Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lessons Learned from Last Year's Plan December

We had our First Annual December 1st Christmas Party last night; it was a lot of fun. I think it will become a tradition. It was very low-key; it was just me and the kids and our good friends-not big enough to cause me undue stress. We ate pizza. I know that's not traditionally thought of as a Christmas food, however, if you order one with something green on it (we got arugula on ours) is very red-white-and-green Christmas-y.

I made a veggie tray with red, white and green veggies and then for dessert we did chocolate fondue. All very simple.

We watched Elf, sang a few songs using the bells and watched the lighting of the huge floating Christmas tree with its associated fireworks. Lots of fun.

Here's what I learned from last year's Plan December and how I am improving upon it this year:

1) December is a busy month.

Last year I tried in advance to say which project we were going to do on which day. Then things came up that I wasn’t expecting, or it was just a super long day and the project I had planned was too much for that particular day. And if it was on the calendar and we didn’t do it my kids were sorely disappointed.

This year I have greatly improved upon this. I made printouts of possible things we could do (using photos that included the kids where applicable), laminated them and stuck them up on the wall:

As we do the activities, we move them to the other side of the wall next to the advent calendar:

Doing it this way is better because:

1. The kids LOVE looking at the pictures
2. Because they are laminated I can reuse them each year (oh how I love laminating)
3. I can easily add more activities, or not display ones that will not be feasible during a certain year
4. We can pick an activity that is suitable for that given day.

2) Teacher gifts

Last year we made homemade cocoa in Mason jars for all of the teachers. It was cute but, it’s summer here so I don’t think anyone is going to want cocoa. And, I remember it being a little stressful-an activity that HAD to get done but that the kids abandoned after 5 minutes leaving a stressed out mom to finish the task.

So, this year I bought all of the teachers stuff from B@th and Body Works in July at the half-yearly sale. I got some smokin’ deals. That might not be so cool in the States where everybody knows how cheap you can gets stuff for, but here in Brazil, imported products like that are like gold.

To involve the kids, they will wrap the gifts and make cards for their teachers.

Ahhhh, much easier.

3) Crafts

Last year I scoured Family Fun’s website (which I totally heart) for cute crafts and then spent days out searching for the supplies (no Michael or Hobby Lobby anywhere in Mexico City). The shopping is even more limited here in Brazil so this year I ordered about 6 different crafts from I ordered enough so that the kids can pass out an ornament to each classmate at school.

I’m pretty sure these 3 changes will reduce my stress level quite a bit this year and for years to come.

In my next post I'll innumerate all of our activities.



utmommy said...

Glad your party was fun and not stressful.

Your improved plan sounds wonderful!

No Cool Story said...

I watching Elf right now :)

I love all your plans! You are so organized and crafty.
I had not even heard of arugula in my whole life. Then when I did hear of it (about a month ago) I thought it was a joke.

Janice said...

In last year's plan December, "Sleep by the tree" was one item. We tried it and it was a miserable sleepless night for all. So, personally,we removed that item this year. :)

txmommy said...

that is the best idea, you are the coolest rockin-est mom ever. Love the laminated idea!

Jules said...

My kids are LOVING our Plan December (so am I). I took your tips from when we talked and left it more open ended instead of calendaring it. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Anonymous said...

I want to know what all of your fun activities with pictures are. That is a great idea by the way. I tried to do a paper chain with an activity on it one year and it didn't work because we didn't always want to do that thing that day. I love that you have figured out a way to simplify your activities, but still do them. When I get overwhelmed I just completely scratch things off my list and don't do them. Way to go for figuring out something that works for you and your family.