Saturday, November 12, 2011

Keep the kids busy at Thanksgiving...

     At most Thanksgiving gatherings, there is plenty for the adults to do.  Cooking, setting the table, watching football, or just catching up with each other.  The kids can probably find plenty to do, too, but if you have a few things prepared to keep them busy, maybe they can stay out of trouble!!

     Coloring placemats are one of my favorite things to use anytime I am making a place setting for children.  They are easy to make, and add an activity to any celebration.  For this holiday, I printed a placemat with 2 sides.  Thanksgiving on the front, and pre-Christmas on the back.  The front has pictures to color, but you could also find word games or puzzles for free online to print out.  The most important part is the box for each person to write what they are thankful for this year.  The back is a Christmas Wish List.  Those Black Friday circulars are full of gift ideas and toy catalogs.  There are spaces for both gifts "To Get" & "To Give."

(made by Events DEE-signed)

     I LOVE this tablecover idea from the  Sweet Paul Blog.  You can get this type of wrapping paper at your local dollar store.   
(from Sweet Paul blog)
     Simply draw the placemats directly on the paper, put out some crayons, and let the kids decorate the entire table cover.  After dinner, you can either cut out each child's artwork for a keepsake or, if the table is a mess, just fold everything up in the paper and throw it all away in one quick sweep.  Then the table is ready for board games, or maybe some after-dinner crafting.

     Always have a couple of board games for indoors, and a couple of outdoor game ideas along with balls, frisbees, etc... in case you are lucky enough to have nice weather.  We still have Thanksgiving in my grandparents 2-bedroom house, even though the family has grown to 20+, so if we can send the kids outside, that's just one more enormous thing to be thankful for!!  The kids' table can be board game central, or they can set up in a spare room on the floor.

     Some kids will want to help in the set-up.  There are plenty of simple napkin folds that a child could master.  You can always find tutorials on YouTube.  This one from Danielle's Place is adorable.
(from Danielle's Place)

     Maybe they could help with a very simple appetizer that requires no cooking. This does the double-duty of keeping the kids busy and the adults from sneaking any turkey while everyone waits!!   Most children can arrange pre-cut vegetables or cheese squares onto a plate.  Another cute idea I found on Pinterest (I LOVE that site!!) is to put fruit pieces on skewers and make this Fruit Gobbler from Family Fun Magazine.  They used a cantaloupe, but I think a small pumpkin would be great.
(from Family Fun Magazine)

            I hope some of these ideas will work for you, or at least get your own imagination flowing!!


Why must the stores be an entire holiday ahead of the calendar?

     Today's post isn't so much creative and inspirational, but a bit of a rant.  I know I am not the only person that hates seeing Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, and also hates knowing that the stores will want me to begin buying my Valentine's Day stuff around Christmas Eve!!

     I understand that items need to be sold before a holiday actually happens so that everyone can prepare, but come on!!  Even when I am prepared, I still like to go out a day before or the day of Halloween and grab a couple of things.  Nowadays, it was already on clearance a week before and gone by then.  (Silver lining to my procrastination, I do get sale prices if I manage to find anything left!!)  Even I have to start talking about holiday parties early so that people can get them on the calendar, but I will not be decorating my house or any of my sites for anything other than the closest holiday coming up.  Each one is special in its own way, and should be given its full time to be appreciated and enjoyed.

     I can force myself to accept the fact that stores may never stop this selling trend, but could they, at the very least, not take down their decorations and put up new ones until the day after a holiday?  This goes for all businesses, and even towns.  Driving down the street in my hometown in the end of October, I looked up to see the Christmas snowflakes already on the poles and lit up.  We are lucky enough to not have any of the snow that some parts of the country are getting right now, and only last week did our Fall colors finally turn to (almost) all brown.  Autumn is my favorite season.  Slow down and let my enjoy it before you start throwing winter in my face and reminding me how many shopping days I have until Christmas!!

     Sorry for the outburst, but I feel a little anxiety relieved.  Let me know how you weigh in on this subject.  Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.  I promise that my next post will have something helpful or fun to try.