The Adventures of Christmas with a Two Year Old

Before I get to the Christmas Day activities, I forgot to post our Countdown activity on the 21st. We went and visited the Live Nativity. It was kinda cute. Miss Punky was having trouble saying Nativity. (Remember the wisemen she popped the heads off of) She kept saying “Bativity.” Finally Kim broke it down “Nu Tivity.” Punky says, “Nutivity? Oh! I like nuts!”

Of course, her atheist moms thought it was hilarious that she continued to call it a nutivity the entire time. I insisted we go to visit the nativity because its something we did as kids with my grandmother. It doesn’t hold the same significance now that I no longer believe in the story of Jesus, but I do want to keep some of my traditions from my childhood alive.

Believe me, there are a lot of childhood memories I work very hard to shield her from, but there are some, the fun memories that don’t involve my upbringing or my parents or alcohol or anything that may contribute to my PTSD, such as this live nativity activity that I cherish in the mixture of crazy in my kidhood. I want to keep that spirit alive in Punky’s Christmas experience.

We managed to make our way over to the people in the nativity, Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus – just to see them. She did not pop anyone’s head off this time. But she did much prefer climbing on the gates to get at the animals than the plastic doll and the story she didn’t understand.

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So, on to Christmas Day.

Surprise, surprise, our kid is spoiled rotten. We have gotten through Christmas with minimal damage – involving only one tantrum/time-in combo, and an otherwise pretty very happy toddler.

Last night, we ended our Christmas Countdown with a gift on Christmas Eve which consisted of brand new PJs. We made a trail in the driveway with reindeer food so Santa’s reindeer knew how to get to our house. We spent the afternoon on NORAD Santa Tracker, following his progress. By the time the cookies were set out and we had a sip of Santa’s milk, we were in bed and Santa was headed out of Georgia!

Since the kid woke up at 3AM Christmas Eve, a day early, expecting Santa and too excited to sleep – she crashed long before bedtime yesterday – in fact before we made it to our first family function. She fell asleep on me while everyone was getting ready to leave and then again in the car on the way to the party.

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We did get some new, current pictures of us as a couple and a family. I really like how they turned out.

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We got home super passed her bedtime,so imagine, no matter how excited she was, with no real nap, other than sleeping in the car for a minute, she fell asleep the minute I shut her bedroom door, and then it was time to get to work on Santa Duty.

I had to pick up the Minnie Mouse bike from her godparents’ house. We had the toughest time finding a bike we could afford and get it in the Minnie Mouse style she wanted. So, we swapped out the neighbor’s kids’ bike and took Punky’s cousins bike from the garage, gave it to her godfather (fucking awesome guy who is wrapped around ALL her tiny fingers) and he painted it up all nice for her.

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I set up her burlap bag from Santa and her stocking in front of the tree and then hid the bike under a blanket in the back where she wouldn’t be looking or paying attention. Helped Grammy and Papa stuff the rest of the stockings and finished wrapping up some gifts for the rest of the family’s kids, then I went to bed. Of course, I was too excited to sleep. Not to mention that we live in the basement and she is at least two flights above me, so I was anxious all night, worried she would wake up and open all the presents, discover the bike and be riding it around the livingroom when I woke up!

As luck would have it, and as expected, she kept her pinky “I Promise” and stayed in bed until the sun woke up so that Santa could deliver is presents and the magic of Christmas would work – if she woke up, he would not be able to deliver the presents she was asking for.

So, when she got up, she was excited to pull open the first present she saw. We had to wrangle her a bit, but she was pretty awesome about opening this year. This is the first year she’s been as interactive and really knew what Christmas and Santa and presents meant to her.

The bike was a hit.

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We took it outside for a bit, with her baby Ellen (who Santa brought a new outfit) and tried to get the hang of the bike. She enjoyed it and then she got frustrated, because she would push the pedals back and put the breaks on and then not understand how to get the bike to go again. So, it will take some getting used to and some practice, but she got what she wanted and it comes with a helmet, knee/elbow pads, and bike gloves. All in MINNIE MOUSE. LOL.

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She wore her helmet and new bathrobe for most of the rest of the morning while she tore through box after box after bag after toy and movies and yet, she still came back to the bike. She did get a very special gift from Grammy this year. Which in her own words is “Very special to me.” Its a music box with a dancing ballerina, the old school kind. Our kid is kind of a tiny dancer and really wants to be a Doctor Ballerina when she grows up, so this was a pretty sweet present for her. Grammy got her into the ballet stuff and encourages her to dance and sing all the time, so this gift between the two of this, was just super heart warming.

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On that note, even though we live with her grandparents, I’m just so glad they were there for her to open her presents. When I was growing up, and I’ve been getting a little sentimental lately, my grandparents came over every Christmas morning and watched us open our presents from Santa and eat breakfast with us. It was one of my more favorite memories of Christmas. A lot of family stuff has happened in the last week and a half that have really put my childhood and my memories in the forefront of my mind. Not all good – but in this case, not all bad.

By the end of the day, she had gotten away with all sorts of stuff. New clothes from her bestie her Aunt Ashley. A new tablet from her Uncle and his wife, and lots and lots of toys from everyone else. The big thing was the accessories for her new dollhouse.

We had been batting around the idea of getting her a dollhouse from Santa, but she asked for a bike and that’s what she was getting. So, the dollhouse was going to be put on hold. HOWEVER, while we were all driving around the town checking out the light displays on houses, Grammy spotted a dollhouse on the side of the road. We stopped the car, I hopped out, grabbed it, and tucked it in the trunk.

When we got it home, we realized it needed lots of TLC, but it was going to be great for Punky, since she doesn’t know its someone else’s ‘trash’ and she didn’t know it was broken. She was supposed to get it for Christmas, but she found it in a closet and didn’t stop til Grammy cleaned it up and we found some toys to play in the house with it.

Now, as of Christmas Day opening, she has an additional dollhouse (the dogs’ house) and people, furniture, accessories, and puppies to go with it. She also has a mechanical hamster that has a rolling stage van parked behind her massive dollhouse.

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We have more Christmas to go to, but I just can’t thank people in our lives for the support and love our little girl has in her life. I am filled with some melancholy this season, due to the family stuff back home (my family lives 3 hours away) and someday, maybe I will blog about it. It really just involves addiction, neglect, and beating the violent cycle that is my childhood and relationship role models. So, I didn’t get to celebrate with my side of the family and that does make me sad.

But we called all those who we could call (those not in jail and such) and I sent a Christmas text to our ever so special donor to wish him a Merry Christmas. We don’t exchange messages often, but I like him to know we think of him on days like this – special times that we can share these days and spoil the crap out of the kid he helped us create and then took a backseat where most lesbian couples don’t get so lucky.

Anyway, my kid is set for a while. She’s for sure loved and filled with an overwhelming, overflowing support and family – more than any little girl could ask for and more than either of her moms could have expected for her to receive.

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I saw some of my TTC blogger friends got a nice Christmas BIG FAT POSITIVE, congratulations! As for those still trying, you know I’m rooting for you in 2015!

To all the readers out there, whoever you are, Happy Holiday you celebrate, however you celebrate it! May you be happy and loved in every sense of the word!

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Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

Microblog Monday – Day 7 Christmas Countdown

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post over at Stirrup Queens, which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

We went to Christmas in the park. A park full of Christmas light displays. She had a blast looking at all the lights and singing to the Christmas songs on the radio.

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IMG_1527 IMG_1521 IMG_1519Until she had a meltdown in true 2 year old fashion in the backseat when it was time to leave.

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We made a stop at the magic tree and she was cheered up for a moment, until it was time to go home. Hooray Christmas Countdown that is so much fun we have to cry and throw tantrums when its over.

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Day 15: Christmas Goodies!

For the last few years, we have gotten together with Kim’s mom and the women of the family and made trays of Christmas goodies. Usually everyone brings a few recipes and we make them all up and then exchange them. We usually put together trays for work and other family members. This year, I had four trays of my own, Kim had two and then we had a small tin of our own for the house. 

Punky helped a little. 

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She started by sampling some cherry mash bars. Which, much to her Papa’s dismay, she didn’t really care for them. 

Then Mommy put her to work!

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When all was said and done, I gave her the spoon to lick, the best part of the baking experience. A mixture of Rice Crispies, powdered sugar and peanut butter is sure to smell delicious.

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And it tastes even better!

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This weekend, she’s had not much of a nap, and today is no exception. She’s been fairly decent though, since we have been home. She got M&M’s in her envelope today and of course, lots of Christmas goodies to eat throughout the week … that is … if Mommy doesn’t eat them all!

Day 13: Santa Writes A Letter To The Toddler

We already put the tree up and the card in the envelope said to go sit with Santa, but we will be doing that tomorrow. So, I was in a bit of a tight spot in which I had no idea what we were going to do today.

Then we got the mail!

So, I let her open up her envelope and munch on her chocolate covered marshmellow Santa.

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It was the most delicious piece of candy to come out of her envelopes thus far. At least, it looks like she was very excited about it, hmm.

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We then got to go to the mailbox and got our very first letter. Well, technically, she got a letter last year too, but this is the first time that she has opened her own piece of mail.

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We found out that she was on the Nice List this year. Which, her moms find a little hard to believe, as she’s kind of a jerk some times. But then of course, she’s also been engineered to survive all her ridiculous brattiness with severe cuteness. So, it all balances out.

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Her mama, on the other hand, is getting NOTHING for Christmas! 😉

Day 9: Reading a New Book with Mommy and a Baby Foot Tattoo

A long day at work and a stressed out baby mama. I came home and got the dinner on and put the kiddo in the bathtub.

Day 9 was really just a simple little night. A new book for Punky and a little tattoo. She’s loving the temporary tattoos right now. I think it’s great. Its a super cute favorite thing for our daughter. She loves the little things and I

absolutely love that she is so easily amused.

 

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We had a nice time hanging out on the couch and spending time together. I have come to look forward to the nights after work when we get to open a new envelope. She seems to look forward to it too!

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She got a tattoo on her foot tonight, it was awesome! She even walked ridiculously afterward. She just kept wanting to look at it, so she waddled a lot. It was very cute.

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She stole my peppermint white chocolate pretzels and decided she needed to try and feed me. Thank goodness she didn’t lick it first or give me one without chocolate on it!

Day 8: Decorate the Christmas Tree

So, the first night in the big girl bed was a success for the most part. She laid in it with no problem, but when she lost her sippy cup in the bed she freaked out. We filled it back up and laid her back down, turned on a night light and she was pretty much out. A small bit of crying it out and of course, it worked. We will see how tonight goes.

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Originally, it was time to decorate our Christmas tree at home tonight. But, I volunteered to work and it ended up being late. By the time I got home, we were not really feeling the idea of putting together tree and stringing the lights and such. So, luckily, Grammy and Papa came and picked Punky up to decorate their Christmas tree with them and her cousins.

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When I got home, she was very much ready to open her envelope. So, while the countdown isn’t going like I had planned, she’s still experiencing Christmas activities every day, which was the goal of the countdown. AND, I really do appreciate family members helping making her holidays special.

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Today she pulled out jellybeans again. Day 8 was not as planned, but still pretty darn successful.

Day 7: Walking Through WhoVille with Mommy

Originally, we were supposed to go to Christmas in the Park. In our location, it’s a place where you drive through the park and they have big light scenes and decorations. We will still do that, but I was shopping yesterday and I came across a flyer on their classified boards.

A local church down the road was putting on a Who-bilation Celebration in their church. We don’t usually frequent churches, as we all know, but this looked like something right up our alley, what with the Dr. Seuss theme we have started with Punky.

So, we pulled out her birthday dress, and it still fits, so she and I made an appearance at the church and pranced around the WhoVille streets.

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They had all sorts of games and candy and picture ops. She got her picture taken by complete strangers, but I figured, perhaps it was fine, since her pictures are all over the internet now, huh. Anyway – she got to go into the bakery and the cupcake shop, decorating with lots of icing and sprinkles.

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After about an hour of hanging out with all the WhoVille people, we took a few pictures with the backdrops they had all over the church hallways. The Grinch was running around stealing cookies and cupcakes throughout the halls, but she was not really interested in him.

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By the end of the night, we were tuckered out. We stopped to get Mama some dinner and headed on home, hopped up on all the Christmas sugar we were given at the party!

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Before we headed out for the evening, Mama and I put her new big girl bed together. So she was able to come home, change into her pirate pjs, open up her envelope on her bed and see that she had a new car hidden inside of it!

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We are going to see how it goes with her sleeping in her new big girl bed. So far, she loves it and she hasn’t really gotten out of it. I must admit, she has slept in it before, because we got the bed from Grammy and Papa. She is familiar with the bed, but she very cute in the bed. I am interested to see how she does tonight.

Let me just say … my baby looks so big in that bed! I am starting to get more sentimental as the year goes on. She’s going to be two in March and just watching her sit and lay in the big girl bed, makes me super emotional!

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I just want to keep her as small as she is. She is mimicking more, she’s talking more, she’s learning so much, so fast!

In other news, Kim and I downloaded the application for our marriage license. We filled it out and we are looking into getting this under way soon! We definitely need to get married before my work benefits kick in around June, so she can be covered on my insurance properly.

We just have to get the trip scheduled for our five hour journey to Iowa. We need to get this application to a notary and mail it in. Then we can go to Iowa, hopefully with a two witnesses and a minister. We got more planning to do, but we are getting closer!

Day 7 for this Christmas Countdown is definitely a hit.

DIY – Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar (Non-Religious) For Toddlers

I know, two posts in one day, but I’m just so damn proud of myself right now. I have been looking for a way to countdown the days until Christmas with Punky. However, I didn’t want to use one of the religious advent calendars that are geared towards the birth of Jesus or scriptures from the Bible.

This year, I just wanted to focus on activities that we can do as a family. Little things every day that we can do together, either in the house or out.

So, I made my own. I didn’t really want to buy one, I wanted it to be special to our family. And, we all know that I have an Etsy shop for digital design, so I hopped onto Photoshop and made up some cute little Christmas Countdown cards and took some fun ideas from Pinterest as well as from mine and Kim’s family traditions growing up.

I decided to do a step by step, in case someone wants to make their own. I think ours is definitely geared towards little ones. Small children or toddlers who may or may not yet understand the meaning of Christmas, but are small minds ready and willing to be molded. A great time to start teaching by example and forming great traditions for years to come!

Without further ado, here’s a tutorial for you! My very first ever DIY post on the interwebs!

Optional: All the cards and numbers I used in ours are here. Feel free to use them, though they are geared toward our location and our family specifically, most of them can be used for just about anyone.

What You Need: Scrapbook paper (8X8), ribbons, craft scissors, regular scissors, self laminating pouches, hole punch, tape/glue stick

Step 1:

IMG_2799I got some funky and pretty scrapbook paper that I wanted to turn into paper envelopes. I am working with a toddler here, so no need to get fancy with my envelopes. This was the simplest envelope tutorial I could find. And while they weren’t all uniform, it doesn’t matter, she’s not even two yet.

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Pick out the design you want

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Turn it design face down and at a diagonal angle.

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Fold the two corners in – so that they meet in the middle and tape the intersection.

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Fold the bottom section up to the intersection in the middle and tape both sides down.

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Fold the top section down to the middle intersection and crease the paper, but do not tape.

Make 24 little envelopes like this. You can use all the same colors or a color scheme. I just liked the random and the pretty.

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Step 2:

Cut out your numbers. I used fun craft scissors to spice up the edges, you can cut straight edges as well. Totally up to you. You can also simply write the numbers on the outside of the envelopes if you don’t want to download the numbers.

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Step 3:

Attach the number to the outside of the envelope. Make sure you tape it down or glue it down really well. Leave top flap open.

IMG_2809Step 4:

You can write your own activities, get on the computer and make up some cute cards like the ones in the download link or you can use the ones I have made and used. If you opt to make your own, I used a 4X2 dimension and that made it easy to fit in the envelopes. Either way, cut them out and get them ready to go.

IMG_2811Step 5:

You also don’t have to laminate, but since I’m working with a toddler, I really wanted a way to make the cards durable. So, I laminated and cut them out. TIP: If you haven’t ever used the self laminating pouches, make sure you leave room on either side of your card so you can cut them out. Also, don’t cut at the edge of the card, leave a small amount of laminate around the edges otherwise the backs will fall off!

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Step 6:

Put your cards in the envelopes. I tried to decide which day of the week and the dates of things. I wanted to make sure if we were going out somewhere, it was mostly on the weekend or if it was a night I had to work, we would be staying home to do things. Strategies are key in my life, I would assume for anyone with a toddler, the same would be the case. Anyway, my cards went into their envelope homes with very much planning behind it.

IMG_2813Step 7:

Hole punch a corner of the envelope. Be careful not to hole punch with the numbers upside down or hole punch through your cute little card.

IMG_2814Step 8:

String the envelopes onto a pretty ribbon. I just used a sparkly silver ribbon I had in my craft/party planning supplies. Nothing too fancy. I chose to string it from 24 down to 1, because I intended Punky to pull from the bottom. Make sure you decide which end you want to start on and work backwards when you string the envelopes.

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Tada! Beautiful, cheap and toddler proof countdown to Christmas. I plan to add a few little chocolate or candy treats in some of the envelopes, small toys and surprises as well. I know a laminated card with words on it, will not hold her attention, but if she gets a treat or a present every day, she is sure to be excited about her first ever Christmas Countdown Calendar.

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I hope to make it more festive in this corner later in the week!

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I’m pretty excited to see her open her first card. I hope doing things like this will instill in her the magic and the excitement kids have for Christmas. You know, some people don’t want to “lie to their kids” about Christmas and allow their children to believe in imaginary people (don’t get me started on the Christian reason for the season), but I say, why invite the stress and the worry. I love the idea of giving my kid an imaginative and magical holiday.

And what better way to do that than to spend time doing something fun and geared towards Christmas every day of December leading up to the holiday!