- Holidays and Celebrations
Making Memorable Moments
Unforgettably FUN :o)
The holidays are fast approaching (or at least they were when I wrote this lens!) and holiday lenses are popping up left and right. Although I wanted to make a holiday lens, I didn't want to just follow the crowd. It took me a bit, but then I remembered the lenswriter's motto: Write what you know. With that thought foremost in my mind, I have decided to do my holiday lens on...
Birthdays and holidays are times of celebration; sometimes they are the best time to sneak in an added dash of fun to make those memories even more special. Over the years I've come up with an idea or two to give those special days that unexpected twist. The kind of twist that results in fond memories that are laughingly retold again and again. Of course there's also the fact that I just love to pull a fast one. Don't you?
The idea is to make it fun, NOT to drive your kid all the way up the wall (no matter how tempting it is :o)
Do you like to have a little festivity fun?
Here are a few of my slickest and quickest to get you started...
Please Note: I try very hard never to lie to my children, and sneakiness is no exception!
Bricks are Quick - We have a doorstop that someone made for us a long time ago; it's just a brick that's wrapped with batting, covered with needlepoint on the top and four sides, and felted on the bottom. I stuck it in with a pair of cowboy boots for my husband one year - I swear that man can be worse than the kids for poking and shaking (it was very effective, I might add :o) Bricks are easy to find and pretty darn handy to add some weight to a lighter item. If you don't happen to have a covered doorstop, wrap your brick up in a piece of fabric. Just make sure you don't put it in with something easily breakable. You could also put the brick at the bottom of a larger box and then put the gift in a second smaller box. Be sure to wrap them both, of course!
Bend your Box - One year our son desperately wanted a pair of roller blades. Because the box they come in is fairly large, I was in a bit of a pickle trying to figure out where on earth I was going to hide it. I was burning up a fair number of brain cells (which I can ill afford) pondering this terrible dilemma when inspiration struck. Grabbing some masking tape, I stood the box up on one end, pulled the other apart and bent one flap in half to form an upside down "V" taping it securely in place. Once wrapped, it looked exactly like a child's dollhouse (heh heh heh). I passed it off to our son and asked him (in a conspiratorial whisper) to, "Please hide this on the top shelf of your closet, I don't want your sister to see it". Of course I didn't actually want her to see ANY of the presents before Christmas...
Shake, Rattle and Roll - This one worked very well on our son when he was in high school. He wanted a letter jacket for football, but they were terribly expensive and we were not sure we would be able to get the order in on time. We managed to order one on the sly and with his busy schedule, we were able to sneak it into the house without his knowledge. I knew, however, that he would be poking and shaking so I had to figure out a way to stump him. I got a scarf box (they are very thin) and filled it full of paper clips, thumbtacks, and small binder clips. I taped it closed and then, because I figured he'd get a kick out of it, wrote "Nosey Kid Camo Kit" with a thick Sharpie across the front of the box. I tucked it carefully inside the jacket, and when shaken it sounded exactly like the pieces to a board game. He had to admit, it worked great :o)
Fun with Numbers
and other ideas
Evens and Odds - We gave the kids a computer one year for Christmas; we always made it a point to try to save "the big stuff" for last. Not wanting them to figure it out I wrapped each component separately, put numbers on them and hid them in easy to find spots throughout the house. I think we ended up with six items (two were mouse pads as they each got their own). One was responsible to find all the odd numbered packages, and the other even. They were to bring them back as they found them and put them in numerical order. They had a lot of fun searching for their presents, and we had plenty of our own just watching them.
Stickers and Stuff - I never label stocking gifts. I either use different colored tissue paper or put different stickers on each set to keep them separate. Sometimes I'll fill up the stockings and then hide any "leftovers". Because we open stockings first and then stop to eat breakfast, one of my biggest anticipatory favorites is to wrap batteries and put them in the stocking. The kids then get to spend a little time wondering what marvelous item might be waiting for them underneath the tree that requires batteries.
Whose is whose?? - One time I wrapped the kid's presents in two separate sets of coordinating papers and did not put tags on any of the gifts. Makes it kind of tough to creep around under the tree trying to "cheat" when you haven't the first clue which ones you should poke or shake :o)
Another year we bought our daughter a basketball hoop. Because they were so expensive, I had cautioned her not to expect one (happily, I came across one on sale for a great price). I wrapped it in the parking lot of the store, then had my daughter help me unload it when I got home. I asked her to help me "hide" it behind the tree. Since we had been discussing grills all week (a group present between grownups for her dad), she jumped to the erroneous conclusion that the humongous box contained a grill. After all, why else would mom get her to help sneak it into the house? Why else indeed. Heh, heh, heh...Gotcha.
Need some great "all purpose" software? - This is what I use for my stickers and just about everything else, it's terrific!
This is my all time favorite software for just about everything. I can copy and paste names done in Creative Lettering (shown further down this lens) to make some spectacular gift tags.
Gift bags can be fun too...of course wrapping the gift before putting it in the bag helps to draw out that marvelous sense of anticipation :o)
Look at these neat reusable bags I found! - They even come in three sizes (awesome :o)
Instead of writing the numbers directly on the bags, make cute little tags and attach them to the bags with curling ribbon in different colors to match birthday or Christmas.
- REMEMBER -
Be careful to match both your child's personality and the party environment (you don't want to cause humiliation or hurt feelings!)
The Treasure Hunt
Maps Made by Mom
This is great for middle schoolers or an elementary school child who is a strong reader. We did this with our son when he was in elementary school. We gave him a starting place (put a paper X on the floor) and sent him in various directions throughout the house with a silly task attached to each place. It went something like this:
Go to the dining room and stop at the head of the table. Hop on one foot while spelling MISSISSIPPI, then smile big if you got it right. Check the chair seats underneath the table. Nothing? Rats! Okay, go into the hall bathroom and give us a nice big Tarzan yell (wait for applause). Now peek in the shower. Not there either?? Darn, this is hard!! Let's try the...
We gave him one or two more places to check before he wound up back in the living room to look under the coffee table (while he was off performing his treasure hunt tasks, we snuck his last present out from hiding and placed it there). My favorite part was the impromptu spelling test: he had his face scrunched up and eyes tightly shut in massive concentration while hopping and spelling (never even dawned on him to just read it off the paper, which was still in his hand :o)
Birthdays are easy as 1-2-3
A Piece of the Puzzle - Some time ago, I came across these nifty little things called puzzle cards at Michael's. They were plain white and about the same size as a postcard. You wrote your note or message across the card and then broke it apart and mailed it in the special envelope provided. Not having any particular use for it at the time, I made a "mental note" and continued shopping. It occurs to me, however, that this would be a really fun and unique way to give a clue to an older child about a present. Particularly those that like to put puzzles together (we love 'em!)
Now that I think about it, even though this year's birthday surprise is over (see below) Christmas is creeping over the horizon and still in the planning stages.
Hmmmmm, now there's an idea I can get behind....
Surprises Inside - Besides the traditional method of wrapping boxes inside boxes, sometimes it's fun to wrap part of a present (especially if it's weird :o) Maybe you've decided to give your child a puppy for their birthday (hopefully adopted from a local shelter). Instead of just giving them the puppy, wrap up the collar or a box of puppy treats for a young child or some heart worm medicine if they're older (now that should really stump them).
I will never forget the look of puzzled confusion on my daughter's face one year when she opened a brightly wrapped package to reveal a long brown belt-looking thing with two strange snappy things on either end. Brows furrowed, eyes squinted in fierce concentration you could almost see the wheels turning at a furious speed. Wanting to express her appreciation for her gift of a - what? belt?? piece of rope??? After all, this strange looking gift from her parents who love her should probably something to be happy about, right? It was a delight to watch that bulb come on when she held it by the snaps folded in half; Hey wait, these look kinda like reins. Reins go to a bridle and a bridle goes on a......horse!!!!! A horse? A HORSE? Do these come with a Horse???? Oh, my GOODNESS...
Gotcha REAL good this time, didn't we? :o)
Fun fonts for tags to spice up your gifts - I love my Creative Lettering CDs!
Counting Down - (to gotcha ;o)
PHOTO LEFT: Type out a short script (pretty paper is optional) and then fold it into one of those little "footballs" the kids in middle and high school relish thumping across the room when they have a substitute. Put it in a small box and wrap it. Tuck the small wrapped box into a larger box and bury under a mound of packing peanuts (recycled of course :o) and then wrap that box. My script (what she was reading on the blue paper) went something like this:
DD: Do you mean to tell me that I went to all the trouble of unwrapping this doggone thing, and all there is in this stupid box is a lousy piece of paper???
Mom: Well at least it's a pretty color! Okay, okay, ask me for my car keys (don't forget to say please) and go look on the front seat of my car. Bring back to the table what you find there (and NO peeking!).
PHOTO LEFT/PHOTO CENTER: You can, of course, choose to end the fun here. Depending on the child''s age and ability to take a joke, this might be the best place to stop. As a high school senior with a terrific sense of humor, however, I felt that our daughter could perhaps take just a little bit more needling... A brightly colored envelope on the seat in question (brought back into the restaurant and opened at the table) yielded a second, shorter script before she received the real location of her gift. It went something like this:
DD: Oh my goodness, she did it AGAIN! *Rolls Eyes*...Mooooooooooooooom!!!
This was, to her grandmother's hilarity, exactly what my daughter said and did the minute she opened the envelope and pulled out another piece of paper (my mother was seated next to her, reading the typewritten response the moment it happened and laughed 'til she cried :o)
Mom: Oh dear, did I say front seat? I'm sorry, I meant to say look on the floor of the back seat (try the Jeffer's bag) *grin*.1
PHOTO RIGHT: Of course no birthday meal in a public restaurant could possibly be considered complete without the obligatory birthday chant; fired off at a very impressive volume by the entire wait staff (hey, she's gotta have something to tell her shrink when she gets older right?) For those of you that may be operating under the erroneous assumption she suffered, move back up and check out the laughing grin just visible underneath her hand in the third photo (besides, she got to eat cake and ice cream for dessert - what could be better than that? :o)
I know what's next on my agenda - Christmas clues with puzzle cards! Mwah-ha-ha-ha...
Check it out! Now I can make all the cards I want. Cooooooool! Using the puzzlemaking die cut, you can actually make your own puzzles using heavy duty cardstock. I think clues written on easy to assemble puzzles would be great fun on a hunt, don't you?
Hmmmm...I've already got the die cut machine, markers, and heavy duty cardstock paper, so all I need now is the actual die cut (and isn't it marvelously handy Sizzix just happens to have an outlet on Amazon? :o)