How to Make a Christingle

Is this the first time hearing the word Christingle? Are you asking yourself, “what exactly is a Christingle?” Well, before you start searching, continue reading about the long-standing history of Christingle.

Christingle is a symbolic way to celebrate the Christian faith. Dating back to the mid-1700s, Christingle was part of a German worship service. Representing Jesus bringing light to the world,  John de Watteville, a minister, gave each child a lighted candle with a red ribbon.

In the late 1960s, Christingles became popular in England. Generally, Christingle services are held the week before or part of Christmas Eve services. Due to the pandemic, Christmas 2020 is going to be different. But you and your family can try new things. Making a Christingle is a wonderful new tradition to begin.

How to Make a Christingle

Are you wondering how to make a Christingle? The activity is simple; however, each piece has a specific meaning.

List of Needed Items

I used the candy that I had on hand.
  • Orange: The base of the Christingle is an orange or tangerine representing the whole world.
  • White Candle: Standing tall and straight, the white candle represents God giving light to the world.
  • Red Ribbon: Tying the ribbon around the orange represents the blood of Jesus and dying on the cross.
  • Four Skewers or Toothpicks: The four toothpicks represent North, South, East, and West. They also represent the four changing seasons. If you use skewers, you can fit more pieces of fruit and candy on to your stick.
  • Pieces of Dried Fruits: In addition to dried fruit, you can use nuts, miniature marshmallows, and sweets. The items represent the fruits of the Earth.

In addition to the list above, you will need tin foil. The tinfoil is a precautionary measure to prevent the dripping candle wax from getting into the orange’s interior.

Next, you start the task of creating your own Christingle. Younger children will need help with the first step. Slicing the top of your orange makes a hole large enough to fit your white candle’s base. Before pushing the candle down into the orange, cover the opening with foil.

When your base is complete, set aside. Now begin to place the dried fruits or other sweets onto the skewers. Repeat this step four times.

Place the candy, dried fruits, marshmallows, or nuts on to the skewers.

Now, push the four skewers into the orange. Place the skewers on each side to create a balanced appearance. Finally, wrap your piece of red ribbon around the orange and tie it into a bow. Congratulations on finishing your first Christingle.

I sat my Christingle on top of a Mason jar while I worked on it.

Staying close to home for the holidays is the time to do family crafts. Have fun making Christingles. Light the candles to take a photo in front of your tree on Christmas Eve. (Always practice safety procedures when using candles).

Make extras to give away. Just remember, do not cut the hole into the orange until you are ready to give your Christingle to the intended person.

Reference:

The History of Christingles.  https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/christingles.shtml

Ways to Celebrate Your Baby’s First Christmas

Are you celebrating your baby’s first Christmas this year? Due to the pandemic, numerous Christmas events are canceled, including visits with Santa Claus. But staying close to home doesn’t mean your precious little one’s first Christmas will be unmemorable.

Have fun! Enjoy! Your baby’s first Christmas is the perfect time to start new traditions or revisit old ones. Celebrate every moment. Check out the following list of ways to celebrate your baby’s first Christmas at home.

Write a Yearly Christmas Letter

Write a letter to your baby. Detail all your activities and feelings surrounding your baby’s first Christmas. Next, you can place the letter in an envelope to store in a shoebox or use a journal to make your entry.

Each year, add a letter or entry. When your child becomes an adult, give the letters or journal as part of Christmas gifts. The memories instantly turn into a lasting treasure.

Are you wondering what to write? Consider adding some of these details to your baby’s first Christmas letter.

  • Your baby’s age
  • Date of the letter
  • Favorite new toy
  • Reaction to the Christmas tree
  • Favorite Christmas song
  • Who was there on Christmas

Send a Christmas Card

Unless you want the post date, you do not technically need to send the Christmas card. Similar to the letter-writing activity, give your child a Christmas card each year. Write a small note inside the card.

Ask your friends or family to send your baby a Christmas card. Request your loved ones to write a small note, favorite Bible verse, Christmas tradition, or other activities.

Christmas Ornaments

Buy or make your baby’s first Christmas ornament. The new ornament does not need to be expensive. A plain ornament from your local dollar store is perfect. But remember to add a date. Buying an ornament for your child each year is a beautiful tradition. When your child is an adult, the decorations turn into a treasured gift.

Christmas Season Photos

Get camera happy! Taking lots of photos is one of the best ways to celebrate and remember your baby’s first Christmas.

  • Family Photo: Set your timer or do a selfie to take a family photo to celebrate your baby’s first Christmas. The picture can be casual or dress up in your good clothes for a more formal appearance.
  • Pajama Photo: Buy matching pajamas, strike a pose, and take fun photos.
  • Sibling Photo: Snap a photo of your new little one with older siblings. (Yes, your dog or cat can be part of the picture if your new baby is your first).
  • By the Tree: Hold your little one up to the Christmas tree to hang an ornament. (Depending on the age of your baby, you may have to perform the actual holding on to the ornament.) This simple task is a perfect picture to use your baby’s first ornament.

Make a Christmas Scrapbook

Print out all your photos from the holiday season, save the Christmas cards and other memorabilia to make a scrapbook. Add stickers, photo details, and other embellishments to make the scrapbook a long-lasting treasure.

Observing your baby’s first Christmas is a memorable event. Celebrate every moment of the holiday season with your new little one. Enjoy the Christmas season. Small activities can easily turn into long-lasting memories.

 

Handmade Christmas Wrapping Paper Craft

Are you looking to start a new Christmas tradition? How about making handmade Christmas wrapping paper for all of your gifts? Doing Christmas crafts as a family activity is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Best of all, making homemade gift wrap is an easy project for all ages.

Materials Needed:

  • Sponges of any size and shape
  • Scissors
  • Butcher paper, newsprint, or other types of packing paper (You can purchase rolls of brown shipping paper at your local dollar store).
  • Paint
  • Containers for paint
  • Markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut sponges into various shapes, for example, Christmas trees, gift boxes, stars, candy canes, and ornaments. (Help younger children cut the sponges into shapes.)
  2. Spread your choice of paper on a flat surface.
  3. Squirt small amounts of paint in your container.
  4. Dip your cut sponge into the paint.
  5. Make certain the paint covers the entire sponge for a clear shape.
  6. Press sponge on to the paper. When you are finished, simply rinse the sponges of the entire paint residue. You can use the sponges more than once.
  7. Continue the process until you reach your desired design.
  8. Allow the paint shapes to dry.
  9. Use markers to add outlines, Christmas songs, Bible verses, names, or other designs to your gift wrap.
  10. Now, wrap your Christmas gifts and enjoy it.

Homemade gift wrap is an excellent way to provide a personalized touch to your presents. Use your imagination to create numerous sheets of wrapping paper. Set the mood for family fun by playing Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate, and eating snacks.

Christmas Fun: Making Plaster Ornaments

Let’s face it, the Christmas season can get busy quickly. Spending high-quality family time together is essential to enjoy the holidays. When you are you looking for fun, family activities to celebrate Christmas, consider making plaster ornaments.

Plaster ornaments are simple to make. You can hang them on your own tree. Or share them with family members as gifts. Kids will love making an ornament for grandma, grandpa, a favorite aunt or uncle.

Materials Needed:

  • Christmas themed molds or pans (The plaster does not harm them, just wash thoroughly after use.)
  • Plaster
  • Throw away containers for mixing plaster. (Remember not to pour remaining plaster down the sink.)
  • Water
  • Paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Place newspapers or other protective materials on your counter.
  2. Mix plaster as directed. Always add the plaster mixture to the water for a smooth and consistent mixture. (Keep in mind, the plaster hardens quickly. You need to have your molds ready to go. You can add a little extra water to provide a bit more time).
  3. Fill the molds completely.
  4. Place hangers into your mold. (Paper clips or pop can tab work great for an instant, inexpensive hanger).
  5. Allow your ornaments to dry completely.
  6. Gently remove the ornaments from the molds. You may need to tap on the mold to loosen the ornament.
  7. Paint the ornaments. (You can also personalize the ornaments with names).

Even younger children can help with the painting process. Just do not forget to add the date on the back. The Christmas ornaments can quickly turn into a lasting treasure.

Sugar Cookies: A Christmas Tradition

Are you looking for another simple way to celebrate the Christmas season? Baking during the holidays is a long-standing tradition. Sugar cookies are a tasty treat to decorate, share, and eat. Helping to reduce the stress of the holiday mad-dash of baking, sugar cookies can be frozen to decorate later.

Dig out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, find a new one on Pinterest, or grab a tube of dough at your local store. Regardless of your method, sugar cookies are a fun way to celebrate the Christmas season.

  1. Bake your cookies from the method of choice.
  2. Allow your batch of sugar cookies to cool.
  3. Frost cookies.
  4. Decorate

Do you want to get the kids involved in making sugar cookies to celebrate the Christmas season? Set out different types of holiday sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, and other toppings. Then, ask your children to help decorate the cookies. Making up new designs and colors provides added fun. Enjoy the creative process going into each cookie.

Finally, time to eat the cookies! Put a plate of cookies out as part of family night. Share a batch with a neighbor.

You can always add a nice cup of hot chocolate or milk to the celebration. Now, the next challenge, who gets to pick the Christmas movie for family night?

Christmas Pretzel Treats

Is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season keeping you busy? Do you need a quick and easy snack for a holiday gathering or family movie night? Chocolate covered pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas. The pretzel treats are an easy make-ahead snack.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate (For added Christmas fun, purchase red or green colored dipping cholate)
  • Pretzels of any style will work.
  • Christmas sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency. Smooth, well-heated chocolate is easy to apply to pretzels.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.
  6. You can store the pretzels in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Photo Prompts for December

The last month of 2020 is finally here, time to reflect and enjoy the holiday season. Are you looking to take pictures throughout the month? Check out the following list of photo prompts for December.

  1. Selfie
  2. Contrast
  3. Seasonal
  4. Religious
  5. Sunrise or Sunset
  6. Warm Beverage
  7. Art
  8. Hats
  9. Signs
  10. 3pm
  11. Light
  12. Nature
  13. Mistletoe or Holly
  14. Love
  15. Silver & Gold
  16. Santa
  17. Snowman
  18. Christmas Décor
  19. Red & Green
  20. Snowflakes (Yes, cut out ones work)
  21. Yule (First Day of the Winter Solstice)
  22. Ribbons & Bows
  23. Tinsel
  24. Christmas Eve Merriment
  25. Christmas Day Fun
  26. Day After
  27. Shapes
  28. Blue
  29. Animal
  30. Friendship
  31. New Year’s Eve Toast

Enjoy this month’s photo prompts. Use December’s photo prompts as a way to have fun with your camera. Print the pictures, share online, and enjoy.

Ways to Give at Christmas

Are you looking to give at Christmas time? 2020 has been a challenging year for individuals, families, and organizations. Giving to help ease the strain provides a happier holiday for all. The gesture can be small. Christmas time is the right moment to show people you care. Do you need ideas on ways to give at Christmas? Check out the following.

Money

Almost every organization or charity accepts monetary donations. Under many circumstances, your donation is tax-deductible.

If you want to give to a person in need, consider slipping a gift card in the mailbox or other secure location. For added fun, do not put your name on the envelope. Often a secret gesture provides the best feeling.

Food

  • Donate food to your local pantry or shelter.
  • Make or purchase fruit baskets to deliver to neighbors.
  • Make cookies to distribute.
  • Fill a laundry basket with food to give to someone in need.

Baby Pantry

A baby pantry caters to families with young children. Pantry donations are always needed, especially around the holidays. A baby pantry is generally open on specific days. If you are donating, do your research to help give at the right time. Some pantry items include:

  • Diapers
  • Pull-ups
  • Baby wipes
  • New baby bottles and nipples
  • New pacifiers
  • Baby formula
  • Baby food
  • Books
  • Toddler snacks

Animal Shelter or Pet Rescue

Animal shelters and pet rescues cater to numerous types of animals. Many organizations rely heavily on private donations. Many will post needed items on their social media pages if you check out your local pet organization. Along with money, you generally can donate the following:

  • Pet food (dry and canned)
  • Kitty litter
  • Pet dishes
  • Toys
  • Pet beds
  • Cages
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning products

Church

Due to the pandemic, many churches are experiencing less than normal donations. Consider putting extra money into the offering. Even the smallest amount is helpful.

If you do not have a home church, do your research. Find a church in the community that offers support to the homeless or low income. Many churches host soup kitchens or other outreach programs. When you donate, you can specify how you want your donation put to use.

Flowers

A bouquet of flowers may seem frivolous to some individuals. But often, a small gesture can make someone’s day. Christmas flower arrangments are beautiful. Flowers can be sent almost anywhere, including:

  • Your child’s teacher
  • A former teacher who inspired you.
  • Nursing home with instructions to give to a resident who doesn’t receive visitors or cards from family.
  • An essential worker
  • A neighbor
  • Your favorite waitress or waiter at a local restaurant.

Christmas Cards 

Sending Christmas is a small token to show people in your life that your care. 2020 has been a tough year for many individuals. But when take a moment to write a note inside a Christmas card, people realize they are not alone.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Service Members
  • Nursing homes
  • Teachers
  • Community members

Giving is part of the Christmas season. Small gifts or cards can make someone’s day. Not to mention, give you a sense of satisfaction and the holiday spirit.

 

 

 

Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Are you getting ready to put up your Christmas tree? Make the tree decorating a family fun event. (Yes, your dog counts as a family member). Spend an afternoon or evening decorating your Christmas tree together.

Ways to Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most community events will not take place this year. But you can quickly turn Christmas decorating into a grand affair. Check out the following list for ideas to make lasting memories while merely putting up your Christmas tree.

  • Homemade Ornaments: Make homemade ornaments for your tree. For example, salt dough ornaments are simple to create. Before putting up your tree, make a batch of salt dough ornaments. You and your family can easily cut the decorations into specific shapes with cookie cutters. Bake, paint and date your ornaments as directed. Then, on the day of putting up your Christmas tree, you can hang your new ornament creations.
  • Special Ornaments: Purchase a new ornament for each family member. If you are on a tight budget, dollar store ornaments work wonderfully. Date or add different embellishments to your decorations to create a one of a kind appearance.
  • Make Your Garland: String popcorn, create paper chains, or use other materials to create your tree’s garland.
  • Play Christmas Music: Set your radio on the Christmas music channel or create playlists full of your holiday favorites.
  • Listen to an Audio Book: Listening to children’s Christmas stories is always fun. Playing the stories in the background will add extra fun to your Christmas tree event.
  • Watch Christmas Shows: Play old classic Christmas shows while decorating the tree. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Polar Express, or A Charlie Brown Christmas are all wonderful holiday programs for your whole family to enjoy.
  • Bake Christmas Goodies: Before setting up your tree, bake holiday-themed goodies. Cookies, pretzels, hot cocoa, or other treats help make putting up your Christmas tree a grand event.
  • Countdown Ceremony: Before plugging in your Christmas tree, have a countdown ceremony. Children love the hype of a countdown ceremony.
  • Photo Time: Wear matching holiday pajamas or ugly Christmas sweaters to pose in front of the tree. Creating a new Christmas tree ceremony selfie can be a new tradition for you and your family.

Remember to take lots of pictures while putting up your Christmas tree. Print your photos and create a special scrapbook. 2020 is definitely a year to remember.

 

Yes! Go Ahead & Decorate for Christmas Now

Many recognize November as the beginning of the holiday season. On social media, posts suggest celebrating the Christmas season before Thanksgiving is not acceptable. After a long year of COVID restrictions, celebrating with your family should be a daily event. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. Simply have fun and enjoy the season in a way that makes you happy.

Are you looking for ways to start celebrating early? Check out the following list for ideas.

Decorate

Begin decorating early. Do you have boxes with Christmas decorations in storage? Take your time to look through each box. Decorate as you go. Overdecorate. Use all of your decorations. Spread your Christmas decorations throughout your entire living space.

  • Put up your Christmas tree.
  • Decorate hallways and doors.
  • Purchase small trees for your young children’s rooms. (Dollar store Christmas trees work perfectly for this set up).
  • Set a small Christmas related plushie on the dash of your car.
  • Decorate outdoors, including your porch, trees, or mailbox.
  • Set up a nativity scene indoors or outdoors.
  • Arrange a centerpiece on your dining room table.

Get Crafty

Do some of your ornaments lack sparkle? Add some glitter and revamp old ornaments and decorations.

  • Make salt dough ornaments
  • Make cinnamon dough ornaments
  • Create ornaments out of clay
  • Make paper chains
  • Thread popcorn and cranberries for garland
  • Make Christmas wreaths to share or keep
  • Make homemade Christmas cards.
  • Create a centerpiece.

Watch Holiday Movies

The Hallmark Channel began streaming holiday movies over two weeks ago. Go ahead, watch, and enjoy the uplifting holiday programs. If you do not have the Hallmark Channel, start searching your other streaming services to find the perfect Christmas programs for you or your entire family. Remember, you can always dig out your DVDs.

Turn watching holiday movies into a special event for your whole family. Serve snacks, hot cocoa, or order pizza. If you cannot be with your family or friends in person, host an online movie event.

If celebrating Christmas early makes you happy, then do it. Enjoy every minute of the holiday season.