Crafting Holiday Memories

— Written By and last updated by Denese Prevatte

Provided by Shea Ann DeJarnette
Extension 4-H Agent

For many of us, holidays mean food, family, and days away from work. While we may be thinking of kicking back to read a book or taking a nap, our children would rather do anything else and will often let you know. Movies, video games, and the Internet are often the quick solution to keeping their attention. This year, think about doing something with them a little more lasting. The following ideas are some holiday favorites that will make long-lasting family memories for you and your children.

Cooking Decorating –My grandmother baked sugar cookies every year, and my grandfather and I got to ice them. Now I have to admit, she had to make extra frosting every time, because we often “accidentally” frosted our fingers and were forced to lick it from our finger tips, meaning there wasn’t ever quite enough to decorate the cookies with. Although early on, she made the cookies from scratch; later on, she rolled out refrigerator dough and cut it. No matter how they were made, the cookies were fantastic, because they came from Grams and were a tradition we always had. Even if you are not a baker, think about getting some refrigerator cookies that you can pop in the oven together. A little decorator’s sugar, red hots, or even cookie markers can make an incredibly creative and edible treat and memories.

Ornament Making — My craftiness came later in life. During summer camp, I was introduced to all sorts of neat craft skills but never got to practice them. Thanks to some creative folks I work with and the Internet, I have had a chance to enhance my skills and find a little hobby to relax with. A few years ago, I even got my mom to help me with crafting ornaments, and she had a ball. We blew up water balloons and haphazardly wrapped string around them. Leaving lots of holes in the final product, we painted slightly watered down glue on it and sprinkled them with glitter. Letting them dry overnight, we popped the balloons and what was left was a really cool little ornament or ball that could be used as decorations around the house. My mother, to this day, cannot figure out where I got this crafty gene, but she likes to do a little crafting every Christmas with me now.

Games — Remember board games? I realize in comparison to video games, board games may seem lackluster. The great thing about them is you have to talk with the people you are playing with, face to face. A skill that many of our youth do not get to practice these days thanks to technology. Many board games require math, communication, and critical thinking skills. They also require those playing to develop sportsmanship skills. May just be worth pulling out the board games. You never know what you may learn.

Playing Outside — I realize we haven’t seen snow yet. If we do, imagine going out and helping your child build a snow fort, start a snowball fight, or build a snowman. Besides, the old-fashioned snow angels, a dear friend recently introduced me to snow cream, snow painting, and snow sculpting. There is a ton of fun to be had outside when the white stuff falls, so think about getting a little cold and wet; the memories may be worth it.

Where can you find some of these fun ideas? Before your downtime, think about the things you did as a child. What were the memories you have with your family? Repeat some of those. Children often love to hear the stories of how you did things with grandma and grandpa and will share them for years to come. One of my favorite resources for crafts and baking these days is the Internet. There are great ideas from folks with tips on how to make things a little easier. When it comes to games, often on the top shelf of the closet are my favorite board games that come out when the time is right for something a little silly. No matter what you do this holiday season, we hope you and yours have a safe and happy time together.

For more information, please contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, Extension 4-H Agent, at 910-671-3276 or by E-mail at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.