Parenting Tip: Keeping Your Kids Busy This Month

As Christmas approaches the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. That means your kids will be inside a lot more, and with extra excitement as well due to the holiday season. Certainly it is a wonderful thing to see your kids excited for Advent and Christmas, but parents have a lot of things to accomplish around this time of year. Having your kids inside with tons of stored up energy is not totally ideal. Keeping your kids busy with small activities might be the best way to ensure that you still have some time alone to accomplish what you need to.

A recent post on The Mommy Mess talked about 25 Christmas Activities for Kids. A lot of these activities would be great solutions for your children’s excitement this month.

Giving Presence This Year for Christmas Might Mean the Most

Finding the right toys, electronics, sports gear, or other gifts may not be your strong suit come Christmas time. The holiday itself has become so commercialized and bogged down from its true meaning. I know I’m not the first person to realize this, but I still like to remind people of it. Everybody was just so caught up in Black Friday and Cyber Monday a few days ago, and it made me think about what I should get for family members this year. In some cases I feel like it might just be nice to spend more quality time with some of them.

I was given this idea by a post on Playground Dad about giving gifts of presence not presents. This post was titled so well, and it made me realize that some of my family members might appreciate the “presence” more than some “presents”. The post also gave some ideas about how to give “presence” as a gift that can be spread out over a year.

How would you feel about receiving some “presence” for Christmas this year from a family member?

Parenting Tip: How to Save Money During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here again, and for many families out there it can be a struggle. The commercialized monster that Christmas has become presents a big issue for parents who have difficulties making ends meet. Let’s not forget what Christmas is really about this year, and remember that a thoughtful gift is the best gift. It might not be the easiest to convey that message to your children, but it is a lost concept that I think should be ingrained into society more.

I recently read a post on JBM Thinks titled, “Money Saving Holiday Tips for Parents”. The article might be able to give you some good ideas about how to make it all come together this holiday season!

What methods do you use at home to save money around this time of year?

The Kids’ Table: A Holiday Tradition

With the holidays approaching quickly now I am sure you or a family member is getting prepared to have everybody over to celebrate either Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. I read a post recently on Parenting Magazine’s site titled, “Do You Believe in the Kids’ Table?” and it made me think about the dynamic of a kids’ table. I remembered back to when I was a child and honestly the best part of holidays was sitting at the kids’ table.

I don’t believe that it is shunning children to put them at their own table. In fact, I think that kids like to feel special and have their own designated spot. Adults will want to talk about certain topics at holiday dinner table and children will want to do their own thing. I have fond memories of the kids’ table from when I grew up and I think it is a great tradition to have during holiday meals.

Does your family have a kids’ table?

A Priest’s Christmas Wish: Go To Confession During Advent

I recently heard about a story that made me stop and think this world might be alright after all. A local priest from a small parish of about 300 families made a tremendous impact. Typically the priest would receive small gifts from members of the parish during the Christmas season, but made clear he did not want any of those things that year. The priest said that instead of the normal gifts he wanted everybody in the parish to go to confession during Advent. He made more times available for confession and also brought in visiting priests to help him, and the parish responded! He kept track of penitents who hadn’t been to confession in over twenty years, and the number was over 200 people!

I thought that this story, which I read initially on Fr. Z’s blog What Does the Prayer Really Say?, was a true inspiration. Imagine if this happened in more parishes across the country?

Black Friday Shopping: How to Prepare for the Madness

With the Christmas season fast approaching many parents will be on the lookout to score good deals on gifts for their family and friends. This can be a hectic and crazy time to shop but many parents will still choose to go out on Black Friday. If you are an avid Black Friday shopper check out this posted titled, “Preparing for Black Friday”, from Shopaholic Mommy. The post gives a list of things to help you get ready for the big day.

Do you prefer shopping for Christmas gifts on Black Friday or just getting them all online?

“Joy and Hope and Happy Christmas Memories”

Bishop Kevin Farrell has written a lovely piece entitled “Joy and Hope and Happy Christmas Memories”  which reminds us of the happiness Christmas is capable of bringing, and of our happy childhood Christmas memories.  He opening paragraph reads,

Most of our Christmas memories come from our youth, probably because so many of them are centered on family. Midnight Mass, Christmas dinner, aunts and uncles and cousins, grandma’s favorite dish lovingly prepared and shared every year. For most of us our childhood was a time of unbridled joy, uncomplicated by the mysteries of adolescence or the responsibilities of adulthood.

Farrell’s article is intelligent and insightful; just reading it evokes pleasant childhood memories of Christmas and a sense of hope.

The entire article can be found here, and thanks again Bishop Farrell for sharing!

Loving the Madness at Christmastime

Sick of the Christmas music yet?  Annoyed by the crowds, the commercials, the lawn ornaments? Can’t wait for it all to be over?  Well, with two days left to go we found this article on ChristandPopCulture.com entitled “Why I Hate The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”  that takes a whole new perspective on dealing with Christmas, and finding the beauty of the holiday despite the often materialistic (and even sometimes secular) modern celebrations.

If you’re feeling a bit daunted by all of the Christmas madness, give this article a read.

5 Days Left!

Five days left till Christmas? But there’s so much left to do!  Uh-oh.  Well, don’t worry, we have solutions to all your Christmas quandaries.

Didn’t get those Christmas cards out in time? That’s ok, try an animated online one instead!  It’s free, and instantaneous, so that you have right up until December 25th to send it!  We love www.123greetings.com, but there are tons of sites out there.

Absolutely stumped over what to buy a loved one as a gift?  Well, online shipping let’s you order at your convenience, and almost all sites offer expedited shipping (and right now, time is of the essence!).  Jewelry is always a popular gift, and a meaningful aspect, like religious-themed jewelry or jewelry in their favorite color for instance, will add sentimental value.

Need a recipe for that Christmas party this week?  The wonderful contributors over at Faith & Family live have excellent and easy suggestions for cooking and baking, many of which are simple and quick.

Five days left, what are you waiting for?!

Christmas Trivia!

So you’ve got the basics of Christmas down–birth of Jesus, tree, presents, Santa and his reindeer…easy stuff.  But what about–the first year that Christmas lights were used?  Or which famous hotel magnate was also born on Christmas Day?  Well luckily, we at mycatholicblog love all things Christmas, so we are happy to present some of our favorite Christmas trivia:

Well, first of all, Christmas lights were first used in 1895, the idea pioneered by American Ralph E. Morris.

Conrad Hilton was the famous hotel magnate born on December 25, 1887.  Others born on Christmas Day include Sir Isaac Newton, Clara Barton, and Humphrey Bogart.

The first Christmas card was created in England on December 9, 1842.  Hallmark first introduced their Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the company was founded.  Today, more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States alone.

In 1907, Oklahoma became the first state to declare Christmas a favorite holiday.

And finally, did you know that, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year?  For every real Christmas tree harvested, 2-3 seeds are planted in its place.

More facts about Christmas can be found here, and of course, feel free to share any other interesting Christmas facts with us!