How to Make a Christmas Eve Box

Create a special family tradition when you learn how to make a Christmas Eve box to usher in the Christmas spirit for your child.

how to make a Christmas Eve box

Christmas is such a magical time for both children and parents. As parents we get to experience the magic and wonder of Christmas through the eyes of our innocent babes. This year, we are starting a new tradition, we’re making Christmas Eve boxes for our little ones. This tradition stems from a German tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve.

I’ve heard a few families say they do this instead of hanging and filling stockings, but it’s up to you. Personally, I decided to do it because I was already going to buy and do these things for Christmas anyway. Putting it together like a gift, just makes it more special. The idea is that you create a box filled with Christmas goodies. Traditionally, you would give your child this box on Christmas Eve, but I know some families instead give this box the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy the holiday season. There are no rules. I, however, am giving this to my little guys on Christmas Eve. It will have their pajamas, a movie we’ll watch, a Christmas bedtime story and snacks. I’m hoping it gets them excited about going to bed early on Christmas Eve!

How to Make a Christmas Eve Box

Get Your Box

You can use any box you wish. Some families simply use a large gift box. Others use a wooden crate, available for purchase at any craft store. Etsy has some amazing sellers who make personalized boxes to be used year after year. Really you can use any container, so long that it’s big enough. The buffalo plaid one I’m using in my picture was purchased at Hobby Lobby. It comes with a lid. If you are doing it on a budget, you can cover a shoe box with festive wrapping paper.

Ideas for Your Christmas Eve Box

Obviously you can put anything you want in the boxes. In fact, I encourage you to make it your own. However, if you are looking for some suggestions here are a few.

  • Christmas Pajamas
  • Snacks (Candy, Popcorn, Cookies, etc)
  • A Christmas movie
  • Christmas socks / slippers
  • Reindeer Food (see “recipe” below)
  • Snowman Soup (see recipe below)
  • Special Ornament
  • Christmas storybook
  • Christmas coloring book
  • A small toy
  • Novelty Toothbrush
  • Prayer book
  • Christmas mug (for snowman soup)

You can add any combination of items to your box. This year, I’m adding Christmas themed pajamas, a story book, a Christmas movie and some homemade bunuelos, some reindeer food and snowman soup.

Snowman soup is just hot chocolate mix presented in a cute way. Reindeer food is a cute idea. It’s just oats and glitter. Have your little ones sprinkle the mixture on your lawn to feed Santa’s reindeers when they land. Cookies for Santa; Reindeer food for the Reindeers. It’s just another way to make it more magical for the kids. See below for exact instructions. However, you can also use bird seed instead of oats. I’ve made some cute printable bag toppers. I recommend printing them out on white card stock. You can download them below.

Also, while we’re at it, there is no reason why this has to be only for children. You can tailor it for adults. You can even add some grown up additions like mini liquor bottles and liqueur flavored chocolates.

how to make a Christmas Eve box
how to make a Christmas Eve box

How to Make Snowman Soup

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How to Make Snowman Soup

  1. Gather the following ingredients

    Packet of instant hot chocolate, mini marshmallows, candy cane, and a zip lock bag (sandwich size)

  2. Pour ingredients into bag

    Open the packet of instant hot chocolate. Add marshmallows and candy cane. Seal bag.

  3. Print printable bag topper

    Print the bag topper or make your own and staple to the top of the zip lock bag.

snowman soup

How to Make Reindeer Food

  1. Gather Ingredients: Oats & glitter (any color you wish)
  2. Pour into ziplock and seal bag
  3. Shake well
  4. Print printable bag topper and staple on top
how to make a Christmas Eve box

Thank you so much for reading. Please share this post on social media or PIN it for later. I hope you and your little ones have a magical Christmas. Be sure to subscribe to my blog for more fun ideas.

Thank A Mail Carrier Basket

With all the online shopping mail carriers are busier than ever. Today, I’ll show you how to put together a Thank a mail carrier basket full of snacks, water and goodies to let them know you appreciate them and their hard work.

thank a mail carrier

A Thankless Job

Being a mail carrier is quite a thankless job. Especially around the holidays. I knew the same mail carrier Cliff who worked for UPS and was on my dad’s business route for many years. The holidays were always busy. He worked such long hours, often skipped lunch, and was always dealing with problems of missing and damaged packages. During the holidays it was stressful.

These days, so much of our Christmas shopping is done online and families are sending care packages and gifts across the country more than ever. Many employees from carrier companies and the postal service, work demanding schedules around the holidays to make sure our needs are met.

So my family decided to make them feel noticed and appreciated while they are busy on their route by offering them some snacks and drinks. It’s a small act of kindness, that hopefully brightens their day. We love doing acts of kindness around the holidays. We actually add it to our advent calendar (Christmas Bucket List) every year! If you are looking for more ideas, be sure to read my post, 50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays.

How to Make Your “Thank A Mail Carrier” Basket

First, it doesn’t have to be a basket. You can use any container to pack with a few goodies. I use a wire basket with a Christmas bow. Next you’ll need a sign. You can make your own sign with a message. However, I’ve taken some of the work out for you by making a printable one. You can download it below. I recommend printing it on white cardstock.

Next, fill your container with whatever goodies you like. Here are a list of some of the things we put in ours.

  • Granola Bars
  • Mints
  • Water
  • Soda
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Candy
Thank a mail carrier

Other Ways to Thank Mail Carrier

You can also leave a small token of appreciation strait in your mailbox. One year, I left a package of Oreos with a bow and a thank you note.

Thank you for reading. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

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50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays

50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays you can do by yourself or as a family to bring the magic of Christmas to the hearts of others.

50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays
Courtesy of Unsplash

I try to do acts of kindness throughout the year, but during the holidays I’m especially mindful to do them. As my kids get older, it’s a tradition I love to do with them. I want to instill the habit of doing good in the world.

As a Christian, I believe we are supposed to be a light in a dark world. We should be an ambassador for Christ, showing his love through acts of love, kindness, and mercy. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you can’t deny the affect that kindness has on the world. Whatever the motivation, the holidays seem inspire random acts of kindness.

Choosing What Not To Do

Save Your Judgement

Now before I list some of the things my family does, I want to preface it. Kindness doesn’t have to cost anything. Kindness is as simple as paying someone a compliment or holding the door open for someone. Maybe it is returning someone’s cart or giving someone your place in a long line. Sometimes kindness isn’t what you do, but what you choose NOT to do.

For instance, the next time you see something you disagree with on Facebook, choose to extend mercy by scrolling by instead of hammering someone with your opinion. In fact, one of the places in most desperate need of kindness is social media. Everyone is so quick to judge and condemn others. The world doesn’t need your opinion about everything. Instead, commit to being a peacemaker and withhold your sanctimony. After all, you and me are incredibly flawed. Choose to be kind instead of being “right.”

Forgiveness

Just recently, I’ve seen some horrible acts of unkindness. In one instance, a man at a craft store couldn’t tell where the line started and accidentally cut in front of someone. The woman he cut off, went up the counter and started slamming her fist and screaming at him. The man apologized and explained, but she was unmoved by his apology and continued yelling inches away from his face. The man left broken and shamed.

Another time, I saw an older man come into a parking lot and nearly clipped someone. He parked beside me. The woman he cut off, parked her car directly in front of his, blocking him from getting off and entering the store. She then proceeded to get out of her car and yelled obscenities at him through the window. It was an accident and it’s not like he crashed into her. It was a near miss, but she was determined to draw blood for it.

Things aren’t going to go our way sometimes and when that happens we have a choice. We can respond with kindness or viciousness. Over the years, I’ve learned most people don’t intentionally set off to ruin our day. They’re busy, distracted, or simply make a mistake. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. One way to spread kindness is simply by extending someone forgiveness. Show someone undeserved love. It’s that kind of mercy that inspires others to be kind. It has a ripple effect.

50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays

  1. Leave a basket of treats to thank mail carriers
  2. Let someone cut in front of you in line at a store
  3. Organize a group to sing carols at a nursing home / retirement community
  4. Offer to babysit a friend’s kids so they can get a date night out
  5. Bring a crossing guard or traffic directing police officer coffee or hot chocolate
  6. Donate canned food to a food drive
  7. Give a stranger a gift card
  8. Donate a toy towards a toy drive like Toys for Tots
  9. Put up Christmas lights for an elderly neighbor
  10. Make a Christmas care package for a far away friend or relative
  11. Let someone know you’re thinking about them with a holiday card.
  12. Give to a charity
  13. Donate pet food at a local pet shelter
  14. Donate blood or plasma (it saves lives)
  15. Volunteer at a shelter
  16. Surprise someone with scratch off lottery ticket
  17. Donate blankets or coats to a shelter
  18. Volunteer at a food bank
  19. Return shopping carts in parking lots during the busy shopping season
  20. Tape coins to a vending machine and treat someone to a snack
  21. Help an elderly person with yard work
  22. Donate change for bell ringers
  23. Give a server a generous tip
  24. Walk a neighbor’s dog
  25. Pay off a school lunch debt
  26. Host a book drive for Operation Paperback
  27. Donate used toys to a battered women’s shelter or orphanage
  28. Pet sit for a family who is out of town for the holidays
  29. Say a prayer for someone
  30. Hide a dollar in the toy section of a dollar store
  31. Drop off treats to a fire or police station
  32. Volunteer at church
  33. Donate your wedding gown to a baby who has died
  34. Gift diapers to a family with an infant
  35. Pay for a strangers meal or coffee
  36. Give someone your parking space
  37. Invite someone with no family to spend Christmas with you
  38. Let someone go ahead of you in traffic
  39. Send a thank you note to a soldier
  40. Hand out gloves and mittens to the homeless
  41. Pay for someone behind you at the drive through window
  42. Babysit for a single mom
  43. Take a homebound or elderly person to church
  44. When you disagree with someone on social media, choose to stay kind instead
  45. Bring in your neighbor’s trash bins
  46. Call an old friend
  47. Do something unexpected for your spouse
  48. Bring in goodies for your co-workers
  49. Pick up trash
  50. Give up your seat

Being kind is fun and it makes you feel good. I hope you enjoy doing 50 Acts of Kindness for the Holidays. PIN this post for later and share on your Facebook wall to get others involved.

Take a look at some of my other Christmas activities in The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

Magic Painting Christmas Cards

This post, Magic Painting Christmas Cards, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this post, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Magic Painting Christmas Cards - Usborne Books

If you’re looking for a fun, relatively mess free craft to do with your child, I highly recommend this Magic Painting Christmas activity from Usborne Books. 

This year, we were looking for a quick and easy Christmas themed activity to do with my three year old. It’s really hard to do crafts the way we used to with my infant son. Mommy suddenly doesn’t have enough hands! I also have a need to contain as much mess as possible.

A good friend of mine sells for Usborne books and I so excited to see Magic Painting Christmas Cards as new item and boy was it a great time killer for my little one. We painted all ten designs and then we picked the family members we would send them to. I had my son put on the postage stamps and I addressed the envelopes. Then all three of us walked them to the mailbox (ours is at the entrance of our neighborhood). My son felt so proud mailing his little cards and he loved getting calls later from the people who received them!

About the Magic Painting Christmas Card Set

The pack comes with 10 cards in two designs and includes envelopes. It also includes a paint brush. The only thing you’ll need for this activity is a cup or bowl with water.

My son is 3 years old and he had a great time painting. I love these Magic painting books and activities from Usborne. They aren’t nearly as messy as traditional watercolors and we can take them anywhere. The paper appears white. However, there is hidden water color paint in it that is activated by water.

Recently, we went to Houston because my husband had a business trip and we did a magic painting activity on a table in our hotel suite! That’s how awesomely mess free they are. If anything spills, it’s just water!

Our Story with Usborne

Usborne is a children’s book company that is sold through distributors. I actually have four mom friends who sell them! So I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding them. I have to tell you though, I’m glad I found them. If you don’t know anyone who sells them, I’ve provided a link below where you can purchase it through Amazon (see my affiliate disclosure at the top of the page).

 

They have such a cute line of chilren’s books. My son, much my chigrin, was suddenly disinterested in books when he turned two. Honestly, it upset my husband and I who are both avid readers. My high-energy son just couldn’t stand sitting still to read. But Usborne has lot of options for children who need something to do while reading. They have Lift-the-flap books and my son’s favorite Shine-a-light books. These are books where you shine a light through the page and hidden images appear. If you have a child who is disinterested in reading, I suggest trying these kids of books. My son now enjoys reading and finds books fun! I’d love to hear what fun winter activities you are doing with your children!

Learn more about holiday themed activities in the post The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

Magic Painting Christmas Cards first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Retro Sequin Ball Ornaments

Learn how to make beautiful retro sequin ball ornaments in this DIY tutorial

diy retro sequin ornament christmas craft handmade ornament

Every year, our family makes ornaments as part of our Advent calendar. Our Advent calendar is filled with holiday centered activities that we do as a family. It’s a fun way to take time out of the busy holiday season and actually celebrate and experience Christmas. My family has grown to love it and each year we each choose our own ornament we’d like to make. This year, I choose retro sequin ball ornaments.

Making this ornament is fairly easy, just time-consuming. Surprisingly, I found it to be a relaxing exercise! I hadn’t made one of these in years, so I was a little rusty. So I’ll share how I made these and what I learned from the mistakes I made!

SUPPLIES

  • Wire, approx 3-4″
  • Styrofoam ball 2.8″
  • Small pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Sequins
  • Craft pins
  • Ribbon / String / or Ornament Hook

handmade ornament supplies diy sequin ornament

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Before you begin, take a wire (in a pinch you can use a large paper clip). Insert the wire in the top of the ball ornament. Push straight through the center. You can do this at any point. However, I’d recommend doing it before you put sequins on. If for some reason you don’t go strait on your first attempt, you may destroy the hard work you’ve done. Therefore, I recommend doing it before you begin decorating. This will create a way to attach an ornament hook or string for hanging.

2. Once through, trim wire on the top and bottom to about a centimeter.

3. Using pliers, curl each wire end into a loop. This stops the wire from sliding on either end and will allow you to hang it.

4. When it comes to sequins, you can choose any that you like. I choose silver and gold since one of my trees is themed that color. You can choose different size sequins as well. I recommend putting them in ziplock bags or containers to control the mess or if you may need to clean off you workspace before you’re finished.

5. You’ll need craft pins. Some come with a decorative head and others have a flat head. I used short pins, but I recommend using larger ones. I found that using short pins are easily pulled out. The longer the pin, the more reinforced it is.

6. You decide on the design and how many colors you use. I did opposing triangle shapes surrounded by gold. If you need to, you can draw an outline on the styrofoam it will eventually be obscured by the sequins.

7. If you’ve never used sequins before, you want the sequins to be placed with the facets facing upwards. This allows for maximum shine. You can choose to layer the sequins as I did. I put the smaller ones on top of the big ones for added interest and texture.

8. Next, add your sequins, making your way around the ball trying to close any gaps you see, to the best of your ability.

9. Once done, add your ribbon or ornament hook. It’s now ready for hanging!

If you’re looking for more fun things to do at Christmas time, see the post The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

Retro Sequin Ornaments first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

Get into the Holiday spirit, by completing the Ultimate Christmas Bucket List.

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

When my husband and I got married, we decided to start a tradition. We started an activity Advent calendar. Instead of stuffing our advent calendar with sweets or small toys, we fill it with activities. This has really helped us bond as a family. It creates memories for our children and encourages us to spend time together. Starting December 1, we do a Christmas or Holiday themed activity every day as a family.

It’s a wonderful way to get you out of your rut and into the Christmas spirit. We use an actual advent calendar with the activity written on little slips of paper. These are easily moved around if our schedule changes. Every year, I rotate a few of them out. If you don’t have an advent calendar, you can simply write them on your calendar. Alternatively, you can put the slips of paper in a jar or you can use the FREE Christmas Advent Calendar printable I’ve made for you. Just cross them off as you complete them. I’ve listed 75 different activities you can do to complete the Ultimate Christmas Bucket List. Some require planning, while others can be done in a moment’s notice.

advent calendar
Our Advent Calendar

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

1. Bake Gingerbread Cookies

2. Watch Home Alone

3. Trim the Tree

4. Make a Christmas Wreath

5. Take a Family Christmas Photo

6. Make Christmas Candy

7. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life

8. Build a Gingerbread House

9. Make an Ornament

10. Visit Santa

11. Read the Polar Express

12. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas

13. Go to a Holiday Party

14. Drink Hot Apple Cider

15. Go Sledding

16. Visit a Christmas Market

17. Build a Snowman

18. Watch Elf

19. Read Twas The Night Before Christmas

20. Bake and Decorate Sugar Cookies

21. Enjoy Eggnog

22. Go Christmas Shopping

23. Send Christmas Cards

24. Watch A Christmas Story

25. Wrap Gifts

26. Listen to Christmas Music

27. Attend a Performance of The Nutcracker

28. Make Paper Snowflakes

29. Wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater

30. Watch Love Actually

31. Drink Hot Cocoa

32. See Christmas Lights

33. Go Outside and Make Snow Angels

34. Make a Popcorn Garland

35. Watch The Polar Express in Your Pajamas

36. Host or Attend a Cookie Exchange

37. Mail a Letter to Santa

38. Hang Mistletoe

39. Watch White Christmas

40. Go Ice Skating

41. Find a Fun Way to Display Christmas Cards

42. Give Gifts to Your Neighbors

43. Make a DIY Gift for Someone

44. Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

45. Cuddle by the Fire

46. Read the Nativity Story from the Bible (Luke 2 & Matthew 1)

47. Do a Random Act of Kindness

48. Watch or Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas

49. Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony

50. Watch or read A Christmas Carol

51. Make Sugar Plums

52. Send a Care Package to Someone in the Military

53. Watch Miracle on 34th Street

54. Roast Marshmallows

55. Donate to a Toy Drive

56. Go Christmas Caroling (find carol lyrics here)

57. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas

58. Thank a Mail Carrier

59. Hang Stockings

60. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter

61. Watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

62. Make Mason Jar Snow Globes

63. Attend a Holiday Party

64. Attend or Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange

65.  Make a Christmas Centerpiece

66. Create an Advent Wreath

67. Watch Christmas Chronicles 

68. Attend Christmas Mass or Church Service

70. Research and Share How Other Countries Celebrate Christmas

71. Make Fudge

72. Watch Jingle All the Way

73. Cut or Choose a Christmas Tree

74. Make Your Own Gift Wrap (kraft paper & paint)

75. Decorate Your Porch for Christmas

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Struggling to Get Organized for the Holidays?

Then you need my Printable Christmas Planner! 25 Pages of Organizational pages. Track your budget. Create a Black Friday Wishlist. Use the Online Order Tracker to make sure all your gifts arrive. Save recipes. Keep all our travel info on one page. And more!