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Mittens & Mittens all Hung in a Row.

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I posted a few years ago about our Mitten tradition. When Lola & Diego were about 3 or 4 I felt so bad, becuase the house was all decorated for Christmas, and every morning they would wake up and ask “Is it Christmas yet?” So I came up with the idea to hang Christmas stockings with a fun surprise inside, and take one down everyday. This way they could see for themselves how many mittens were left, and how many day before Christmas!

Since this will be our 4th or 5th year now doing this, t really is  a tradition! I have learned that since I actually put memory makers in the mittens that it takes a little planning. I thought I would share this years Memory Mitten ideas. You can follow us on Instagram @CincoDeMami

Dec 1: Make Bird Feeders  for the Kindness Elves

Dec 2: Write Letters to Santa

Dec 3rd: Start a new holiday chapter book, and continue to read it all month

Dec 4th: Watch “The Year Without a Santa Claus”  (1974 version) and have popcorn and a cocoa bar

Dec 5th: Make gingerbread houses

Dec 6th: Winterfest

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Dec 7th: Messiah @ Cary Westwood Baptist

Dec 8th: Watch “Elf” and have pancakes for dinner! (special occasion meal 🙂

Dec 9th: Make a reindeer craft and watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Dec 10th: Skype Santa with Portable North Pole

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Dec 11th: Make candy cane reindeer for the Kindness Elves

Dec 12th: We will be out of town, but I found this great Virginia Beach light show 

Dec 13th: We will still be in Virginia Beach, so tonight we plan to go to the Parade!

Dec 14th: Oakwood Candle Light Tour. We went on this home tour before we had kids. We have continued the tradition every year since. No, don’t worry, we don’t drag our small tribe into peoples meticulously decorated homes. the great thing is that the homes are decorated just as much on the outside, so we stop and get Krispy Kremes and walk the neighborhood enjoying all the outside decorations and the music playing!

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Dec 15: Decorate Placemats for the Kindness Elves

Dec 16th: Get our tree at the Jordan Tree farm, where we get to pick out and chop down our own tree!

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Dec 17th: Decorate the Christmas tree, and have hot coco and listen to Christmas music

Dec 18th: Make no-sew fleece caps for the Kindness Elves!

Dec 19th: Watch “Home Alone” and make Santa Pizzas

Dec 20th: Visit the Tanglewood Festival of Lights!

Dec 21st Bake and decorate cookies!

Dec 22nd: Benson Meadow Lights!

Dec 23rd: Wendell Wonderland!

Dec 24th Christmas Eve! We have Fondue for dinner and everyone gets to open new PJ’s, we then play a new family board game.

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If you noticed, most of the this list is free activities, but the great thing is the memories that they will create will last a lifetime and are priceless!

 

 

 

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The Gift of Memories

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When L & D were toddlers, like most kids they had a difficult time with the concept of time….”Is my Birthday tomorrow?”… “Are we going on vacation today?”… “When is Santa coming?”.  So early on I came up with an idea to help them figure out time through visual cues.  At Christmas I strung a line of mittens. I filled each mitten with a surprise, much like an advent calendar. Each day we took down a mitten and opened the surprise. This was also a great tool when they were learning to count.

In the past years, I have mostly added candy or a small toy to the mitten. I am not a big fan of candy or using candy as a prize or gift, there are so many more options available. With that said, I despise all the little plastic, useless toys that fit perfectly into the mittens.

As a parent, I am learning and correcting my parenting skills, approach and traditions constantly. But, the one thing that has held steady is my philosophy, goals, morals and beliefs that I feel is important fort them to learn.

The commercialism of the holidays saddens me.  I have never participated in the madness of Black Friday.  I love that time with my family too much to waste it, just to get a ‘good deal’.  A few years ago, as an antidote to Black Friday, I chose that day to stay home with L&D and use that time to make presents for friends and family. L&D now look forward to this.

This year I am challenging myself with the ‘garland of mittens’. There will not be candy or cheap toys. This year, only memories. Each day L&D will open the mitten to find a new adventure, that brings us closer, and and adds to our treasure of family memories. After all, When they are adults, will they say “oh I remember that chocolate kiss, that was such a memorable moment”, I doubt it. But I hope they will say “I remember driving through the neighborhood, sipping hot coco and looking at the lights with my family”.

I challenge you to do the same with your family, whether you have small children, grandchildren or just a partner that brings you joy…take this time to create some great memories.