B’s 2013 Christmas Tree Activity Tree ready to be adorned with the paper ornaments for daily activities


Because we came back from Thanksgiving Sunday night

And because the Mister works such long hours

And because I have a huge paper due (which made me want to clean out my garage)

And because schooling doesn’t stop ’round these parts for a whole lot…

I have finally compiled our Christmas 2013 Bucket List!

Better later than never!

In the interim, we have already done a few of these things, and will probably not do them all, but will try our hardest to work on the ones that make us the most joy filled and excited (like little kiddos on Christmas ‘morn)!

My most favorite that we’ve worked on off this list (attached at the bottom of this blog post)?

Working on our traditional Time Capsule Ornaments. We began these a few years ago (2010) to be exact and have created a new one each year. The ornament is EASY.

1. Purchase clear glass ornaments. 

2. Cut out strips of paper in whichever color you prefer (we stick with red and green, mostly).

3. Have your kiddos write down stuff they enjoyed from the year, it could be hobbies, activities, sports, trips, etc etc. 

4. Don’t forget to add a strip with the year OR you can attach the year to the outside of the ornament off the string or yarn or ribbon.

PS> I did not come up with this myself. I found this somewhere and have done it since. 

Another beloved yearly tradition?

Our Christmas Tree Activity Tree. I also began this a few years ago. B paints a large tree on butcher paper or white easel paper. We affix small paper “ornaments” that he has used watercolors to paint. On the backs of said ornaments? An activity for the days counting down to Christmas. So each day we pull off an activity and do that one.

A Secret.

I used to gently nudge The Boy into picking the activity I was ready to do that day or able to. I try to put things on there that are easy peasy but some involve trips or more planning so those I keep on certain parts of the tree or make with a dot or SOMETHING. This year I finally confessed and told B I’ve guided him on certain days. Though he was disappointed (he thought everyday was a surprise for us both) he understood the logic of it. 


rolling out the gingerbread dough to make gingerbread men (b especially loved this dough because we made half of it into regular cookies which were so soft and chewy he was beside himself, plus the stuff doesn’t have egg in it so he could eat it raw).


We’ve already watched a few beloved Christmas movies, drank TOO much hot cocoa, and have baked up cookies to enjoy together. Regardless of the business of the last few days fitting everything in, organizing like a mad woman, and schooling (for the both of us), it’s been a great kick off to the Christmas season. 

I am so thankful, most of all, for the birth of baby Jesus so many years ago. I am so thankful that in the busyness of it all, he’s the reason for all the celebratin’ and fussin’ and JOY! 

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s going to be a grand one!

Christmas 2013 Bucket LIst/Christmas Activity Tree


Places to Visit


*Busch Gardens Winter thinga ma jing. Christmastown

*Dominion Gardenfest of Lights

*Bethlehem Walk

*Richmond Science Museum: Train Display




Things to Make


*Make homemade ornaments:

  1. Time capsule traditional ornament 
  2. fingerprint snowman with db, bb, and little ol’ me
  3. beaded twig ornament :
  4. Pipe cleaner snowflakes:
  5. Ornaments with Shrinky Dinks
  6. Salt dough ornaments!

*Make handprint snowmen cards for thank you cards

*Make a mini winter terrarium:

*Paint the annual Christmas Activity Tree

*Make friends a homemade gift: neft dart poppers/sling/goodie to eat

*Attempt 3-D snowflakes (and if so make a garland for the kitchen with them)

*Decorate the front windows with homemade snowflakes:

*Write Santa 

*Make a Lighted Wooden Star : The Artful Parent

*Make peppermint sparkly playdough

*Make snowmen in a jar : The Artful Parent

*Make styrofoam print Christmas Cards for friends: The Artful Parent






Things to Bake/Cook


* Make Monster Cookie Dough Bites for friends:

  • Make Santa Hat Party Mix for friends and family :
  • Make homemade gingerbread men
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Popcorn balls!
  • Make the traditional mouse cookies for Santa
  • Make candy cane lollipos : The Artful Parent


Things to See/Do


*Go Ice Skating!

*Go Snow Tubing!

*Go Sledding!

*Watch a live Christmas Play: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

*Put on a family play (Santa’s Stuck) with the cousins

*Watch a Polar Express, make homemade cocoa and cookies, and then read the story together

*Decorate the Christmas Tree

*String up lights outside 

*Visit Santa at the York Galleria Mall

*Campout in the living room watching Christmas movies and eating bad for you snacks and drinking too much cocoa or hot apple cider

  • Have a Christmas Themed Scavenger Hunt
  • Go for a nightwalk around the neighborhood to look at lights
  • Play “I’m from the planet Zorg”
  • Have a game night 

*Have an indoor snowball fight… with socks, of course!

*Make marshmallow and toothpick sculptures (while eating them, of course)

*Play Simon Says Drawings : The Artful Parent

*Be a Secret Santa for someone you love

*Read Christmas stories under the tree

*Decorate wrapping paper (I’m thinking bubble wrap printing with Christmas colors)

*Make snack for Santa’s reindeer

*Check out the hollywood costumes at the VMFA

*Check out a Christmas Parade : Broad Street December 7th at 10am

*Check out the Henrico Theater for Singing and Dancing and Watching ELF $1


watching yet another Christmas movie: note, Dad’s not home as B is all snuggled up in his chair.