Sunday, December 28, 2008

Children's Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations are far too often beautiful and enticing "don't you dare touch" items for the children. When we began our family, we started some children's traditions. Items that belonged to the children, items they could move and change.

I made this Advent wall hanging the year our daughter was born. She was born in November, so it was a few years before she could appreciate it. Inside each pocket is a Christmas ornament to be placed on the tree. The first ornament is always a star for the top of the tree and the last ornament is always Santa, put on the tree on Christmas Eve.

After our son was born, there was always a little argument over who could put the first ornament on the tree. Very quickly, our son realized that the first person to choose never got to put the Santa on the tree. So he would cleverly pretend that he wanted to go first, then suddenly become gracious and let his older sister put on the star. Sister picked up quickly on this and once again there was a little argument every year.

The Advent calendar has weathered thirty-five years of use, and still looks pretty good, considering the fact that the ornaments were moved on a regular basis.

We purchased a small nativity with clay figurines even before we had children. Always called the "children's nativity," this set has been re-arranged countless times every Christmas. I've always kept the figures wrapped in tissue paper, inside a box with sections in it. The children took turns selecting a slot which contained a figure. When they were small, the biggest decorating excitement came from being the lucky person who picked the Baby Jesus. Throughout the holiday season, the children would move the figures all over the place. You may note that the angel has lost some paint on her wings. She did a lot of flying around, assisted by the children.

Another "kid friendly" nativity is this one.
Our son and daughter tell me they appreciate that we had some decorations specifically for their use. While they knew not to touch some of the items, they also knew that some were for them alone and they could move them as much as they wanted.
Hope you are enjoying the holidays as much as I am. We have had endless days of fog and mist, along with some rain. I can't recall this many consecutive days without sunshine since we moved here. But with family together, the days are bright. Who cares if it comes from outside or within?


Cicero Sings said...

I like the idea of the advent calendar ... with the ornaments in the boxes ... rather than prizes!

Cedar ... said...

I remember as a child having a nativity set that I could move around and re-arrange whenever I wanted to. Great traditions. Always a fond memory. The Advent calendar is neat!

carolr said...

I do love reading your blog; it's pretty and full of fresh ideas about...lots of things! I notice your two goldens. My good friend just purchased a 7 week old one, to be picked up Jan. 1. I may send her your way for ideas and such. It's their first dog.

Karen said...

Yep, we have a Playmobil Nativity set for the boys. Kind of funny listening to them play with it though... one time I heard Mary calling to have a pizza delivered because Joseph was working late again... then there is Super Camel using one of the wise man's cape flying over the desert...

George said...

What a great idea -- decorations for the children to be used by the children. I think your children were very fortunate to grow up in such a home. Thanks for sharing.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Carolyn, I have almost the same Advent calendar. My sister-in-law made it for us MANY years ago. I loved sharing it with the kids when they were little. Putting an ornament on the tree each day let them know how long it was 'til Christmas Day. SO NEAT!!!! (I'll take a picture of mine and send it to you.)

Love your nativity collection also. Those are always the most special of all, aren't they?

Tina said...

I love yur advent calendar and love having traditions that were started when you started your family. Yes you are right, when you have family around all safe and sound... the sun is shining!

Mary said...

Children do need their own way of celebrating with ornaments and tradition. You did well for them, Carolyn! Our daughter had her own very small Christmas tree that she re-decorated to her heart's desire.

Yes, I don't think I've seen the sun for more than two days during the last three weeks. It's dreary, dreary, dreary. Christmas Day was sunny and beautiful! Now we're back to the fog and mist. Sigh...


Jayne said...

I love your nativities Carolyn, and the fact that they've been "loved" makes them even more special.

Kim said...

Love the advent calender. What a creative idea.

Love the nativity scene too. It is so cute.

NCmountainwoman said...

Cicero - I think the ornaments are better as well. Prizes are eaten or lost...the ornaments remain year after year.

Cedar - Having a nativity you can play with makes all the difference.

Carol - Hooray for Goldens! We couldn't be happier with ours.

Karen - Our kids loved Playmobils, but we didn't have anything so sophisticated as a nativity back then. Yes, isn't it funny how they play with them? I once overheard my young son saying, "Hang on, Jesus. We're going for a ride."

George - The children also had an outdoor tree they decorated for the birds.

Betsy - I'm beginning to think we were separated at birth! I was born in Ducktown.

Tina - When I became pregnant with our first born, we told all parents we would no longer visit anyone on Christmas. We needed to set our own traditions.

Mary - Don't you just love those trees with the bottom branches loaded and the top relatively bare? It's sunny here today, so I'll try to send you some sunshine.

Jayne - It's amazing that in spite of the love, they are all intact.

Kallen - Thanks. Hope you are better.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Carolyn: The beauty of Christmas is for the children and the gift that was given to all.