Wow imagine it's that time again, jingle bells playing even in your mind music and glitter on everything even your chin I guess it's Christmas. Well I'm one Black woman who has never been a lover of this time of year but when you got kids there is a party line even us scrooges have to play and mine is with miles of smiles and no frills fun, got to love me lol!
First things first imma let you know I was a nursery nurse in a former life so my craft ideas are off the chain...for real I'm a 'make it from scratch' connoisseur and this time of year we have to start with something to fill or hang on the tree. The Christmas stocking is a necessity for keeping kids busy on Christmas morning when us adults still want to be in our beds.
I am working with 7 and under and so the stockings are bought and decorated to our stylee! With older children I have done cloth, cutting and stitching, this too can be fun but stick to a simple running stitch or cross stitch, but depending on the size of the material, your boot may end up misshaped, or small.
Once the stocking is bought or made the real work begins. I'm a little extra and ask the kids to draw their design first. The Theme this year, who am I? I find a theme creates discussion, encourages imagination, exploration and creativity, whilst keeping them engaged and excited. Who am I, also helps me to reconnect with each of them and understand how they are feeling about themselves, what makes them feel strong or weak, why they like blue instead of yellow or even what they understand about a particular situation.
Once the paper version is complete they then recreate it onto the stockings with the smorgasbord of tissue paper, glitter, shiny shapes, cotton wool balls and any old tat I lovingly cut, stamped, pulled and rouged for them to create their masterpieces. This is messy so be prepared for glue disasters any glitter showers and "he got it on mine" or "she's using all of the"... this is where I catch myself smiling and wanting to lol but not wanting to break the free flowing energy being shared between #cousins.
Whether they can write words or not encourage the kids to write or draw a picture for their stocking filler person, for some of you that's Santa, for others that's parents, whoever it is in real life you will get such a heartfelt moment when you open their little card to you. This is where I grab my Christmas cheer, not in the gift giving or even the dinner but in the laughter and gratitude that kids on the run up to the 25th are filled with!
Stocking hanging or leaning, once they are asleep get to filling. I love to do a small chocolate and a mini bag of sweets, its Christmas after all. I also add a few small wrapped items usually toys. Something to draw with and on is a must to allow them to fill their time whilst the sugar fills their pre-breakfast tummy's. Following this is "Mummy when are you getting up", "can we open our presents" or "IT's CHRISTMAS" shouted at the top of their lungs whilst they jump up and down on my bed.
What else is there, Christmas ornaments, biscuits and gingerbread houses. I have a great Black house made of kit-kats for the wood, smarties for the slate roof and pebbled entrance, white icing for your cement and whipped spray cream to create the shape of the roof and smoke coming from the chimney. Can you see it?, i mean not literally in your head silly lol. Well image the American style gingerbread house and follow the design but black it up, we just don't like gingerbread in our house.
What we do love is a real Christmas tree, the big beautiful fresh green branches coming together thick like my thighs lol, dressed to the nines in minimalistic yet personal decor. To add our own spin to the tree we make an evening of fun for all. This Night involves choosing a Christmas movie and making a batch of Christmas cookies but the 'piece de resistance' is an easy to make and seriously cute, wooden lolly stick star. This is a no effort, pound shop job that comes off like you went to a high end store for your decs, make one yourself!
What you need:
A strong wood glue, ADULT USE ONLY
5 lolly sticks per star
Washable yellow (kid friendly) paint or whatever colour suits your colour scheme (mine are silver, black and red).
Aprons and surface covering as required
Paint brushes (ideally one each saves or arguments).
PVA glue and glue spreaders
Ribbon to match your paint colours
What ever you want to decorate it with, we use things that bounce off the light, sparkle and shimmer
What you do:
Adults glue all of the lolly sticks together in the star formation and in the top join, glue between the sticks your loop of ribbon (for the star to hang from). This requires a strong wood glue that is NOT suitable for kids. Now let completely dry.
Let the kids paint the stars. Whilst they dry, we do a quick hand wash, everyone in the kitchen to make Christmas cookies.
Cookies in the oven, stars now dry, time for the decoration to be stylised by its owner.
Put each item in separate pots or tubs easy for the kids to pick up and bring closer to them (less mess you hope) and easy for you to refill.
When they have finished send them to wash their hands. You make sure all glue is covered and then shake off any excess items. Allow to dry , whilst you start the Christmas movie and share out the warm Christmas cookies. When the movie is finished, hand each child their decoration and help them to hang them on the tree branch of their choice and, VOILA!
Like I said in the beginning I am a Black girl who don't like Christmas, so if i can pull these simple but fun ideas off so can you and auntie and grandma, drag everyone along for the ride lol! This is something we do as a family so there are several adults and many many kids, but it's so much fun. A time filled with chat, laughter and a sense of pride not just for the kids but also for the adults. When everyone gets home and send their pics of the stars on their Christmas tree whilst we chow down on the remaining misshaped slightly over or under cooked cookies we smile feeling good about a job well done. Let us know how you get on!