Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 50
December 14, 2002

Happy Holidays!

This issue would have come out sooner but a particularly mean and nasty strain of flu hit us last week and derailed me a bit.  I hope you're enjoying the holidays.  Here's a little of this and a little of that in the spirit of the season.......

Mitten people!
Here's a darling craft using mismatched mittens and a few odds and ends....

3-D Snowflakes
These little paper treasures can be hung around the room for a sweet winter decoration.

Glittery Snowflake

Make a snowflake with fabric paint and glitter - makes a great window cling.

Materials Needed:
Fabric paint

Cut a snowflake out of paper. You can also cut one out of a magazine or print out a graphic from your computer. Make sure the snowflake can fit in the baggie.  Put your snowflake inside the baggie. Trace the outline of your snowflake on the outside of the baggie using the Fabric paint. Sprinkle with glitter. Set aside to dry.  Once the paint
is dry, you can peel your paint snowflake off the baggie.

From the HS Linkletter


Here are a couple of my favorite sites for holiday gift mixes:

Alicia's country kitchen jar recipes (nope, not me!)

Here's lots of goodies-- apple muffin, blueberry scones, chocolate waffles....
plus soups, sauces and more...


Special occasion dishes for special diets....

Cooking for vegetarians or kids with allergies?  Here are some sites with recipes to make sure nobody is deprived of goodies!

Vegan holiday cookie recipes (vegetarian with no eggs or dairy)

Vegetarian and vegan holiday recipes's gluten free cookie, bread and cake recipes:


A craft a month, gift idea...

"My daughter-in-law suggested a great gift for me to do for my homeschooled granddaughters. I went on the web and printed off craft ideas, coloring pages, and many other things. I then
bought the ingredients for the crafts. This will be their Christmas present. I spent maybe $50 for the three girls in Wal-Mart for the craft items. I used dividers and found something for every month. The craft book includes Origami suggestions, Wizard of Oz coloring pages, and many other things. The web is full of many craft ideas. Just have fun doing it. I will cover the notebook with fabric to make it pretty. This should last for a long time."
Natalie T. of Meeker, Co.
From the Dollar Stretcher newsletter,


Make your own crystal kits!

We've all seen those $20 kits where kids can grow their own crystals.  Here's the instructions on how to make your own.  Why not package up the ingredients and instructions with some glass jars so kids can design their own-- colors and all!  Note:  kids will need adult help with this project.


Easy homemade gifts:

Layered cookie or brownie mixes in decorated jars

Bath salts in a glass jar with a cloth tied on the lid (easy recipe:  several cups of epsom salts, a few drops food coloring and essential oil, a cup of baking soda-- see last year's Dec. newsletter for more ideas)

Felt or lace hand prints (trace child's) filled with scented potpourri, and stitched together with a ribbon for hanging

Let the kids decorate a plain, light colored tie with fabric paint, pens or crayons (Yes, they make fabric crayons!  Crayola is one manufacturer.  Check your local craft store.).

Use your computer graphics program to enlarge digital photos and turn them to gray scale (black and white).  Print them out and bind them into a family coloring book for little ones.

Better yet, create a personal uncoloring book.  Use a blank journal or bind blank sheets of paper and print descriptions on the bottom of each page such as "This is a picture of my dog, Pepper" or "This is how I feel inside when I'm happy."  Fill some pages with questionnaires and fun lists (my best friends, my favorite things to do on Saturday, things I'd like to be when I'm grown up....).

Get iron-on printer paper from a crafts store and make personalized sweatshirts for loved ones from photos or children's artwork.  Let the kids use fabric paint around the border to make it even more artistic.

Purchase a cheap clock (new or used) with a white face and take the top off.  Remove the paper face.  Let kids put hand prints or art on the face and replace the lid.  You can further embellish the clock with plastic jewels, foam shapes or other nifty items glued around the outside.

For last year's crafts, gift ideas and holiday goodies, check out these two 2001 Magical Childhood newsletters.  I was far less pregnant and it has far more stuff.  <G>

For more sophisticated, beautiful (but still child friendly) crafts, check out the Martha Stewart children's crafts:;amp;navLevel=3&amp;amp;navHistory=cat2%2Bcat242&amp;amp;site=

Make your own stampers (great for making lots of holiday cards or gift tags):


Here's a fun gift that you and the kids can make for loved ones.  Take a blank videotape and cover the jacket with children's artwork or contact paper with a personal message about the recipient.  Stick a hand-designed label on the tape with a title like "Grandma's tape" or "Jeremy's Own Video."  Then use your camcorder (or borrow a friend's) to tape an assortment of things just for the person.  Some suggestions are:

For grandparents:  Have each child say hi and then sing a song, do a dance, or put on a little performance.  Interview all the family members you can and have them talk about favorite memories and such.  Encourage kids and adults alike to share what they love about them.

For babies and toddlers:  Record yourself and loved ones reading favorite books, plus lots of footage of themselves.  Children love to watch themselves!  Also include footage of babies, animals and playing.  Sing songs and do dances with the kids and put that on, too.  Tell them how much you love them and finish with sleepier, calm stuff like lullabies and restful stories.

For mom or dad: Have each child in charge of his or her own segment.  Kids can talk about all the reasons they love mom or dad, favorite memories from the year, etc.  Include lots of sentimental stuff and also fun stuff like ask the kids questions (What do you think mom's favorite food is?  What does daddy do for a living?) to record their child-like views.

For older kids:  Make it sentimental, even if they won't admit to treasure it for years.  Interview family members about what the child is like right now, what they're proud of her for, etc.  Try to get some of their friends to talk on the tape too.  Tape their favorite things, from their bedrooms to clothes to the dog.  Add lots of humor.  Leave a little room at the end and after you give it to them, allow them to tape the finish to record what they're like at this age too.


Fun crafts for the holidays.....

There are tons of pages of paper crafts, coloring sheets and holiday crafts out there on every kid site.  I won't add more to the list here, but I will offer up some easy (instruction free) holiday ideas.....

~ String popcorn and hang it outside for the birds.
~ Make paper chains - for more pizzazz, use wrapping paper or ribbon.
~  In cold climates, freeze berries, pine boughs, pine cones, colored water and other nifties in fun shaped molds (bundt cake pans make a good wreath shape) to decorate the yard. Pour water on the outside to unmold.
~  Make tortilla snowflakes by folding tortillas in fourths and snipping small shapes.  Sandwich together with a whole tortilla and spread the middle with cheese, peanut butter, flavored cream cheese, refried beans, etc.
~ Make tons of paper snowflakes to hang in windows and around the house.
~  Make veggie print gift wrap.  Use cut potatoes with shapes cut in, green pepper halves, star fruit or whatever else you have on hand.
~  Wrap pictures in wrapping paper and rehang.
~  Let kids turn old ornaments into new art with craft paint and brushes, ribbons and glue, sequins, buttons, and anything else available.
~  Make easy, whimsical frames by gluing old puzzle pieces to cardboard frames (cereal boxes work great) and gluing a photo inside.  Kids can paint the puzzle pieces or color them with markers, or leave as is.  Attach a magnet to the back or a string for hanging.
~  Have a creative wreath contest.  Challenge the kids to make wreaths out of the most unusual things they can think of.  You can cut out a ring shape from a cardboard box as a base, if necessary.  Just make sure they know what items are off limits if there's glue involved!
~  Trace kids' hands on craft foam and cut out.  Write their names and ages, and let them decorate them.  Punch a hole in top and thread ribbon through. They can use them as ornaments or drop a couple of drops of essential oil on them to make air fresheners for gifts.
~  Use ribbon or cording and a couple of jingle bells to make jingle bell anklets.  These are great fun to dance in and make all day musical and fun.
~  Take one of those free calendars everybody's giving away this time of year and let the kids personalize it.  Glue plain paper over the pictures and give them markers, crayons, paints or whatever to create a year of one-of-a-kind art.
~  Make ornaments for the birds.  Cut stale bread into holiday shapes with cookie cutters, poke a hole in the top, spread with peanut butter and sprinkle with bird seed.  Hang from the trees and see if you can spot any feathered visitors coming for a treat.
~  Mix tempera paint with dish soap to make washable window paint for the kids to decorate the windows.
~  Dip pretzels in melted almond bark or chocolate for the world's easiest and tastiest holiday treat.  White chocolate is my favorite!  Let the kids sprinkle colored sugar on top to make it extra festive.  Another easy one-- sandwich creamy peanut butter between round crackers and dunk in white or dark chocolate almond bark.  Yum!

Solstice Celebration...

The winter solstice is the shortest day (and longest night) of the year.  This year, it's December 21.  To commemorate it one year, we used a fun little ceremony I found online that we adapted.  After dark, we turned out all the lights in the house but one and gathered at the table.  We lit a candle, turned out the last light, and talked about the seasons, the sun, and how tonight was the longest night of the year.  The kids blew out the candle and we said, "But the light was still there" and lit the candle again.  Then we said that the days were now going to get longer and the sun was coming back, and we ran through the house turning on every light and shouting some nonsense about the sun.  :)  It's a fun little ritual that the girls enjoyed. Since I'm a garden nut and love my summers, it's a nice reminder for me too that we'll have more than 42 minutes of daylight soon enough.  <G>


10 Ways to Make Today Magical.... holiday style

1.  Camp out under the Christmas tree overnight.

2.  Give each child a small amount of money and go shopping for the food shelf.  Let them choose what they buy, reminding them to look for stuff they'd want to eat but also that they can get a lot more by buying inexpensive items.  Go together to the food shelf or drop off spot.

3.  Go for a drive to see holiday lights.  Better yet, park and walk.

4.  See if your church or neighborhood groups are going Christmas caroling, or put together your own group and visit a few neighbors.

5.  Make gingerbread people.

6. Take in a concert at a nearby school or community center.

7.  Dress up in holiday colors and/or fancy clothes for everyday stuff.  Add curling ribbon to the kids' hair (and yours!), wear necklaces made from small ornaments, and generally dress to the nines.

8.  Make time regularly through the season to turn off all the noise, gather with the kids and read scripture that moves you, say prayers or concentrate on your spirituality in a meaningful way.

9.  Have a red and green meal.

10. Forget about all the "gottas" and live the season through children's eyes again.  Drink egg nog, sing along badly to carols, sit in the dark and watch the tree, get something flashy for the yard or the door, wear one red and one green sock, tell absolutely everybody "Happy holidays" when you're out, smile extra, buy yourself a present, make crafts with the kids, play in the snow (or in the sprinkler), light candles, give donations, look at the stars, dance in the kitchen, be goofy with the kids, wink at Santa, say thank you, watch Rudolph, slow down, and enjoy the beauty and the holiness of this amazing world.


And with that, folks, I'm finally sending this off and wishing you all the best holiday season.  It's a magical world and a magical time of year.  Enjoy!


A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2002, Alicia Bayer

A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and those who love them.  To subscribe, send a message to  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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