Wednesday, December 5, 2012

$100 Christmas -- That Sounds Nice!

My husband and I worked out our schedule for the weekend today.  Which times we'd have as a family, which individual, which would he work.  And I had one request, that either with or without the kids (they can be a challenge to get going in the AM), I wanted to attended services at Prairie UU this Sunday.  The topic is keeping the winter holidays simple -- the working title is a $100 Christmas.  Ahhh, just what I need.  Reinforcement that I am not alone, and possible inspiration on how to make ours just a little bit less chaotic.

How do you keep your holidays simple?  What have you cut out? Added?  Is this a goal?

One trick I picked up this year was homemade tree ornaments.  The kids whipped up a batch today with our nanny, whom I think of as our own private pre-school teacher.  While I love the idea of homemade ornaments, I know all to well that I am not the adult to supervise said production.  I can read Dr. Seuss for hours, color until the cows come home, but crafts are not my thing.  Thankfully we have Katie!  Today they made cut out ornaments, tomorrow they will paint them, and Friday I'll help them figure out which ones we'll give and which ones we'll keep for our tree.  The recipe arrived in a newsletter from another UU church in Madison, where we also belong (long story).  Here it is:
Salt Dough Ornaments [come back tomorrow or Friday for photos of the finished product]
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Combine salt and flour, then add water until dough is elastic.  Add oil, knead.  Once it is in a good condition, flatten and use holiday cookie cutters to make festive shapes.  Bake at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Poke a hole for adding a ribbon or yarn, then decorate.
Note: this made a huge batch.  So much that each child had nearly a dozen ornaments, plus another round of dough.  The plan is to make balls, flatten, and put a palm print of each child for his/her room.

And there you have one very simply approach to keeping the winter holidays simple.  Gentle on the earth, our pocket book, and our health by limiting stress and anxiety.

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