25 Days of Christmas: 25 Ways To Spread Love This Season

During the stressful times the holidays can bring, it is so hard to remember to spread some cheer.  Also giving back to others is so important and something we like to really teach our children this time of year.

25 Ways To Spread Love This Season

1. Send Holiday Cards.
2. Be an Angel.  Our church is where we do this, but schools, hospitals, and other organizations give people the opportunity to buy gifts for children and families in need.
3. Donate toys and clothes to charity. 
5. When going through the drive through, purchase the meal (or coffee) order for the car behind you. This story is amazing, cars paid it forward 55 times!
6. Help Someone carry groceries out to their car.
7. Leave random Holiday cards on cars in a parking lot.
8. Buy a bunch of travel size items and give to a person asking for spare change.  Love This idea.
9. Go through your cupboards and donate to your local food shelter.
10. Visit the Fire Station with some homemade goodies.  ( I saw this on I Love You More Than Carrots and LOVE IT!)
11. Leave an extra nice tip while at a restaurant.
12. Donate some of your old books to your child's school.
13. Send a sweet treat into your spouses office for him to share with co-workers.
14. Thank a service member.
15. Leave unused coupons on the shelf at the grocery store.
17. Help an elderly family member with their shopping or decorating.
18. If you are able, donate blood.
19. Offer to babysit for a friend.
20. Purchase some new school supplies for you child's teacher.
21. Leave some change on a random vending machine.
22. While Holiday shopping, add the extra dollar to your bill to support St. Jude.  (My Goal this year is to say "yes" every time I am asked.)
23. Shovel your neighbors sidewalks.
24. If traveling this holiday season, pay the toll for the car behind you.
25. Invite someone to celebrate the holiday with you who may not have family nearby.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 I have plenty of years for fancy tables, with delicate, breakable decor.  For now, and this season of my life..... my favorite site is the artwork of my children, their ideas on how to decorate the room for the holiday.  Every year we make paper chains for Thanksgiving, we keep the table simple, full of color and fun.  

{Flower Centerpiece: picked out by Lilly from Costco / small flanking candles: Target / Place Cards: Free Printable /   Kid Plates: Pottery Barn Kids (2 years ago) / "Gobble" sign: from a local craft fair}

25 Days of Christmas: 25 Holiday Treats

Christmas time to me, means sweat treats.  I love baking and sharing goodies with family and friends.  So here are 25 of my favorite Holiday Treats.

My original idea when sharing my list was linking to recipes I have shared here on the blog.  Well, turns out I really haven't shared any of my own recipes.  #goalfor2014.  Anyway, I have found some of my favorites from other blogs and such online!

To keep things simple during the holidays, I love using cake mixes as a starting point for cookie recipes.  I also prefer doing drop cookies instead of roll out, it saves so much time.

Remember homemade items make great gifts, but keep in mind that allergies are everywhere, so be sure you know the recipient isn't allergic to ingredients used!

Kitchen Organization: A Mini Kitchen Office

As a mom I feel like I spend most of my days in my kitchen.  I am always making, feeding or cleaning up a meal.  I am constantly multitasking while making dinner, trying to catch up on everything.  

Everyone has it, the "junk drawer".  A catch all for the things that have no other home.  Things that could put put away in other locations, but then would no longer be easily accessible.  Well instead of just a drawer, I have taken it a bit farther. 

My kitchen set up doesn't leave me any space for a junk drawer, so I had to utilize what I had, and make it work.

The actual piece of furniture I am using is relatively new to me, but anything but new.  It is estimated by my grandmother to be nearly 100 years old.  It has been refinished, and a piece I am so glad to have in my home. 

The top I keep clean and simple.  It holds our telephone, and then just some small seasonal decorations.  For now it is fall, but will transition to Christmas in just a week.  

Inside, I have taken full advantage of the compartments already in place.  I have also added some of my own organizational elements, all of which are from Target.

Lastly, also in my kitchen, I have 2 small drawers which I use one to hide my husbands things he just happens to leave lying around, and the other contains all of our take-out menus.

If you'd like a closer look, please head over to my YouTube channel, where I go more in-depth into what I actually keep in here.

25 Days Of Christmas: 25 Family Movies

One of my favorite things to do during the month of December is snuggling up and watching a Christmas movie.  Whether with my kids or husband, I love it.  This list is part movies we watch as a family, and some we watch once they go to bed.  Depending on the age of your children, the list of what you let them watch may change.  Below is the list of Must Watch Movies during the holiday season.

25 Christmas Movies

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We ALWAYS start with this movie.  Black Friday night, after we have shopped, decorated, and put the kids to bed, we snuggle up and watch this.(Get It!) 
2. The Polar Express.  Just like the book, this is the kids favorite.(Get It!)
3.The Santa Claus. (Get It!)
4. The Santa Claus 2. (Get It!)
5. The Santa Claus 3. (Get It!)
6. Home Alone. (Get It!)
7. Home Alone 2. (Get It!)
8. A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Get It!)
9. Christmas With The Kranks. (Get It!)
10. A Christmas Carol.(Get It!)
11. Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. (Animated) (Get It!)
12.Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. (Jim Carey)(Get It!)
13.Jingle All The Way. (Get It!)
14.Fred Claus. (Get It!)
15.Surviving Christmas. (Get It!)
16.The Family Stone. (Get It!)
17.Santa Buddies. (Get It!)
18.Four Christmases. (Get It!)
19.Deck The Halls. (Get It!)
20.Mickey's Christmas Carol. (Get It!)
21.Elf. (Get It!)
22. Frosty The Snowman. (Get It!)
23.Santa Claus is Coming To Town. (Get It!)
24. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. (Get It!)
25. A Christmas Story. (Get It!)

Also remember ABC Family has a great line up of Movies every year!  We usually don't watch them live, but rather DVR them for the coming days/weeks.

And a ton of kid's favorite character shows also have Christmas episodes/specials.  Netflix or your cables On Demand Feature are great to find these.

For me, I also love the Lifetime/Hallmark Channel movies as well.  I usually DVR them and watch while wrapping gifts, packing to travel, or relaxing in the evening.

Be sure to check out my Book List as well, and check back for more on my 25 Days of Christmas Series!

25 Days of Christmas:25 Holiday Children's Books

Every Year our family has a tradition of each day in December, doing a special activity to celebrate the season.  It can be something really simple, or more elaborate.  We try to include a variety of things, from movie nights, special outings, doing good for others, crafts, and the always favorite.... dance parties.  We have a special Advent Train and write the activity for the day on a piece of paper for the kids to find (more on that soon!).  It is something we have done now for 4 years.   

So this 25 Days of Christmas series is going to document that. Showing 25 things from different categories.  

Up first.  Children's Christmas Books.  We love to read, and each night before bed, we spend on average 30 minutes snuggled up on the bed reading to/with the kids.  During the holidays each night we include a Christmas Story.  

25 Christmas Books for Kids

1. The Polar Express.We love this story/movie, so it is always the first the kids want to read! (Get It!)
2. Pete The Cat Saves Christmas. (Get It!)
3. Snowmen At Christmas. (Get It!)
4. A Christmas Tree For Ruby. (Get It!)
5.Christmas Mouse. (Get It!)
6. Frosty The Snowman. (Get It!)
7. Sophia The First, Holiday in Enchancia. I just found this and Lilly LOVES Sophia! (Get It!)  
8. Home For Christmas. (Get It!)
9. The Littlest Elf. (Get It!)
10. Llama Llama Holiday Drama.  We LOVE this series. (Get it!)  
11. Froggy's Best Christmas. (Get It!)
12. The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving. (Get It!)
13. Thomas's Christmas Delivery. (Get It!)
14. Merry Christmas, Curious George! (Get It!)
15. Maisy's Christmas Day. (Get It!)
16. Merry Christmas Amelia Bedelia. (Get It!)
17. The Gingerbread Man. (Get It!)
18. How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  My husband loves reading Dr. Seuss, and the kids also love when he reads it.(Get It!)  
19. Clifford's Christmas. (Get It!)
20. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. (Get It!)  
21. The Pokey Little Puppy's First Christmas.  Matthew Got this as a gift his first Christmas and we have read it every year since. (Get It!)
22. Mickey Saves Santa. (Get It!)
23. The Story of Christmas. (Get It!)
24.The Night Before Christmas.  This is the exact version we have. (Get It!)
25.The Polar Express, Again because it is our Favorite!

So What books do you love to read during the Holiday Season??

**I know I said I wouldn't get all Christmasy before Thanksgiving.... just know this list is simple for me to start preparing for the beginning of December, we aren't starting this until December 1st! Mama's just have to be on top of things this time of year!**

**Just so y'all know affiliate links were used in this post!**