Christmas in July

If Hobby Lobby can have Christmas decorations up in their store in the middle of July, then I can write a Christmas post.

We will call it “Christmas in July”.

I just have 3 random categories of thoughts about Christmas and I decided to share them all in one post.  Hang on!

TWO GIFT IDEAS

Last Christmas I wrote about how I was worried my kids would be very disappointed Christmas morning because Santa was not going bring them the iPods they wanted.  You can read the full rant here.  A few weeks after Christmas one of my friends emailed me and said she was waiting for the follow up post. I didn’t realize I kept her hanging.  So here is the brief update 6 months later:

To cut to the chase my kids were NOT disappointed Christmas morning.  Crew couldn’t have been happier with his Nike attire and the girls loved their dolls.

They have survived just fine without their own iPods. I, however, was a little disappointed in myself.  I overbought to over compensate for my insecurities.

But the main point of this section is that I wanted to share with you two huge gift successes. What I bought instead of the iPods — one gift idea for a boy and one gift idea for a girl — because I know you are already thinking about what to get for Christmas.

For a Boy

Santa originally brought the Grow to Pro basketball hoop from Fisher Price for my younger son, Locke.  The hoop can go anywhere from 3 to 6 feet high and the base is weighted with sand or water so it doesn’t tip easily.   The company recommends ages 1-5, but Crew (who is 8) has taken the hoop over and loved it. We even moved the hoop inside during the dreadful winter months.  It gave him something to do when he couldn’t go outside weeks on end.

This summer Crew and his buddies have been using the hoop to make “amazing” shots.  They spend hours shooting and video taping all kinds of crazy shots– off the house, from the tramp, out a window, etc.  Here is a YouTube video they put together of one of the days.  Crew would love for you to watch the video since he checks every day how many views it has had.

So I am telling you this basketball hoop works for all ages. If I had only known in December that the hoop was going to be so well used …

For a Girl

As I was stressing over my girls’ gifts last year, my friend told me about My Salon Dolls.

They are like American Girl dolls except they have real hair (like mannequins at hair colleges) and the dolls can get wet.  This means the girls can wash their dolls’ hair and take them in the bath or swimming pool.  And the best part is that the hair actually looks nice after getting played with.  The dolls are pretty, wear the typical 18 inch clothes, and even have their ears pierced.

These dolls are the perfect gift for that girl that may seem a bit old for dolls but actually still loves them.  My Salon Dolls takes it from just playing with dolls to actually learning a skill with their dolls. Because you can really do their hair, it doesn’t seem as babyish and the preteens love it.  The company also sells mini hair appliances like curling irons, blow dryers, krimpers, etc. Elle has spent hours curling, crimping, braiding, washing and styling her doll’s hair.

Croft (age 6) has seemed a bit young to fully enjoy the “hair” part of this doll.  She would have been fine with a Target knock off.  Although, I have loved watching Elle and Croft play together with their dolls.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF NEIGHBORHOOD CHRISTMAS PARTY

Luckily, we moved into a neighborhood that had set up a wonderful Christmas tradition.  In leiu of neighbor gifts, they donate to a local homeless shelter.

To collect the donations and still make the experience festive, we held an outdoor neighborhood party in our cul-de-sac. We served hot chocolate and the neighbors brought treats to share.  Everyone came and dropped of their donations at my house, and then they talked and mingled and stayed as long or as little as they liked. Santa was there for the kids and there were fire pits to keep warm.

We got so many awesome donations.

One lady made several hygiene kits to give to the shelter.

Someone bought a box of new stuffed animals.

Others made blankets or donated gently used coats and clothes.

There was toilet paper and tampons and diapers.

Then the Saturday after the party, we filled up 4 SUVs with clothes, toileteries, blankets, coats and toys and headed to the local family homeless shelter.

 

We had the kids helps with the loading and dropping off.

After we dropped off the donations, we let the kids go peek at what the shelter looked like to put life in perspective.  The family shelter had just rows and rows of cots.  Playpens and strollers were set up next to some.  People were getting dressed out in the open.

I saw one kid who looked so sick and I thought about how sickness must spread rapidly through there. No privacy.  No where to go if your baby is crying in the night.  No where to play.

I teared up on the way home thinking about how blessed we are.

If you want to start this tradition in your neighborhood, here is what you need to get started:

What you need:

place to have the party – a cul-de-sac works great

fire pits to keep warm

wood

Santa

tables for treats

hot chocolate

publicity- flyers, email, word of mouth

tarps (to lay all the donations on)

a local charity to give to

Isn’t this different kind of neighborhood Christmas party way better than worrying about what to do for neighbors or several plates of uneaten goodies or wasted money on trinkets and more stuff that no one really needs?

I hope our neighborhood does it again this year.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2012 CHRISTMAS SEASON

Since this blog is a bit of my journal, I wanted to record many of the highlights of the Erickson 2012 Christmas Season and just a few of the lowlights.  And my theory is “It’s better late than never.”

Highlights:

Elle finding out the truth about Santa.  Then her shopping and paying for  her Secret Santa gift for a friend.  In the end she was fine with it all and was so gracious with us Christmas morning.  Not hiding Santa’s identify anymore actually made the morning more enjoyable.  To find out how we told her about Santa, you can read this post.  I think we will be having this same talk with Crew this year.

Croft decorating the kid tree all by herself.  She was like “Move over mom, I got this.” She is such a capable, smart, logical little girl.

Watching the kids shop for each other and exchange sibling gifts using their own money.  I learned Crew is a spender.  He ended up getting Croft 3 things at the dollar store when everyone else bought just one.

Instead of neighbor gifts, we did a drive for the local homeless shelter.  We took the kids when we dropped off the donations. They got to peak inside and it was very humbling.  We hope to participate again next year.

Locke excited to find our elf every morning.  He would run in our bedroom so excited and tell us where Elwood was located.  Or he would scream in anger if he couldn’t find him.  You should know our elf is not crazy or mischeivious; he just sits around and politely watches us. You can read more about our elf here.

Grandmas taking kids so Chad and I could prepare.  If you are a grandma, read about the best Christmas present ever you can give your kids.

Snow! A white Christmas.

Crew’s face when he opened his BYU jersey from my mom.   That kid likes to play it cool and not show too much excitement about anything, but he couldn’t contain his joy on this one.  His face lit up like I have rarely seen and I actually teared up.

Lowlights:

Sickness running through our home.  Parties missed.  Plans changed.  Things left undone. SARS masks on Christmas Eve. (a pic off of my brother’s instagram with a photobomb by Locke)

 

Overbuying.  I didn’t trust my gut and panicked and bought too much stuff for Christmas morning. When will I learn?!?!

Didn’t take enough pictures … again.

But overall, we were blessed for Christmas 2012.

That wraps up my “Christmas in July” post.  I just wanted to get a few of these ideas out there and officially recorded.  Now go enjoy the rest of your summer and don’t even think about Christmas for at least a few more weeks 🙂

 

 

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