Monday, November 14, 2011

Ready, Set, Go

You know how there are some moms who are able to do their holiday shopping throughout the year -- buying the perfect gifts as they think of them instead of forgetting all their brilliant ideas, taking advantage of sales instead of flailing around desperate and hasty, stockpiling treats in a secure and secret spot rather than misplacing them? Do you know those moms?

I am not one of those moms, and it's a shame. It's not that I get incredibly stressed out preparing to play Santa Claus. I don't. Desperate and hasty are probably a bit strong for describing me. Our kids have been happy every Christmas morning so far. However, I always end up feeling a bit disappointed in myself, like I could have done better. By better I don't mean grander or more lavish. I mean better as in more creative and surprising.
My ideas and plans for Christmas this year are still foggy, but here are some ideas I'm thinking about ...

For Bub:
Make good on my promise to turn part of a basement storage/furnace room into an art studio. I'd love for him to open the door and see a rug on the floor, the easel he already owns set up with new paints and brushes, a clothes pin art gallery ready and waiting for his creations, a smock, a variety of paper, and one of those 10-packs of blank canvases they sell at Michaels for $14.99. Also, a new bulb in the overhead fixture in there so he can see what he's doing.

For Little Bit:
He's really into the puppet theater in the library's "learning garden." Hubby and I don't have the time or DIY skills to construct a wooden puppet theater, but I think I could rig up something cool with some fabric and a tension rod -- maybe for a doorway or part of the playroom. Or, if I had a giant sturdy cardboard box, I think he'd be just as excited by that. I'd buy a few puppets and also search Pinterest (I know, I know, when will I stop mentioning Pinterest? Never.) for some directions on making your own paper bag or sock puppets.

For Sweet P:
Sweet P is flat-out obsessed with babies. Each night before she goes to bed, she has me tucking in three battered and semi-naked Cabbage Patch dolls (two of mine, one of her dads), her dad's "Baby Troy," a stuffed Elmo, and a Barbie-sized Princess Leia. She is constantly bringing me various babies to be swaddled. We've made some makeshift beds out of cardboard boxes, and she gets a real kick out of taking the babies in and out of the beds. For her, I'd love to create a miniature day care center -- a corner of the playroom or basement that has some baby beds or little pack n' plays, car seats, high chairs, strollers, etc. I've seen all this baby doll stuff at toy stores, and I imagine I could improvise as well. I think she could spend hours moving the babies from one spot to the next, especially if any of these baby doll items have straps to latch and unlatch. Actually, if I can't get the child care center set up, I'm just going to find a used infant carseat (we gave ours away when I could no longer carry it and Sweet P at the same time) so she could spend her days buckling and unbuckling it.
Speaking of babies, anyone have a source for inexpensive clothes to fit Cabbage Patch dolls?

For all three:
They all love singing and dancing, and I think they'd get a kick out of a dance area with a spot light. Our CDs and digital music are pretty disorganized right now. If we get our act together in that department, we could create an atmosphere more conducive to dance parties.
Okay, I've got to end this post and get to work on these ideas ASAP. I probably should have started months and months ago.
And, just warning you, I feel like I have more semi-creative Christmas ideas percolating. Stay tuned.
Any creative surprises in mind for the kids in your life? Please share in the comments.


Heather said...

Your kids are at such a fun age for a creative Christmas like you've described: DO IT NOW! Otherwise, you will blink your eyes, and the only thing they will want is a Kindle Fire and a new HDTV for the basement.

I LOVED when my kiddos were into imaginative play like this, and we actually did set up a nursery for Isabel. Good luck, and make sure you post some pics!

E... said...

Great ideas!! I am feeling very overwhelmed by the Christmas gift thing right now. I too, have a hard time planning ahead. I've already gotten emails from two sisters in law wanting ideas. Even there, I want to provide thoughtful suggestions, rather than the top five things N. has ripped out of the Target catalog and will be left behind by January 15th. However, I also struggle with getting them what they actually want, not what I think they should want. I'm starting to get a little panicky, and that usually means I start spending too much money. Thanks for heading me down a different road!

I have already assigned J. the job of transforming an old bookshelf (the three shelf kind from KMart I used to have in my classroom) into a dress up closet for N.
I really want to move my old desk into O.'s room and make it be his own project/drawing space, but can't quite get my own junk cleared off of it to do so.
I have no ideas for poor L. Maybe a giant cardboard box for him to load and unload -- just throw different junk into it everyday?
So, will you say Santa did these things, or take some credit?
N. uses my old baby clothes that my mom kept for her dolls. She doesn't care that they are often too big. Do you have any of Sweet P's tiny stuff left?

The Cooler Lenko said...

Preemie sized clothing fits Cabbage Patch kids well. You can usually find it for next to nothing in the clearance racks at Marshalls or TJ Maax.

Target also has a really inexpensive doll care set (or at least they did about 18 months ago) that came with a pack and play, little car seat (with straps to buckle), a portable high chair, changing pad and a couple of other little things. Jamie still plays with all of them. I try not to worry that she has named my old Cabbage Patch "Psycha" and has declared that she's part of the "mean team."

Tricia said...

Ummmmm... I am that mom. I shop all year, keep things in a gift closet, hide things in the basement, organize it all on a spreadsheet, etc. I know, I know.

I just finished my Christmas shopping last week. I LOVE that the pressure is off and I can now enjoy the holidays. Luckily my kids are young and still want "easy" things. Toys. I just blogged about all of that here:

Our Santa gift this year will be a play kitchen for all 3 kids along with pots, pans, food, etc. Right now we play tea set EVERY night so I'm looking forward to some more menu options! HA!

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