How My Boys Gave Back this Holiday Season (Our 7th Annual Christmas Fundraiser)

Each year, during the holidays, my boys raise money for charity. I have always thought it was important for my boys to "give back" during the holidays, and I am proud of their efforts to organize a "letter writing to Santa" fundraiser. They bake cookies, create craft kits, make reindeer food, and package it all up to sell. This year, they raised $340.00 for Cystic Fibrosis (a disease that their 5 year old cousin is living with). 


My boys baked cookies, put together craft kits, and packaged up reindeer food. They worked really hard, and sold a lot of kits. I think the kids that purchased them had fun too!

Check out the adorable tree ornament that the kids could make with their kits.


I love that my boys were able to do the work, and they were super-proud of the money they raised. It meant a lot to them, and giving back is an important part of our family's holiday celebrations.


How do you find a meaningful way for your kids to give back at Christmas?


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Warm Wishes Gift Ideas... and free printable tags

I love a thoughtful and well packaged gift, don't you? Today, I am sharing a gift that contains elements that are handmade, practical, and fun. I especially love these ideas for teachers! Keep reading to see my "warm wishes" gift ideas and free printable tags.


Of course, when you think about "warm wishes", you can't help but think about hot chocolate, and chocolate spoons are the perfect companion to this popular hot beverage. And the good news is... chocolate spoons are adorable and could not be easier to make. The kids can even do it!

Start with baker's chocolate and wood spoons (or plastic if you can't find wood ones). Melt the chocolate in the microwave (according to package directions), dip the spoons, sprinkle with sugar or candy (if desired), and place on wax paper until the chocolate hardens. 

I wrapped my spoons with candy wrappers and added names with alphabet stamps. Cute, right?



I included my spoons in a "warm wishes" package that included a beautiful blanket scarf, some hot chocolate, and a coffee gift card.


To download the "warm wishes" tag (for free): right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4X6 photo.
I also packed the spoon in a cozy sweater mug with hot chocolate, a coffee gift card, and the world's largest chocolate.



Don't you just love these "warm wishes" gift ideas? You can tailor them to any budget, and they make wonderful gifts for anyone on your list.


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

7 Simple Felt Christmas Ornaments

Felt is a wonderful, easy, and inexpensive material to use for making Christmas ornaments. It lays flat, it is easy to cut, and you don't need to worry about fraying edges. If you are a "beginner" when it comes to sewing, you are going to love the 7 simple felt Christmas ornaments I am sharing today. They are perfect projects for kids learning to sew too!


These colourful lightbulb ornaments are sure to brighten your tree. Find the full step-by-step instructions here.


These simple stockings are super cute and super easy to make. Find the full step-by-step instructions here


This round "santa belly" ornament incorporates a traditional round ornament shape, and the gold button adds a festive flair. Find the full step-by-step tutorial here


If you can draw basic shapes, you can make this adorable felt tree ornament. Find the full step-by-step instructions here


The traditional colours of Christmas (red and green) are used to create this simple star ornament. Find the full step-by-step instructions here.


This whimsical elf boot ornament is made with a festive and fun patterned piece of felt. It's unique, and easy to make. Find the full step-by-step instructions here.


Memorial ornaments (that use a piece of the deceased clothing) are a special way to pay tribute to a loved one during the holiday season. Find the step-by-step instructions here


I love all of these felt ornaments, but the memorial ornament holds a special place in my heart. Do you have a favourite?


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

{simple} Felt Elf Boot Ornament

Every year I make simple felt ornaments to send to my family and friends. I always come up with an easy design, so I can mail the ornaments with Christmas cards. This year, I made adorable elf boot ornaments, and today I'm sharing the step-by-step instructions.


To make a simple felt elf boot ornament:

1) Cut two elf boot shapes from patterned felt and two "stocking tops" from green felt. Then, cut a piece of white yarn to use as a hanger.

2) Sew the yarn to the top of one of the "boot" pieces.

3) Stitch the front and back of the boots together.

4) Sew the green tops to the boots.

The result is an adorable and whimsical tree ornament.


I made a bunch of them, and sent them out with my Christmas cards. Cute, right?


It's a lot of work to make so many ornaments each year, but it is one of my favourite traditions. I hope my friends and family enjoy their fun "elf boot" ornaments this year... and I hope you make one for your tree!


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Hockey HACKS for the Holidays

I'm a mom of three hockey-obsessed boys (one in Novice, one in Atom, and one in PeeWee). My boys eat, sleep, and breath the sport they love, and (of course) hockey is a big part of our Christmas celebrations. So, today I thought I would share some of our favourite HOCKEY HACKS for the holidays.


We have a Christmas tree made of hockey sticks. Seriously, how cute is this? I took a bunch of old hockey sticks, and I used (what else?) hockey tape to attach them at the top. Then, I added a Santa hat and some lights. It's a little tacky, but my boys love it, and it looks great at night!


And we always find fun and unique hockey gifts under our tree. You can find some of our favourite gift ideas for hockey players here.


We even incorporate hockey into our favourite Christmas Carols.... and you can download this one for free. Right-click on the picture below, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo.


We really love the version that our Elf on the Shelf printed and framed for us. 


Are you a hockey mom? Is hockey a big part of your holiday celebrations? Maybe I'll see you at the rink! ;-)


Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Memorial Ornaments

In October, I lost my beloved grandfather, and my boys lost their great grandfather. He was very special to my whole family, and with Christmas coming, I wanted to find a way to incorporate his memory into our celebrations. So, I thought I would make the members of my family "memorial ornaments".


I took a blanket that belonged to my grandfather, and I used it to make the wings on bird ornaments. I sewed felt pieces together, added the heart-shaped wing, and used fabric paint to make an eye.


I love how this little ornament turned out, don't you? I can't wait to hang it on my tree each year.


I'm mailing the rest of them out (to my family members) with my Christmas cards.


With each card, I sent a little note that said, "The wing of this bird is made from Grampie's blanket. I hope you hang it proudly on your Christmas tree, and that it reminds you of his kindness and loving heart.
It was a lot of work to sew all these ornaments, but I hope that they will bring a little comfort to those I love during this difficult holiday season. And, perhaps one of my readers will be inspired to make memorial ornaments in memory of someone they loved as much as I loved my Grampie.




Gina
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

2017 Elf on the Shelf Calendar

Anyone else find it hard to come up with Elf on the Shelf ideas every day? Well... I have you covered with a full month of Elf on the Shelf ideas and FREE printable props and notes. I put everything in a simple calendar (below), and I have included helpfullinks to all the info you'll need to make this month magical.


To print the calendar: right click on the picture above, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo.

And, here are the details you'll need to complete each of the items outlined on the calendar.

Before the elf arrives - Santa sends a letter letting the kids know that the Elf is coming soon.


Then...

December 1 - Elf on the Shelf brings a "Welcome Breakfast".


December 2 - The Elf on the Shelf wraps books and movies for a countdown to Christmas.


December 3 - Elf on the Shelf gets his own key.


December 4 - Elf on the Shelf draws a self portrait or builds an Igloo.



December 5 - Elf on the Shelf brings donuts.


December 6 - Elf on the Shelf hides in the light fixture (far away from the bulb that could burn him/her) or he covers all the family photos with pictures of himself.



December 7 - Elf on the shelf brings a candy cane scavenger hunt.


December 8 - Elf on the Shelf hides in a Christmas wreath.


December 9 - Elf on the Shelf brings a gingerbread house for the kids to build and decorate.


December 10 - Elf on the Shelf brings hot chocolate from the North Pole.


December 11 - Elf on the Shelf takes a nap in a kleenex box.


December 12 - Elf on the Shelf brings "Elf Kisses" or he could build his own Elf on the Shelf Kissing Booth.



December 13 - Elf on the Shelf plays with blocks or Star Wars toys.



December 14 - Elf on the Shelf brings "North Pole Treats".


Or he could host his own Elf on the Shelf bake sale for charity.


December 15 - Elf on the Shelf builds a chair out of LEGO.


December 16 - Elf on the Shelf brings supplies to decorate "sugar cone trees".


December 17 - Elf on the Shelf brings a letter from Santa.


December 18 - Elf on the Shelf takes a marshmallow bath.


December 19 - Elf on the Shelf makes snowman donuts from mini donuts, mini chocolate chips, and candy corn.


December 20 - Elf on the Shelf hides in the Christmas tree.


December 21 - Elf on the Shelf hangs from the cupboard doors.


December 22 - Elf on the Shelf brings a Christmas movie.


December 23 - Elf on the Shelf builds a snowman out of marshmallows, and brings a tiny note answering questions the kids have been asking about him.


December 24 - Elf on the Shelf brings magic "Elf Seeds".


December 25 - Elf on the Shelf leaves a good bye note and a special movie.


Or he can write a goodbye message with spray snow.


I hope you try some of these ideas with your little ones, and you if you have some other fun ideas, I'd love to hear about them.  Feel free to share some of your Elf on the Shelf adventures in the comments below.

♥ 
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)