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Archive for Christmas Holiday Planner 2012

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Here we are at week 4 of our 8 week Christmas organizational plan! 

This week we are concentrating on things like the budget, household chores and the Christmas letter.

Page 9 of the Christmas Holiday Planner is the budget table.  You can keep things simple and record all holiday expenditures together or print a few copies of the budget page and have a few separate lists going (i.e. a page for groceries, gifts, decorations, parties, etc.) 

Regardless of how you are going to manage your holiday budget, set the amount(s) now and record any expenses you have made so far.  Keep the page handy and record everything!


I think it’s high time for another Christmas card sample! 🙂

Supplies used:

Stamps – Christmas Lodge

Ink & Paper – Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White

Accessories  – Big Shot & Adorning Accents edgelit, 1/8″hold punch, green button, baker’s twine


For the month of November and through to December 16th, Stampin’Up! is offering you the chance to receive a FREE set of Classic Ink Pads in the color collection of your choice – Regals, Subtles or Brights!  There are two different ways to receive your FREE ink pads:

1.  Hostesses with a workshop of at least $575 in sales receives the ink pads in addition to the already great hostess rewards

2.  Join Stampin’Up! – purchase the starter kit for $125 (with no GST or shipping charges) and choose up to $155 in products YOU want, the FREE ink pads AND a one-time 30% off your first demonstrator order!  Click here to learn more!






Fun Advent Ideas

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 I have received some really nice feedback on the activity lists I posted yesterday – thank you!!!  I’m glad to hear so many of you were excited to see them!

Today I’m sharing different ways to present your 24 countdown to Christmas activities!  When you have decided on which activities you are going to do during December and have calendared them, it’s then time to decide how to display your advent.

There are many different ways and it’s only limited by your imagination and creativity!  Here are just a few ideas that came to my mind:

Use Christmas Tags!  I made this box to hold these 24 tags as an advent.  They are blank right now (because they are a gift for another family) but the idea is to number the tabs at the top from 1-24 and write the coresponding activity on the card.  Kids can read the activity for that day and then put the card at the back of the box.

The tags don’t have to go in a box!  Hang the tags across your mantle, hang them on a tree or just put them in a basket – again, the possibilities are endless.

Put the advent activities in envelopes!  I simply stamped 24 envelopes and Santa can keep a close eye on them with this painted box.  Or you could cut 24 Scallop Envelopes with the Big Shot and Bigz die or even use the Petite Pocket Bigz die. Number the envelopes and seal the activity inside.  A fun alternate activity with envelopes would be to hide them around the house and the children have to find the hidden activity envelopes!

Use small boxes to hold the advent activities.  Stampin’Up! has so many different cute dies for the Big Shot – you could make candy wrappers as shown here or make 24 petit purses – wouldn’t they be adorable hanging on a Christmas tree! You could line up 24 Fancy Favor boxes or even use the Holiday Stocking Bigz die and have 24 Christmas stockings as your advent!  Hanging on a line with clothes pins, these would be adorable!!

Make gingerbread men!  These little guys were so simple and fun to make – and do they ever smell terrific!!  I made them using this gingerbread playdough and attached little tag windows onto their tummies!  I loved using the playdough rather than regular gingerbread cookie dough because it was faster and cheaper to make, cleaner to use i.e. no flour dusting counter tops etc and no sticky fingers!!  I allowed them to dry for a couple of days and then attached the tags with our Tombo Multi-Adhesive.  The tags were cut using the Big Shot and Peekaboo Frames Bigz die.  Each tag is numbered and the activity is written on the inside.

The biggest thing I want you to keep in mind as you set out to incorporate advent activities into your schedule is that it is very possible and most likely that you won’t accomplish all the activities you schedule.  Please don’t think you’ve failed!!!  Even if you don’t get to all the activities you’ve planned, you still will have created some wonderful memories and enjoyed some family time – and that makes all the planning worth it!!

Have a wonderful weekend – TTFN!




Advent Activities

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Earlier this week we talked about the importance of recognizing Christmas traditions within families.  I hope you’ve had time to write down the traditions you observe and try to keep every year.  I also hope you have calendared traditions (page 3 of the Christmas Holiday Planner) that need to be scheduled – you want to ensure the important things don’t get missed this year!

Now we’re going to spend the rest of the week concentrating on Advent Activities.

In my family, we like to countdown each day of December by doing something fun together.  Maybe that is unrealistic for some families because of scheduling conflicts so maybe a once a week activity would work better. 

Whatever your advent activities are and however often you schedule them – it’s time to do just that – schedule them!!  Schedule in your activities (along with the traditions) onto page 3 of your planner so they won’t get forgotten and all family members can see what the month of December is starting to look like.

I have put together two different activities lists if you are in need of some new or different countdown ideas.

The first list is Random Acts of Christmas Kindness – service oriented activities:

1.  Take a set of holiday books and leave at a mall play area

2.  Make a street pretty for Christmas (pick up garbage, sweep, shovel, etc.)

3.  Adopt a classroom in need (send holiday party treats and craft box)

4.  Buy a hot cocoa for Salvation Army bell ringers

5.  Purchase toys for kids in need

6.  Tape candy canes and happy holiday notes to ATMS, vending machines, etc.

7.  Send a box of mitten and hats to a school

8.  Offer to buy a pack of gum or mints for checkout clerk at grocery store

9.  Bring peppermint mocha to daycare workers

10.  Donate blood

11.  Hand out pretty Christmas flowers

12.  Bake and deliver christmas cupcakes to library employees

13.  Set up a free gift wrap station for friends and neighbours!

14.  Pay for Santa pictures for someone at mall

15.  Shop for canned goods and donate to food Bank.

16.  Pass out candy and spread cheer to folks mailing off their Christmas cards at the post office

17. Set up a helping task force – take back shopping carts, hold open doors for rushed and weary shoppers

18.  Leave small Christmas treats/gifts in shopping carts for folks to find.

19.  Take presents to hard working post office employees

20.  Call animal shelter and find out what donations they need.  Make a contribution and visit animals

21.  Leave basket of Christmas gifts on doorstep of a family/neighbour that needs it

22.  Buy hot chocolate for a stranger at Starbucks

23.  Leave present in mailbox for mail carrier

24.  Take all night drug store, ER, fire station, police station employees a Christmas surprise

25.  Deliver something special to folks who are working at local hospital

26.  Make holiday cards and take them to a nursing/retirement home.

27.  Donate gently used toys, books, and clothes to a shelter.

28.  Do something around the house to make life easier for a family member

29.  Focus on being kind to strangers and clerks at the grocery store.

30.  Mail handwritten notes or holiday cards

31.  Make a list of love and appreciation for each family member.

32.  Make cookies and take them to the Misisonaries

33.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter

34.  Sing carols at a local nursing home

35.  Take coloring books and crayons to the local children’s hospital or doctor’s waiting room

36.  Do something nice for a neighbor

37.  Offer to assist an elderly couple with their Christmas decorations


The next list is full of Christmas Fun!

1.  Write letters to Santa

2. Make tree ornaments

3.  Drive around and look at Christmas lights.  Take hot cocoa and wear PJs!

4.  Bake cupcakes and decorate

5.  Have a hot chocolate bar before bed!

6.  Pick names for family gift exchange and go shopping for gifts

7.  Bake sugar cookies and decorate

8.  Children put on a Christmas play for the adults

9.  Spin for Dinner! Play spin the bottle and the winner gets to choose the restaurant.

10.  Go ice skating

11.  Make and sign Christmas cards

12.  Go caroling

13.  Family Christmas Movie Night

14.  Play a board game or card game

15.  Invite friends for dinner

16.  Read christmas story

17.  Make a gingerbread house

18.  Have a special Christmas breakfast

19.  String popcorn and cranberries

20.  Make a paper ring garland

21.  Cut snowflakes for the window

22.  Go to a holiday movies at theatre

23.  Roast marshmallows in the fireplace or firepit

24.  Invite friends over in their pajamas to read Christmas stories

25.  Play in the snow, build a snowman

26.  Go for a walk at night

27.  Make some peppermint candy covered popcorn

28.  Make gift tags

29.  Make snow paint

30.  Make homemade gingerbread playdough!

31.  Have ice cream sundaes

32.  Make a candy wreath

33.  Have breakfast for dinner

34.  Hand write letters to friends that live away

35.  Decorate the tree

36.  Go on a wagon ride

37.   Read the story about the birth of Jesus

38.  Plan to attend a local Christmas tree lighting

39.  Backwards dinner – eat dessert first

40.  Crash Supper – plan with another mom ahead of time that you are going to bring dinner and spend the evening with them.  The kids think it’s a surprise crash!

41.  Treasure Hunt Dinner – hide the different courses throught the house and give the kids clues to gather their dinner.

42.  Make a nativity

43.  Have a camp out around the Christmas tree.


Maybe this year try out a few ideas from each list to make Christmas extra fun and exciting this year!!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a bunch of different ways to present your December countdown activities.






Christmas Traditions continued

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We’re all about traditions, advents, and countdowns this week here at Inkingoutofthebox.

Yesterday I shared a few family traditions and today I’m going to share the traditions we have that revolve right around Christmas Eve and Day in our family.

My grandparents on my mother’s side were of German heritage and so my mother, and then of course us, were raised with many German traditions.  Christmas Eve was very important to my grandparents and was the focal point of all the celebrating.  It still is like that in my family today.  Christmas Eve is when everything happens around here.  All 30 of us gather in the afternoon, usually at my house, and more food is set out than we could all eat in a week!  Every surface in the kitchen and dining room are filled with platters of delicious foods and goodies.  My sisters and I take much pride in the buffet we create when we gather!! 🙂

The adults spend the time visiting while the children build excitement over the imminent arrival of Santa Claus.  Eventually we have stuffed ourselves full of breads, dips, cheese, cookies, bars, and pastry and we must move.  Everyone is gathered and we load the vehicles and head off to our city’s famed Nativity Pageant. 

For 48 years, volunteers have reinacted out a live nativity of the Savior’s birth to be enjoyed by any who want to come see it.  The performance has a realistic setting, live animals, traditional costuming and majestic piped in music and narration.  Visiting the live nativity has been a Christmas Eve tradition since before I can remember and if you ask any of our children, they will tell you it’s their favorite part of Christmas. 

When we are finished at the nativity, our caravan of vehicles returns to our home where we find that magically Santa has visited us while we were out!  Parent’s gather around with camera’s awaiting for the children to find their way to the Christmas tree.  Thus proceeds a wonderfully chaotic 2 hours as we enjoy the joy around us as the children open their gifts followed by the adults.

The festivities wind down as midnight approaches and the little ones get sleepy.  Food is put away until the morrow, Christmas Day, when the day is met with a late breakfast in pajamas.  The traditional Christmas turkey dinner is prepared throughout the day and all gather again for a lovely, more calm evening together.

Christmas in your home may look very different from ours and I’d love to hear about yours.  This week, make sure all in your family know why you do the things you do at this time of year and how and why it all started.  Traditions are a way to bond family members together and help them feel a part of something special – and they are part of something very special – your family!!



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This is Week 1 of my 8 week organizational plan and we are Getting Organized this week!

I hope you’ve been able to get your Christmas Holiday Planner in a binder this week and are ready to start planning – here we go!!

If you haven’t purchased the Christmas Holiday Planner  and started your holiday planning, now is a great time to do so!  Click the button on the right to purchase, print off the planner and check back here at Inkingoutofthebox during the next 8 weeks as we get ready for Christmas!

But before we start organizing…here’s a card…to get us in the mood…

I created this card for my annual Christmas Card Class which is this week.  I created 10 different cards for the class and this is just one of my favorites of the bunch!  I used the Snow Festival DSP pack from the Holiday Catalogue for color suggestions and patterns.  I also used the Scentsational Season stamp set and matching framelits along with the new Window Frames Framelit and 2 1/2″ circle punch.

Now, back to our Christmas planning…

One of your tasks this week is to start calendaring your December month (Family Calendar Page of the planner).  Yes, it is only October right now, BUT it’s important to get an idea of how busy the month of December will be for you NOW!

Schedule in things that you know are already happening.  Things like piano or music lessons, sport practices and games, annual parties you attend, evening work shifts, etc.

Then, I want you to start a list of activities/events you want to schedule this year.  Maybe you’d like to host a Christmas Open House for your neighbours and friends or maybe you’d like to host a Gingerbread House party for your children and their friends or cousins.  However long or short, detailed or vague your list is, it’s important to start thinking about your December calendar NOW. 

This activity is going to ensure you fit every activity in that is important to you and your family, as well as prevent you from becoming over committed this December!!  So get out your family calendar and start writing!