Favorite Tradition (kids)

The other day a friend told me she asked her Sunday School kids what their favorite Christmas tradition was.  With one of my kids in her class I was worried about the answer and curious too.  But, she could not remember his reply.  So I asked at the table a few days later and I was surprised, but not embarrassed (you never know what to expect sometimes).

It started that 2 of my 4 gave the same answer, then another changed to the same one too.  I should have been able to guess, my kids have been asking me when we are doing it just about every day this month.

What is it?

Christmas Store!!

We started this a few years ago.  It began out a bit of frustration, a good idea borrowed, and the simplicity!

In the past, we would take each child out to “shop” for the siblings.  They simply LOVE to exchange with each other – the giving part just delights them!!  But standing in Walmart while your 7, 8 or 5 year old “shops” is a pure beating.  You know the store is a mad house, it is just before Christmas and everyone in the world is shopping too.  And that poor child is looking for the siblings, but dreaming about their own desires.  Torture!!!

So, I think I saw this somewhere (cannot remember where) and I loved it.  I loved that I can regulate the “junk-i-ness” a bit, I can be frugal and shop year round, and I can approve everything chosen.

I shop for a few items fore each child.  I try to get 4 or 5 so most of them get to “choose.”  I sometimes shop all year, sometimes cram the week before.  Either way, I can pick things I know they will like and this year, before my shopping day in DFW, I asked J what he wanted to give and he mentioned 3D puzzles.  So, I picked up 2 – one for E and one for P.  J was thrilled with my choices, but not overwhelmed like he would be in the store.

The kids DELIGHT in coming in my room, one at a time, and shopping for the other 3 siblings.  I change my stock as the kids change.  I hide the gifts for them, and sometimes I hide a few others too, just to keep the from sharing too much.

This year, we did the store in the morning, this afternoon we wrapped.  Can I tell you how much fun it is to watch your four kids be so excited about gifts for each other, and watching them pick out and wrap it all themselves?  Loved it!

Normally I do charge them, to keep them appreciating it and feeling it is of value.  But, we have not been too good on the allowance thing (long story, but chickens were very hungry more than once….) so this year it was free.  Normally, I charge 1-2$ per gift, no matter what I spend.  Keeps it fair for them, and not a complete loss for me.  I want them to shop with their money, in the past we offer bonus chores in December to earn some money, but this year the time flew by too fast.

Finally, I wanted to share what is in my crockpot as I type and I cannot wait for a cup tonight, and tomorrow and for the next few days.  We love this “tea” – it is great warm, great cold and pretty good spiked too (if you are into that).  I made a batch this afternoon so I can savor a bit and share when my in-laws arrive tomorrow.


Fruit Tea

What You Need:

2 quarts cranberry juice
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade
3 pieces whole nutmeg
1 (46 ounce) can pineapple juice
2 cups apple juice
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger

What to Do:

Pour all juices in a crockpot or a big pan on the stove top. Add spices in a cheesecloth. Simmer until you are ready to serve.

Great hot or cold.


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