmas Carol - This book is about a grumpy, greedy old man who has a change of heart. It's all about giving, in the end.
- Dress As Reindeer - I got some antlers and red face paint. We'll wear antlers and paint our noses red!
- Sing Rudolph Song - This is just for fun.
- Reindeer Poop - It's just chocolate-covered raisins. I made incorporate them into the next bullet point.
- Make Fake Deer Tracks - Using a fake snow recipe I found online, we'll create fake deer tracks around the house. (I may also do this before he wakes up one day.)
- Learn Reindeer Names - I found some reindeer flash cards online. Each one has a picture of a reindeer with a reindeer name underneath.
- Rudolph Puzzle - There was a reindeer puzzle in the set of puzzles I mentioned earlier! We'll put together this 24-piecer.
- Rudolph Book - I love this old movie. We'll read the book, for sure.
- Rudolph Movie - If we have time, and if I can find it, we'll watch the movie that goes along with the book.
- Sing Christmas Songs - I printed a few songs in a "song book". I mostly wanted to introduce Alexander to music notes.
- Play Joy To The World on the Recorder - I wanted to play a song on the recorder for Alexander. Instead, he played the same note over and over again. He has been playing it for a week!
- Make Jingle Bell Bracelets - Using pipe cleaners and jingle bells, we create bracelets for ourselves. Then we listened to Jingle Bells and shook our bracelets to the music.
- Make a Paper and Felt Microphone - This was an activity that didn't happen. I wanted to roll a piece of black paper to create the handle of the microphone, then add the green felt as the mouth part.
- Read The Christmas Story - This book tells a child-friendly version of the Biblical Christmas story.
- Nativity Set - I found a ceramic, pint-sized nativity set online. And my husband got some hay. We will set up this nativity scene together. I'll explain each component as we do so.
- North Star - We will cut out a star shape from the yellow paper. We may hang it above the nativity scene.
- Manger - Using popsicle sticks, thread, and glue, we'll try to create a manger.
- Roast Marshmallows - I would like to roast marshmallows, but we do not have a gas stove, so this may be wishful thinking!
- Giant Cup of Hot Chocolate - I cut a paper plate into a smaller white circle. I cut a brown sheet of paper into a circle. And I cut a piece of white pipe cleaner to represent the handle. If we glue them together just right, it might look like a cup of hot chocolate from above. There are 10 cotton balls in the box to represent giant marshmallows. Alexander likes to count, so I thought he might just enjoying placing the 10 cotton balls onto the brown circle!
- Fake Fire - I cut out some fake flames in various colors. We will tape them onto our fireplace grate.
- Real Hot Chocolate - Using chocolate chips and marshmallows, we will make real hot chocolate on the stove.
- Hang Stockings - I got some plastic hooks that I'll hang above the fireplace. Alexander can help hang our stockings.
- The Night Before Christmas Book - This book mentions a lot of Christmas things. But I had a book in some of the other boxes already! So it fits in this box too.
This one was a little deeper and more theological than the others! I know that Alexander won't really understand much of this box, and that's okay. It was important for me to put together the ideas. Each year, I can add to it, and one day, hopefully he will understand a bit of the theology that is behind Christmas. I don't want it to be just a holiday for him! You know, it's more than just Santa and gifts and trees and treats.
- Birthday Party Decor - In the box are some candles, balloons, and a cookie cutter.
- Birthday Cookies - I've got the dry ingredients for cookie dough in a mason jar, ready to go. We'll use a recipe to make some simple sugar cookies. We'll stack them to make a "cake".
- Happy Birthday Song - We'll sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, naturally.
- Gold - I wanted Alexander to give Jesus 3 small gifts. With my dad's help, I landed on gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But of course, I won't wrap those things specifically. Gold represents His Royalty (birth). In the box is a long gold bead, which Alexander will drape on the Christmas tree.
- Frankincense - Frankincense represents His priesthood (life). Basically, I connected it to His leadership and relationship with the 12 disciples. In the box is a string, 12 small beads (the disciples), and 1 larger and intricate bead (Jesus). We'll string the beads together to make a chain. Alexander can hang the chain on the Christmas tree.
- Myrrh - Myrrh was used for embalming, so it may have represented His sacrifice (death). In this box is just a round, smooth stone. It represents the stone that was rolled away from the tomb. Alexander will place the rock under the Christmas tree.
- Pick Out Tree - We went to a tree farm. Alexander helped us pick out our Christmas tree. He also helped my husband push the tree over and roll it up toward our car.
- Decorate Tree - I included some ornaments in this box so that Alexander could hang them on the tree.
- Small Paper Trees - We used popsicle sticks, brown paper, green papers, glue, and felt balls to create paper trees.
- Pinecone Trees - I found some pinecones in the neighborhood. Then we shoved felt balls into the pinecones! We used ornament hooks to create ornaments from the pinecones.
- Candy Cane Ornaments - We used pipe cleaners and red yarn to make candy cane ornaments. This was difficult for Alexander, so I ended up making a few to hang on the tree. We also hung candy canes on the tree!
- Striped Paper - I cut red paper into strips. Alexander glued them onto white paper.
- Candy Cane Smoothies - I layered a banana smoothie and a strawberry smoothie, then we drank from candy cane straws!
- Giant Candy Cane Coloring Page - I drew a simple candy cane onto a giant sheet of paper. Alexander colored it. He doesn't like to color much, so only a tiny portion of the candy cane was colored.
- Peppermint Pancakes - This was a failed project. I made plain pancakes then tried to swirl strawberry jam into them, to look like giant peppermints. They tasted fine, but they did not look like peppermints!
- Gingerbread House - I found a kit at Michael's craft store for a gingerbread house. My husband and I did the structure part of the house. Alexander helped with some of the decorations.
- Gingerbread Man/Woman Cookie Cutters - We traced the gingerbread people onto brown paper using cookie cutters.
- Gingerbread Man Rhyme - We read a poem about a gingerbread man. And every time I said the word "gingerbread", Alexander was supposed to jump. Instead, he just ran around the table about 400 times.
- Gingerbread Pancakes - I made some plain but delicious gingerbread pancakes.
That's all, folks!
This took a ton of planning and brainstorming. And I know that next year, I'll have an 11-month-old and a 3.5-year-old. Those boxes will look much different, but I hope I'm able to reuse many of these ideas.
I also hope this is a lovely tradition that we continue over the years. This year, the materials and planning were a little expensive and overwhelming. But now, I've got the boxes, lots of books, and lots of ideas. I imagine it will be easier as the years go on!