A few weeks ago, I shared with you the wonderful cards we had printed last year from Minted. I recently received our 2013 cards in the mail and I just had to share them with you!
The cards feature the wonderful photos by Sarah Jane Photography, as I featured in my last post, and let me tell you, it was no easy choice as to which pictures to use! As much as I love the full sized photo shots in some card designs, I could use just one photo when there were so many nice ones to choose from! The design I used is called Cherished.
The card design I chose had a ton of customizable colours and options – from the sayings to the envelopes and even the option to print addresses. I was really tempted by the new foil-pressed cards… maybe next year! I love that you can preview them! Aren’t they cute?!
Yesterday I was invited to the launch of Christmas at Canada Place for 2013, getting a chance to preview the free holiday activities. Aiden brought along one of his best buds for the event, plus we left the Dads at home with the younger kids, so it was quite the treat for them! It was so nice to be able to really give Aiden the attention of the night.
Christmas at Canada place is held ‘outdoors’, but in the covered parking area, so it was quite warm. We started our night with a little skating on the artificial ice, which kept our boys going for nearly a full hour. Both boys were up on their skates in minutes, neither having really skated before. The artificial ice was a great introduction to skating and really boosted their confidence. It was so cute to see them skate around, happily falling and crashing without getting wet or cold.
After dragging them off the ice, we went for a train ride on the mini train, noting the familiar face of the conductor who runs the Polar Express each year. We checked out the animatronics of the Woodward’s Windows, made a cute reindeer craft and lined up to meet Santa. Both kids balked at meeting Santa this time, but thankfully we have other scheduled Santa visits.
We had a fantastic night, though I do wish the hot chocolate had been closer to the skating area, since us moms could have enjoyed that during the skating! By the time we got to that area, it was too late to give the boys that kind of treat.
It is so great that this event is provided for free, as so many Christmas activities are not. Though they suggest a $2 donation for the skates and for the train rides, it is still one of the most frugal family-friendly Christmas activities in the Vancouver area. Check out the website for full details on hours and musical performances.
As I mentioned, Aiden really got into the Christmas craft thing. Actually, I think Christmas helped Aiden get into crafts overall, as his interest in crafts has increased since the holidays. Although Aiden still does not enjoy drawing or painting, almost never initiating these activities even when prompted, he does enjoy guided activities or activities with props: stickers, glitter glue, cutting, gluing, etc. We made many crafts of his own initiative including a huge variety of sticker-adorned Christmas trees and candy canes – he did a lot of practice with his scissors in cutting them out (with a little guided help turning the paper)!
In addition to the activities he led, I put together some crafts that I saw on Pinterest. If you look to my Christmas board, you’ll see the instructions for some of the crafts below… and MANY more you can make for next year! I made several of the handprint snowmen ornaments as gift-toppers – though Aiden’s only contribution was the handprint. Still, quite cute. The beading was good for his fine motor skills and he seemed to quite enjoy it. The fingerprint stamping made his fingers dirty, which he isn’t fond of, so it was a mixed-result one for us. Stamping in general, however, was a big win and we sent out MANY cards with stamps.
Aiden actually did a card exchange with his friends this year, sending out about a dozen cards and creating several more for family / neighbours / teachers. He still asks to make people cards! I did not think he would enjoy this at all, since he doesn’t like to draw, but he found other ways to decorate that were more his style.
Damien had a whirlwind first Christmas! Unlike Aiden, who was only 2 months old for his first Christmas, Damien was able to enjoy some aspects of Christmas. He loved getting out to events (being out of the house and lots of lights? Jackpot!). I made an ornament with his handprint, which was his extend of Christmas crafts for this year. Since he could sit, he was able to take part in Christmas morning for the short duration he was awake – we managed to get through a few of his presents before his nap! He didn’t have much, but his official opener (Aiden) was busy with his own Christmas haul.
For Christmas, I got Damien a water bottle, a thermos (each boy got one, for warm dinners if we’re out late), a sweater, a book, his own personal stuffy (a bunny), an ornament engraved with his name (train shape) and his new PJs. The gifts mirror what we got Aiden as a baby, with a few extra things that he was going to get anyway!
I absolutely love Christmas. I always have been a big fan of holidays of any kind but my spirits always soar around Christmas. I love spending weeks finding the perfect gifts for people, sometimes making them or buying them. Stocking stuffers are my favourite thing to buy – I often pick things up all through the year in anticipation! I love spending the time to carefully wrap presents, adorning them with something personal be it a homemade ornament, homemade gift tags or homemade paper – I’ve done all variations before. Now that I’m a mom, I love that my kids can share in my joy for the season.
Although Damien was too young to appreciate most of our adventures (except the Stanley Park Bright Nights Train, he loved that!!), Aiden was really into Christmas this year. Granted, there was an unhealthy obsession with chocolate that had to be moderated (advent calendar!), he was really into the magic of Christmas. We baked cookies, made crafts almost daily, went on a variety of adventures (Polar Express, Bright Nights, Capilano Suspension, Park & Tilford Lights, The Magic of Santa theatre), watched movies, read books, sang songs & listened to music, and generally talked about Christmas a great deal. He was very interested in how Santa made presents and, appropriate to his obsession with The Polar Express, how said train got to the North Pole and what it did the rest of the year.
We managed to avoid the Santa Question yet again, though it was a close call. Aiden is very inquisitive and it was clear some answers were hard for him to accept – though he loved the idea of magic! In all honesty, we’re pretty blunt about things being either real or pretend in our house, since Aiden is very sensitive to suggestion and very analytical (plus, it suits our parenting). To say that all magic doesn’t exist except Santa is a little weird – so, we’ll re-assess next year. Again.
Aiden loved Christmas day – opening his presents (and helping with everyone else’s gifts) and being with family. I wish we had more parties, actually, since it is so nice to have the excuse to share our joy with those we love. Aiden was happy with his presents (which mostly ended up being things like trains and cars with some games, crafts & dinosaurs too) and he is already asking about when Christmas will come back!
Don’t they look cute? Ok, we have a better photo of them in this outfit, but it’s not uploaded yet. Plus, the whole Christmas PJ thing was kind of a gong show – I put in an order on Gap for PJs only to realize a few days before Christmas that the PJs must have sold out as I confirmed my purchase (had some other stuff on there), so I never realized I didn’t have them! They were blue with penguins, the perfect matching-yet-not-too-Christmas-themed look I was going for. Oh well – next year! These ones ended up being cute, even if they were quite roomy for my thin guys!