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Entries in christmas (12)


Demagogue On The Shelf


Demagoguery. That's what I think of this whole Elf On The Shelf charade. It's fear mongering. 

I'm a little late to the game but my son was too young for it last year. We decided to play this year and ours arrived yesterday.

The idea is for this little snitch elf that you give a name - ours is Dino - to act as Santa's tattle tale. You place him in random locations in your home and tell your children that he comes back every morning after snitching their behavior to Santa Clause.  

The hiding part is fun but pretending that Dino is watching out for bad behavior, in my opinion, reinforces bad behavior. We use Positive Discipline in our home so constantly pointing out bad behavior that the elf would have to report was bringing more focus on bad behavior. 

I also don't like having to threaten my child with something I'm not really willing to follow through with. 

Oh if you don't get your coat on Dino will have to tell Santa and Santa won't bring your presents!

You better eat your breakfast or Dino will tell Santa! 

Now really, am I going to withhold presents on Christmas Day because of this? No.  

This feels so manipulative. 

We went along with it for about two hours. By midmorning I told my husband Clayton that I was not down with this. He agreed that it felt odd to be using such threatening language with our son in a way we usually do not. And in his words: 

"Does it teach him that he doesn't need to be good the rest of the year? Won't he think, 'Well the Elf is gone so I can be a little shithead'?" 

You may be thinking, "Oh knock it off, it's just a game." Perhaps. But if I follow through with the game then I'll have to parent with negative reenforcement which is not my style.  

We decided to ease up on the threatening-to-tattle-to-Santa part and instead pretend that Dino is a friendly Christmas visitor who likes to tell Santa how much our children have grown and changed in the last year. Besides, my two year-old is scared enough of Santa Clause -  no need to give him another reason to dislike the dude if he thinks that he sends creepy little elves to spy on him! 


Happy Holidays from the MommyBeta Families!

No matter what you celebrate, the MommyBetas are wishing you happiness, health and love in the coming year!





Celebrating Chrismukkah


We're celebrating Chrismukkkah this year. My husband and I celebrate Hanukkah with his family and Christmas with my family. We’ll continue to honor traditions from both holidays. And when Reese is older we’ll explain the significance of each.  

For now, here is my attempt at combining traditions from the two holidays.  

The Tree: In stead of having a red, gold and green Christmas tree (like I've done in the past) or a "Hanukkah Bush," I decorated our tree with royal blue and silver ornaments - Hanukkah colors. 

Wrapping: I wrapped gifts in blue and silver Hanukkah paper and also found some blue and silver Christmas paper. To make sure Santa was still included, I found some fun silver wrapping paper with Santa's face all over at Target. Man I love that place! 

Stockings: I was going to go with blue stockings but I wanted to keep our set from last year. They are red, green and white and they have our names embroidered on.

Menorah: We decided to go with a simple and modern menorah. We'll be lighting one candle for each night of Hanukkah, progressing to eight on the final night. 

Books: Reese is a huge fan of lift-the-flap books. We have Where is Baby’s Christmas Present? and Where is Baby’s Driedel? She loves flipping the flaps on each page looking for what ever it is she should be looking for.

Dreidel: I found a large wooden dreidel at Target. I know Reese is going to love playing with it!  This will be Reese’s first gift of Hanukkah.

Opening Gifts: We will be exchanging Hanukkah gifts, one every night of Hanukkah. These are all small gifts and on the last day we'll exchange our main gift. We'll open most of our Christmas gifts on Christmas morning… maybe a couple on Christmas eve.

Santa Clause: Of course we can't forget good ol Saint Nick! We took Reese to visit Santa and well you can see for yourself that she's not quite a fan yet.  

Food: My favorite part of the holidays -- cooking and eating! This year I'm hosting Christmas Day dinner. Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy and some type of dessert. I've never cooked a turkey so wish me luck! And if you have any easy and good recipes, please send'um my way! 

Then the following day we're going to celebrate a Hanukkah dinner at a friend's house. She's making brisket and latkes (aka Potato Pancakes - YUM!). 

So that's how I'm combining the two holidays. I wonder when Reese will be old enough to understand that our family celebrates two holidays and not just one. I hope I don't confuse the gal! If you celebrate Chrismukkah how do you incorporate traditions from both?



Homemade Stocking Stuffers


I'm no Nathalee, but I did a little homemade Christmas project myself this year. I made play dough to put in Baby Mo's stocking stuffers. Look at these!  

This wasn't a very hard or time consuming project but I do not really enjoy crafts very much so I was proud of myself. I used this recipe with some gel-based food coloring and packed my concoctions in glass jars I found at Target.

I know store-bought Play-Doh is supposed to be non-toxic - and it probably is - but I still like the idea of homemade gifts that we can all enjoy. I just hope the dough isn't hard as a rock in a few days! 

My husband gave me a little talking-to recently about over buying for Baby Mo. Sound familiar? I had to clamp down on buying toys to put under our tree no matter HOW good of a deal they were or intellectually stimulating the toys may be. But home made play dough for the stockings? Now how could he object to that?  

What are the homemade goodies that you put for your little one under the tree or hanging in a stocking this holiday season? 


Homemade Christmas Ornaments


Last year, I made adorable handprint ornaments for all of Nic’s grandparents, God parents, aunts and uncles. They were a big hit. So this year, when I got an email from Factory Direct Craft offering tips on Christmas projects, I jumped right on their suggestion to make personalized, filled ornaments.

Factory Direct Craft graciously sent me the craft supplies to make these lovely ornaments, and below I’ll go through their construction, step by step.

What you need: 

Step #1: Print Photos

Select two cute holiday-appropriate photos. You’ll need one for each side of the ornament.  I used Picnik to add some text to one of my photos.

Step #2: Trace and Cut

Using one half of the ornament as your guide, trace a circle on to each picture maximizing what you want visible. Cut out these circles.

Use double-sided tape to stick each set of images together.  Make sure they are lined up correctly (both heads are pointing the same direction for instance).

Step #3: Decorate Photos

One of my photos couldn’t be cropped in a way that would avoid showing half of my husband.  It looked a little funny, so decided to decoupage over him (he wanted me to!)!  A bit of Mod Podge and some snowflakes did the trick.

Step #4: Fill Ornaments

Open up the ornaments and sprinkle some confetti into each side. (I forgot to do this one about half of mine and am bummed about it.  Don’t forget this cute step!)

This next bit is the only tricky part of the whole project. Fit the double-sided photo neatly inside the “female” side of the snowflake.  It might take a little trimming and some patience, but it actually will slide in there nicely.  Once it’s in place, slide the other side on snuggly.

Step #5: Ribbon

Cut approximately 20 inch sections of ribbon.  Fold the section in half longwise and then again in half widthwise, thread this through the BACK of the loop at the top of the ornament.  Leave a nice sized loop for hanging and then tie a knot at the front of the hanging loop.  Then make a bow.  Tying it this way ensures that the bow stays at the bottom front of the ornament.

Step #6: Decoupaging the Outside

I wanted to give them one final touch, a ring of snowflakes around the outside.  I also figured the Mod Podge should seal the ornaments shut.  Hang the ornaments if you can (I used a laundry drying rack, which worked great).  Do a stripe of Mod Podge along the seam of half of the ornament.  Place a few confetti pieces along the glue.  Repeat on other side. (Doing one side at a time prevents the glue from drying before you get your confetti on). Let hang to dry.  The Mod Podge does dry clear, but try not to goop it on or it will be visible.

I enlisted a bit of help with the snowflakes.


You have cute, inexpensive and personal ornaments for your nearest and dearest.