Simple Stocking Stuffer Ideas

At our house, during the holidays, we hang up our stockings the night before St. Nicholas Day for St. Nick to fill.  He usually brings an orange, chocolate coins, and a few simple presents.

Santa Claus fills our stockings on Christmas Eve, too.  And, sometimes, particularly if the holiday season has little ones feeling extra antsy and struggling with patience, an Elf might leave a note with a small treat or two on a random day – maybe the ingredients to bake cookies?  Or a holiday themed coloring book?

With three stockings to fill twice, I think about what to put in them quite a bit – from the practical to the silly. I’ve been gathering up some stocking stuffer ideas to share with you.

[Read more…]

A Simple Gift Giving Philosophy: Want, Need, Wear, Read

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.
Last week, I shared with you some of my plans for homemade gifts.  I’m not convinced that at this point in my life it would be practical, or possible, for me to attempt to create a 100% handmade holiday by myself, so we balance between handmade and purchased.  Regardless of whether or not the gift is made by my hand (or someone else’s), I have learned over the years to keep our gift giving philosophy simple.

Simple Gift Giving

Our Gift Giving Philosophy is based on something I heard years ago on a parenting e-list I’m a part of and it goes like this:

  • something they WANT
  • something they NEED
  • something to WEAR
  • something to READ

Over the years, to this we have added:

  • something to WATCH
  • something for DRESS UP
  • something to LISTEN TO
  • something to EAT
  • something to CREATE

My children aren’t guaranteed an item in every category and, depending on their age and the year, some categories might double-up while others aren’t filled (my two year old is getting more dress-up items this year, for example) and generally the “something to watch” is a holiday movie given to everyone to share.  This philosophy is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule.

However, the basic WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ is the guideline that I follow year in and year out.  This simple gift giving philosophy has served me well, not just at the holidays, but for birthdays and other gift giving occasions.

[Read more…]

Weekend Links and Giveaway Winner

The winner of the giveaway is Bdaiss.   Congratulations!

“I’m lucky that my mom has put together a heritage book from her side of the family. I keep pestering her to do my dad’s as well, but we’re seriously short on photos from that side. I need to hit my aunt up for more information. (Both his parents have passed and we don’t have much contact with him anymore.) And since it’s my in-laws 40th anniversary this year, my plan is to steal a ton of their photo albums for two purposes – scan in everything, get the stories of their youth, put together a couple albums for my kids, AND create a slide show for their surprise party!”

Check your email for a message from me and further instructions for claiming your prize.   Thank you to for sponsoring this giveaway!

Don’t forget that has also created a unique promocode for Simple Kids readers.   The code SimpleKids20 is good for 20% off of a  photobook (includes hard and soft bound books) OR 1 calendar, OR 100 greeting and/or postcards. The promocode expires on 12/31/2010.

Handmade Gifts for Kids: Tutorials and Ideas from My Holiday To Do List

The following post was written by editor Kara Fleck.

Okay, I’ll admit it:  I’m one of those people.  You know the ones.  The crazy people who start planning for Christmas … in January!  I can’t help it.  I love the holidays and I love to give our kids homemade gifts and so I do a little bit of crafting all year long in anticipation of December.

This year, though, things got away from me and Santa’s elves are getting a little nervous about the tasks still before them.

Now that November is here, I have to look at my list with a critical eye and be very realistic about what can actually, and joyfully, be accomplished between now and December.

I have found that if I don’t set a date to have my holiday projects completed by, I end up having a more stressful holiday.  I aim to finish as many gifts as I can during the month of November so that December can be about more meaningful things.

With that in mind, I’m looking for kid-pleasing gifts that can be completed quickly, with simple supplies.  I thought it might be fun to find out what Simple Kids readers are working on, too.  We can check back in with each other’s progress in a few weeks.

With less than 50 days until Christmas, and a goal of having the bulk of my crafting for the holidays finished before December arrives, here the gifts the elves and I are busily working on this November:

[Read more…]

Creating a Family History Book (and a giveaway, too!)

The following was written by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids.

This giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced in Sunday’s Weekend Links post.  Thank you!
I’ve always enjoyed reading and learning about history.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I became quite interested in our family history.  It was whilst I was pregnant, that my husband’s grandmother died.  The thought that my son would now never know his great-grandmother prompted me to create a book for our child about his family. This would give my son a little information about his family heritage.

A Family History Book

To create the book, I compiled a list of questions and sent it to the members of our family to answer. I chose to use written questions rather than an interview, because our family is scattered around the world.  Using written questions also gave people the option of choosing which questions to answer and what information to reveal, without pressure.

I also collected photos of family members at significant stages in their lives: as a child, when they were married, while traveling and so on.

[Read more…]