Christmas is a truly magical season that is enjoyed by many but no one enjoys the Christmas season more than kids. It might be the prospect of some well deserved time off from school, the allure of the lights and decorations, the beauty of the snow that often accompanies Christmas or just the anticipation of Santa and his sleigh filled with toys that is so exciting for children but it is evident that most kids are truly enchanted by Christmas. For this reason many adults truly enjoy shopping for kids and Christmas time.
While Christmas shopping for kids is a great deal of fun there are some factors to consider when Christmas shopping for kids.
A few of the specific concerns include selecting age appropriate toys, selecting toys which are not too noisy or too big for the child’s living situation, selecting toys the child does not already have, selecting toys which the parents consider to be acceptable and finally selecting toys the child will enjoy. This can make Christmas shopping for kids a little more difficult but does not make the shopping any less fun.
Selecting age appropriate toys is very important when Christmas shopping for kids. This is so important for a couple of reasons. First of all it is important because toys which are designed for older children might be potentially dangerous for the child.
For example toys which are designed for children over the age of three may contain small pieces which pose a choking hazard. Children under the age of three still often put toys and other objects in their mouths so they must receive toys which contain only pieces large enough to not be a choking hazard. Also, toys which are designed for an older child or even a younger child may not be as much fun for the child as they would be for children of the appropriate age.
If the child is too young for the toy, they may be come easily frustrated because they can not use the toy appropriately. Conversely a child who is too old for a particular toy may become bored with the toy quickly.
When shopping for Christmas gifts for a child, it is also important to consider the child’s parents and the living situation. This includes the size of the living area and the proximity to neighbors. Specifically toys which are particularly noisy may not be appropriate for a child who lives in an apartment building with other apartment units nearby.
Also, large toys such as a trampoline may not be appropriate for a child who does not have a yard large enough to accommodate such a gift. Similarly large indoor items such as a foosball table would not be appropriate for a child who does not have a dedicated toy room to accommodate such a large item.
As a general rule it is best to stick with small items which do not make a great deal of noise when Christmas shopping for kids.
It is also important to consider the personal beliefs of the parents when shopping for Christmas gifts for their children. Specifically you should not purchase an item for a child if you know their parents are ethically opposed to such as item.
Guns and violent video games are a couple of obvious example of Christmas gifts which may offend the parents. There are many parents who do not allow their children to play with these items because they believe they promote violence. If you are not sure about the feelings of the parents, it is best not to select these items.
Finally, when Christmas shopping for a child, it is wise to consult the parents beforehand. This can be helpful for a couple of different reasons. First the parents can give some insight into the child’s hobbies and interests which may make selecting a gift easier.
They may even suggest a specific item from the child’s Christmas list ensuring you are giving the child something he really wants for Christmas. Consulting the parents can also prevent you from giving the child a gift he already has.
Try calling the parents before you make a purchase to suggest a particular item. They can let you know if they think the child will enjoy the item or if the child already has the item.
Family Fun Christmas Activities
Family is at the core of the Christmas season, so creating fun memories with your family is always at the top of the must-do list this time of year.
What fun activities can you incorporate into your family life that makes Christmas memorable and fun? Plenty, really. There are the traditional and the things a little bit out of the box.
Think back to your childhood and Christmas time in your house. Are there particular memories that are clearer than others? Those are likely the traditions your parents created for you and your siblings. Trying to create traditions in your own home with your own children is one way to make Christmas fun, exciting and memorable.
Perhaps it’s decorating cookies, or making gingerbread houses. Maybe when you were younger your mom always had something yummy smelling coming from the kitchen. You can create the same tradition by simply keeping potpourri warmed and smelling nice, if you don’t have the time to bake frequently.
If you want to do a fun family activity in the kitchen, but baking’s not your thing, you can make a variety of other gift items in your kitchen. The kids love making chocolate and candy covered pretzel sticks, and you can pair those with homemade hot cocoa mix to give as gifts.
Be sure to incorporate music into your family’s traditions. How about some family fun singing Christmas carols or creating your own family music CD? Record your family singing Christmas carols and use that CD as your music CD for the holidays. If you all are particularly talented, you could make these look pretty and give them as gifts.
Many families like to cut down their own Christmas tree. This is a really fun family activity that can add a lot to the Christmas season. Christmas tree farms are located just about everywhere. Check into a local grower’s group for locations.
You simply show up, grab a saw (this is mom or dad’s job) and go hunting. Depending on the location of the tree farm, you might walk only a short distance, or you might have to hike up and down hills and far into the farm’s reaches to find just the right tree.
To add even more fun to this activity, create another family tradition that will annually go with the tree cutting. It can be as simple as also having lunch (at the same place each year) and picking up candy to eat in the car on the way home. You might also add a shopping excursion to the day; after the tree is safe at home in a bucket of water, you might all go shopping as a family for some new ornaments.
Other fun family activities can include annual visits to certain places in your community. Does your town have an annual “Christmas tree lane” where all the homes on one street decorate (sometimes in an over the top fashion) for the holidays? You can make a tradition of driving down the street each year, or walking the entire street, if the weather allows. Walking gives the kids a chance to see some of the details of the various décor items.
Many children think hot cocoa is an essential part of the Christmas season. If that’s the case with yours, you could start a fun family activity each year where you make a big batch of hot cocoa mix at the start of the season.
Let the kids have a small cup each night before bed during the month of December and closer to Christmas, add special items to the hot cocoa, like mini marshmallows one night and whipped cream another. Be sure to leave this family-made hot cocoa for Santa on Christmas Eve!
At a certain age, children enjoy decorating their room for the holidays. One fun family Christmas activity is to encourage this decoration by letting the kids shop for items to put in their rooms and letting them do the decorating. Be sure to take a picture of them in their decorated room each year. They’ll enjoy looking at the pictures year after year.
Dominican Republic Holidays – The Christmas Day
Being predominantly Catholic, Christmas day takes a very special place in the Dominican Republic’s holidays. Sure, there are no white Christmases or Christmas balls, but Dominicans have their special way of celebrating the centerpiece of all Christian holidays in the Caribbean.
First off, Dominicans start celebrating Christmas earlier than most people around the world. They start so early that their Christmas dinner, in fact, is held on the 24th of December, not on the traditional 25th observed by the rest of the world.
But the Christmas mood begins far earlier than that. Beginning on the first day of December, the Dominicans start playing traditional melodic Christmas tunes. Usually, groups of 2 to 4 persons play the official Dominican music, the Merengue, with the accordion, the drum and the güira to the tunes of Christmas carols, which set off anticipation for the celebrations to come.
The sense of community is very strong among Dominicans. This is why it is not surprising that informal Christmas parties, called the Aguinaldos, parties that are open for everybody and not just for a few family members are held throughout the nation. People could come from anywhere, whether they are invited or not.
On most cases, people who participate in the Aguinaldos are the singing parties who, on their way to the Christmas party, have already visited a number of houses where they were either given a home-made ginger beverage called the ‘jengibre’ or a taste of what is served on the dinner table of the family they have visited, called ‘bocadita’.
And of course, once everyone has gathered in a house where the party is set to kick off, partying, dancing, eating, and drinking begins. Beginning with traditional Dominican Republic carols, this party continues well into midnight.
The Aguinaldos have always been the typical Dominican Republic way of celebrating Christmas. These informal community parties are enjoyed in the most populated areas of the country where the sense of community is very strong.
Because most of the people in the Dominican Republic are mostly poor or middle class, the way Christmas is celebrated varies. It is very important though for every Dominican family to be together on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Both are official non-working holidays.
What would be Christmas if there are no Christmas decorations?
The Dominicans have a very distinct way of decorating their homes during Christmas. Most families have recreations of the Nativity or the Birth of Jesus Christ within their homes. These are called ‘Nacimiento’. ‘Charamico’, the Dominican Republic’s version of the Christmas tree, is the literal translation of ‘dry branch’. To serve as a Christmas tree, the ‘Charamico’ is painted white and decorated with typical Christmas tree decors like balls, lights, and ribbons.
Dominicans also have their own special version of the European flower for Christmas called Poinsettia, which they call, ‘Flor de Pascua’. Most homes also grow the ‘Estrella de Natividad’, literally translated as the ‘Star of the Birth’ of Christ.
Truly, Dominican Republic has very special ways of celebrating the festive season of Christmas.
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