Sunday, October 30, 2022

Family Boxes for Christmas

 The original plan this year was to get everyone subscription boxes, but DANG! That adds up fast. So I had a better idea- Family Boxes. Not that I'm subscribing to, but that we will each open on the 1st of the month. The idea is that you'll have everything you need that month to do the thing. LOL. I've decided to post about these ideas for you and your family if you're interested in doing something like this, too. On Christmas, they'd get a little sample of what each box's theme was, but not the full surprise.

We started with a list of a TON of theme ideas, then budget required that I simplify. In this post, I'll try to give ideas of as cheap as cheap can get to what I wish were going in the boxes, k? It's up to you to make them your own. I'll also include the discarded subjects at the end in case you need to further customize for your family.

To give you an idea, I have 6 kids, 5 of them living at home (one is off doing amazing things by serving in the Navy). The kids at home range from 17 years old down to 4, so I tried to have stuff we could all appreciate. Here we go:

January: Goals/Organizing/Cleaning

This box will include questionnaires to se what the kids goals are for the year. I'm hoping to have a little bucket for each kid to gather their stuff around the house in. If money permitted, I'd have what I call "cleaning toys"- like these (I get nothing if you buy these, I'm not cool enough to be linked with that):


What I will include, however, is a Menu Making Game. I know, it sounds lame. But here's the thing. Menu's are legit the hardest thing for my family. We've tried emeals. We've tried buying everything and sorting them for the week. We've tried all kinds of things. But most of my family members have ADHD, so nothing seems to stick for more than a week. Will this? Who knows. But the idea is that we're going to create a whole year's worth of menu. We'll leave room for the days when plans change and we'll work with our busy schedules. Games will include things like, "Pin the protein on the donkey" where each kid gets a tail with a different protein on it and whoever gets it closest to the right spot gets to pick a dish with their protein. We'll have a dart game where one dart board is all proteins. One is country of origin. One is vegetable. One is starch. Person A gets to throw one dart at each board. Whichever label is in that circle must be combined with the others to create a dish Like this:

Another game is "Favorite Character Generator" and I'll even add that game here if I remember. Pretty much, it's a spoof on those shower game and facebook data mining games where you take the first letter of your first name and the second letter of your last name and the last 4 digits of your social security number and create your unicorn name. Except mine will not be a breach of security. And I can't use our actual names because all of our last names are the same. So I'm going to do a list of 26 veggies and fruits. A list of 26 starches (it's finally your turn quinoa) and then 26 something else. The kids will pick their favorite character from any genre of anything and we'll do something with one of the letters in their first name, their last name, and where they are from.
We'll also play a "phone a friend" type game where they have to rely on OTHER people's recipes. And a heritage version where we make something an ancestor would make.
I have a Pinterest game in the works with scrolling through pinterest and rolling D&D dice, but I legit haven't thought more about it than that.
What I do know is that in this box will be a 3 ring binder, printed out monthly and weekly menus, binder paper (so we can write lists and not feel guilty tearing them out), and page protectors to put our recipes in. I'm weirdly excited about this. Hopefully my kids don't make too big of a stink about it.
Truth be told that if money were no issue, I'd just hire a chef. And a housekeeper. And I'd organize my whole house with a professional organizer. Notice I didn't say reorganize because...... that would infer that it had once been organized.

Clearly I don't know how to use blogger enough to make everything go back to the left side lining up. Oh well.

February: Love and Service
Last year, most of the kids and I had an opportunity to volunteer at A Child's Hope International. We all loved it, so we're going to do it again. I wish we could do stuff like this more often as we are very blessed to have what we need.
I'm also planning on including stuff to make old fashioned valentine's and a calendar of ideas of services siblings can do for each other. Maybe I'll have a bribe in there for if they do a certain number. I'm still working on that one. I just really want my kids to show love to each other and the world as best as they can.

March: Escape Room
I have zero details on this. Whether I'll be able to afford to buy one or I'll be putting Vaughn (my 14 year old) in charge and letting him do it or whether I'll find one for us to go to..... all unknown.

April: Rainy Day Indoor Fun
You know all those books out there where they have things like, "1001 screen free activities" and you buy the book and then don't turn the TV off long enough to read any of the book? Yeah, that's the idea here- skip the book part, turn off the tube, and have activities thought out for you already. Fun activities. This box will include masking tape (LOTS of it) and empty toilet paper tubes and PVC Pipe parts and marbles and cars..... Two big projects I'm thinking are a marble run. We have lots of wall space! The older kids can help as much as the little ones. We can tape a bunch of stuff to the walls and see where the marbles go.
Also, the mega track. Using the masking tape again, the older kids can help the younger ones have tracks all over the main level of the house. They can have a ramp on some of the stairs and together they can use the various Lego, Duplo, and whatever the other weird block things we've got to build cities and towns throughout the level. I hope they let me play, too.
I'd also like to include a fort building kit. I've made a few of these before, but I'll send you OVER HERE TO LEARN HOW.
This box might end up being the biggest, depending on how our budget ends up.

May: Time to Go Outside
This is kind of part 2 of the "screen free activities" book you never read, but with a definite change of setting. We are blessed enough to live on property with a forest out back, so Pinterest has given me some pretty cool ideas of activities we can do there. This box will have those activities spelled out for the kids a bit. I'm also hoping to include things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and that kind of stuff. If budget allows, then possibly a car cleaning/detailing kit. That would be cool.

June: Camping
Remember how I told you most of us have ADHD? Well, one thing that we ADHDers struggle with is time management. So even though our family HAS a bunch of camping equipment. And even though we SAY we want to go camping, if nobody sets a date or a reason..... it just doesn't happen. So we are SETTING that date and reason. Specific to our family, we are going to go to Natural Bridges State Park and camp with some friends who live a couple of hours from there.  The box will include some fun stuff, though- recipes for what we're going to eat, stuff for Smores, camping games to play (I'll probably end up making my own version of this:

July: Trip or Patriotic

That might sound confusing, but this July will be our 20 year anniversary. Again, if budget were no option, we'd fly with the kids to Salt Lake, leave them with my parents, then Roger and I would fly to Groton, CT to see our Navy kid and explore Boston and do all the history geek stuff I dream of (I even started another History Geek podcast, but then had to get a job, so there went that). But considering Navy Kid just paid over $1,000 for one plane ticket at Christmas.... I'm going to just kind of assume that won't be happening. I'm going to dream a little for a second and tell you what I WOULD put in this box if that were to happen.
If this were a trip box, then we'd make sure everyone had luggage, stuff to do on the plane (or in the car), and questions to ask Gma and Gpa. There'd be travel sized all the things and a version of their ticket that it wouldn't matter if they lost.
BUT..... It'll probably be a patriotic box with stuff to do for the 4th of July and maybe some Hamilton stuff.

August: Back to School
Ideally, this box will have their school supply lists already to go, new lunchboxes, and a gift card for clothes and shoes.
In reality, I'll print out those cute "first day of school" photo props and have some washable, reusable, personalized sandwich and snack sized bags, plus plans to have a fun Back to School Party (just family, I don't have the time or energy to invite people right now). Plus, invitations for Back to School Father's blessings.

September: Retro Family History
This is the one I'm pretty excited about. I really want my kids to be excited about Family History. I already love it (though maybe not the way that's helpful to anyone) but especially so since realizing we're descendants of Israel Putnam. And Abner Stocking was one of my relatives- and it's because of him we know as much as we do about Benedict Arnold and the Quebec campaign. Anyway, I want my kids to get excited, so I've been gathering games we can play, questionnaires for their own personal history, plus questions to ask living relatives.
But the best part- is that we want to have a Retro Party. Did you know that to be considered "vintage" a thing has to be 20 years old. I left vintage a while ago. SO- Roger and I thought it would be way fun to have a dinner/party (again, prolly just our family, but who knows how we're feeling at that point) featuring the 90s and early 2000s. Ideally, this box would include Tomagachi pets, skip-its, micro machines, TMNT, original Ninetento and Sega games...... all the good stuff from when we were kids. We fully plan on including Bonne Belle Lip Smackers,  Bubble Jug, Gushers, and Clearly Canadian. It's gonna be rad.

October: Fairs and Festivals
Honestly, this is the one I'm most nervous about. We don't really go out and do the things. We should. We want to. It's just hard when you know the kids are going to ask for this and that and especially Oct-Dec, there seems to never be any extra. Like, ever. So, in an ideal world, where money were no issue, there would be a few gift cards in here for like $100 that we could use going to like, the Wool Festival. We could use that for treats and horse rides and all the other fun stuff fairs have to offer. In reality, it'll probably be a list of free events in our area next October and we'll find a way to get some apples or pumpkins at some of them. And who knows, maybe me having a full time job will actually have next year look different than it always has before. I just kind of have a hard time hoping that when it seems that no matter what we do, nothing really makes a difference in the finance department. Sorry. I don't mean to whine. But let's be honest, like 2 people will read this far, so, sorry you 2.

November: Movie and Game Nights
It's time to freshen the game box, see what new version of Monopoly Deal is out that year, and stock up on candy that doesn't have red40. We'll pull out the popcorn recipes and spend some time cozying up together. If you were wanting to go big, this would be a good way to get your family a big ol popcorn machine- or this, which I have and LOVE, btw. I don't think it's that specific brand, but whatevs. It's awesome.

If your'e into cozy socks or individual blankets, 5 Below has fun blankets!

December: Advent Calendar
Maybe this one's selfish. LOL. But I have had my eye on this specific advent calendar for like 3 years now. I'm hoping this year, just after Christmas, to be able to get it for next year. Otherwise, we'll do an envelope advent or something we can make for free.
(They actually have several versions I love, but dreaming)

I told you I'd include other themes here that you could go with if it was more your family's speed:
Baking Day
County/State Fair
Put on A Play
12 Days of Christmas for another family
Clean Car
Neighborhood Block Party
Art Night

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