Holiday feasts are a special time for everyone, children and adults alike. The buildup, planning, shopping and cooking can be a bit daunting, so be sure to carve out some time to include the kids in the preparations.
Do you remember being delegated to the kids’ table? Was it fun, or did you feel excluded from the grown-up activities that appeared to be far more enticing?
It’s time to turn the tables and create a kids’ table where everyone will want to sit. The key is to include the children in making up the table decor.
Take a trip to the craft store and load up on seasonal materials: jingle bells, ribbon, Christmas-theme stickers, red and green markers or crayons, Styrofoam balls, construction paper, felt and glue.
Your home or hardware store will have themed tableware, kid-friendly cordless lights and battery-operated candles.
Ask the kids for ideas, and here are a few to get you started.
Personalized place mats are fun and easy for any age. Have an adult cut out the base shape from construction paper. It can be a simple rectangle, or shaped like a snowman or Christmas tree. Glue on colored shapes, ribbon or cutouts from wrapping paper or cards. Or draw pictures and designs. Stars and snowflakes are popular. Make sure to print the child’s name in bold letters. Allow the decorated mat to dry. To protect the artwork, cut out clear, self-adhesive vinyl to size and press it onto the mat. You’ll be able to wipe these laminated mats clean and save them for many years.
Make small ornaments for the table using Styrofoam balls; cover them with seasonal fabric or paper. Sparkle is always a hit. Glue on buttons, beads, feathers and ribbon to fashion a face or body. Add ears, a tail, a beak. It doesn’t take much to create a realistic impression. These ornaments can be distributed across the table or set in clusters. Or glue a name tag on them to act as place markers.
The kids’ table calls for a special centerpiece, too. Cordless LED lights are safe and make a magical display. Fill the bottom of a large jar with imitation snow. Drop in small shiny balls and a string of lights. This looks pretty even when the lights aren’t turned on. Tie ribbon around small jars or decorate with stickers, and fill with candies or nuts.
Mimic a few decorating ideas that you have utilized for the adults, such as tiny vases that hold a single flower or an evergreen sprig. Hang ribbon strung through jingle bells from the chair backs; the kids will love to ring the bells, possibly starting a rousing rendition of the “Jingle Bell” song, which puts everyone in a festive mood.
Have the kids help you think up some small party gift ideas that can be tied to the chairs or placed on the table. Tiny dolls or bears, keepsake ornaments with a child’s photo, a small bundle of Christmas treats or some crafty items that can be used right away. Visit www.canadiantire.ca to see more of my holiday decorating ideas, and have a very merry Christmas.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.