Saturday, December 8, 2012

Katrina's Musings (Niece & Nephew Christmas Party)

Today was our 9th annual Niece and Nephew Christmas Party. Once the children turn 3, this is our gift to them each year instead of traditional presents. In attendance this year: Kylie (13), Emily (12), Ethan (9), and Carissa (7).

This party has involved many different activities and many different themes. This year we decided to stay put in our home, and we went with the theme of "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

So, to do this theme right, we needed a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree". We knew just the place for that. Greg's parents literally live in a pine tree forest. Because of that, they have many little trees growing up all the time. They graciously agreed to let us uproot one of these trees for our party.

Our 2-year-old niece, Allison, was at Grandma and Grandpa's house this morning, so she joined us in our tree hunting expedition (she also serves as a pretty good visual aid as to the size of the trees). 

 In this picture, Allison and I are next to the tree we chose.

Phil, my father-in-law, said he had a pot we could put the tree in instead of cutting it. We thought that sounded like a good idea, so Greg and Phil dug up the tree and potted it. And off it went to our home.

Once the children arrived at our home, I had them go to the "art room" and make paper chains with some decorative paper I had pre-cut for just the occasion. They didn't know what they were making the chains for, but they happily complied with my wishes.

After lunch, we watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas"in the basement, complete with movie concessions for purchase (25 cents each; pop, candy, and popcorn).

My favorite part about the choice of watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is that the true meaning of Christmas (a Savior is born; Christ the Lord) is defined (in a very basic form) within the movie and Scripture is quoted (Luke 2:8-14).

After the movie was over we went back upstairs and revealed our own "Charlie Brown tree" to decorate.

Our tree didn't have quite the spectacular transformation the Charlie Brown gang experienced, but it was definitely a well decorated tree (we used our paper chains, tiny Christmas bulbs, and Kylie even made a star for the top).

Next we decorated a Snoopy gingerbread dog house (I found a kit at WalMart that came complete with little gummy Snoopys).

Ethan is a fan of the "I love frosting" approach to decorating gingerbread.

Emily takes a similar decorating approach (both Ethan and Emily's houses actually collapsed under the weight of the frosting, which meant they could commence with eating, which was fine with them).

Kylie is pretty artistic and likes decorating in general. She takes the planned out approach. She comes up with a plan and executes from start to finish.

Carissa also has a plan. She is very specific about the colors she chooses and the kind of candy she uses to decorate it. She doesn't overdo it, but she doesn't stop until it's just right either.

Now, Uncle Greg, he's slow and methodical in his approach to gingerbread decorating. The engineer in him definitely comes out during this process. And he always produces a fine looking product.

Myself, I'm a fan of simple and colorful (pretty much the approach I take in most arenas of life).

This year, my mom sent along gifts for each of the children. A fan of themes (much like her daughter), my mom got everyone an apron (a very appropriate choice for the "Cookie Baking gang"). They really liked them. You may have noticed, they wore them while we decorated our gingerbread houses.

Another successful Christmas party has come and gone. As usual, a fun time was had by all. Merry Christmas nieces and nephews! We love you all.


  1. So, darling thank God for giving us such blessings.such a nice blessing. loved seeing allison such a cutie.

  2. Hello,
    I am thinking of doing seomthing like this for our neices and nephews (aged from 2 - 7) What did you do for the party when yours were that age?

  3. Claire,
    I've found that keeping the format simple and consistent works the best for all ages. We range in ages now from 3-16, but the following format always works for us. We have lunch together, we decorate a Christmas cookie together (sometimes a cookie from a kit, often I just cut gingerbread cookies in the shape of a house (big), and they decorate those. We usually do a story (we read the Christmas story from the Bible), and we play the dice game. I buy some small prizes and candy, and the kids shake the dice until they get doubles and then they choose a prize. We go until the prizes are gone. We also decorate a paper bag, so that each child has a bag to bring their prizes home in, and it's a fun activity to do.

    I've found that going somewhere for an activity isn't really needed. That's a lot of activity in itself. And all those activities can be adjusted to fit all age groups.


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