Make Your Own Holiday Magic

There’s nothing like the holidays to bring people out of hibernation. Cards and invitations start rolling in, inviting people to gather together for some holiday cheer. But traditions don’t have be lengthy (especially with the attention spans of our small children) or expensive to be festive. Read on for some inspiring ways to celebrate this holiday season!

mainimage-xmas-ship2Christmas Ships
Plan to meet up with family or friends at one of the many beach bonfires around the greater Seattle area during the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival. Nothing is more festive than watching the lighted boat parade approach the beach. The main Christmas Ship has a different choir onboard each night and they perform a live 20 minute set broadcast out across the water to the folks on shore. Bundle up, bring a thermos of cocoa and enjoy the festivities. You can then head out to dinner with your friends or rendezvous back at your home for a bite to eat.  Tip: Some nights have an “early sailing” around 4 or 5pm which is much more do-able with little kids. Check to see what nights they are in your area – the beaches with a bonfire are noted with an asterisk *.  Christmas Ship Festival Schedule

Christmas Eve Luminaries
Invite your neighborhood to “light a path for Santa” on Christmas Eve with the warm glow of luminaries. You’ll need brown or white paper bags (buy in bulk at Costco), sand, and tea lights (get the long burning ones). Depending on how many homes want to participate, you may want to coordinate a gathering of “helpers” in the morning to assemble and distribute the luminaries. Kids make great helpers for this project! Each bag should be folded over once or twice at the top and filled with a scoop of sand to make it sturdy. Some people like to line the curbs (1 per every 6 feet or so) and/or line their driveways or walkways to the front door. Encourage neighbors to park as many cars as possible in their garages or driveways so the luminaries at the curb are visible. Coordinate a short amount of time (about half an hour) for the neighbors to meet out front with cocoa, smores, or even a round of carols sung by the kids. If you’re really organized you can even plan a visit from the guy in the red suit. Obviously this one is weather-dependent so if it’s rainy you may need to save it for next year. Be sure to get everyone to chip in towards the costs, and reuse or recycle the bags!

Cookie Exchange for Charity
Host a cookie exchange and ask guests to bring a new, unwrapped toy for charity or a bag of food for a local food bank. Cookie exchanges are lots of fun and you can either involve kids or make it a moms night out. You can also do this at your PEPS group or toddler class.  Ask guests to bring approximately 3-5 dozen (depending on how many guests you will have) of their favorite homemade Christmas cookie as well as an empty container. Serve a few simple appetizers and drinks and have everyone place their plate of cookies on a large table. Then the guests can walk around the table taking a few of each cookie to fill their container until all the cookies are gone. Voila..everyone has a wonderful assortment of cookies to serve at their holiday gatherings. Hint: Everyone will want the recipes so ask your guests to email them to you, so that you can foward the recipes to the group later in the week. Be sure to have paper plates and foil on hand for those who forget their containers!

-Angie J. Ballas