Thinking out of the box for the festive season

I have to admit that when one of my children announced, at the table last night, that it was five weeks until Christmas, it caught me out. Really? Woah. That was quick. What happened to November? Oh hang on, it is November, isn’t it? Yes, five weeks.

She was excited. Too right. The thought of no school. Days filled with festive spirit. Presents. Yummy treats. What’s not to like? For a moment, I was swept up in her excitement. I briefly caught the magic. I could almost smell the orange and cloves in the warm air. I caught wisps of music and laughter. Hints of the sparkly lights and tinsel. I remembered. I felt it again. It is such a lovely time of the year.

Then reality eased it’s ample self into a seat beside me. Sigh. I know. Five weeks. Time to buckle up and make this magic happen. That’s my role. Quite frankly, it’s not always easy.

One of my aims this year is to simplify the holidays. Festive without the stress. More time with the family. Less time juggling. A different type of indulge, but no less magical. I guess it helps that as my children grow from small children to teenagers (16, 14 and 11 years old), their expectations have changed. No longer hoping for a conveyor belt of presents to entertain them, but appreciating the thought that went into choosing the gift that shows we know them.

One area I really want to simplify is the gift giving. I love the idea of giving five gifts each to the children: something to read, something to wear, something to do, something to eat and something you need. Then…stop. None of those just-because gifts that creep in as the days run out. I’d like to be done and dusted by the end of November, so I can enjoy the festive spirit in December too.

So the list begins.

(Christmas Eve 2017)

Now, we have a tradition that everyone receives a book on Christmas Eve. An activity book or short stories, with facts, that will stimulate and entertain at the same time. Something to dive into on Christmas Eve or during those slower moments over the festive season and beyond. A pick-up and put-down type of book, where sections are read out and shared.

I’ve started my search for this year’s books. As luck would have it, I was sent a book recently that fits the bill perfectly.  How to think like an Absolute Genius. (affiliated link) Over the weekend, we tried out some of the exercises and shared fun facts.

Format is perfect. All three children love reading the snippets of facts and giggling at the cartoons. Me too. I freely admit, I do enjoy a book, aimed at children, which I find packed with easy to digest facts that interest me too.

I love the exercises in this one. They are different to ones I’ve found before. If you like out of the box thinking, then this is the book for you. I mean, your children. Although, I do think this book will be a success in our house as I want to join in too. As a parent, I can bring a book or toy to life that might otherwise be overlooked. This only happens if it appeals to me, as well as the younger members of the family.

Creativity and a different way of thinking, is a good way to start the day. Any day. For all of us.

We tried Ellis Paul Torrance’s creativity test. Ten minutes to draw anything, so long as the main component was the circle. It was interesting to see that they all came out with different approaches.I also posted up a serious of questions on paper and chalk boards, for them to provide multiple answers. We did this together for a couple of questions, so that they got the idea. I wrote down everything they suggested. No wrong answers. Although there was one amusing moment when I misheard Gucci socks as goat cheese socks (What is expensive and smells very bad?), and didn’t realise until the end. (Maybe you had to be there.)

Reality shuffles slightly in its chair. Almost imperceivable, muffled cough. Just five weeks. I hear you.

My search continues for our Christmas Eve books, for this year. This one is sitting on our coffee table and filling in a few moments before the festive period swings into full force. I’ll take it along when we visit family and friends over the holidays, with a pad of paper. I’m pretty sure the grandparents will join in too.

Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of “How to think like an Absolute Genius” from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I always give my true opinion of the product in reviews.



14 thoughts on “Thinking out of the box for the festive season

  • Tuesday 20 November, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    I love the idea of gving books – I’ve been a book lover since I was 6 years old. I also like the way you think of books, clothes, food, fun in terms of the gifts. Great post! #MMBC

    • Tuesday 20 November, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Books are always a popular choice. Definitely going to be fun sticking to the categories.

  • Tuesday 20 November, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Cheryl, I so love your idea for the five gifts! It’s a perfect balance, avoiding all that tendency toward overspending and just overdoing in general. Do you also buy five things for your husband? 😉
    If there’s to be overdoing at Christmas, then let it be in feasting! 😀

    • Tuesday 20 November, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Yes, to overdoing the feasting. Especially in good company! I am going to try very hard to sticking to 5, but I’m sure something will sneak in! I’m going to label the parcels as “Eat”, “Read”, “Need”, “Do” “Wear”. I’m hoping to keep in budget.

      My husband tends to get three out of the five present categories. Usually something to wear that I’ve made him (pjs or socks), a book (he supplies a list) and something to eat (ok, drink – a bottle of whisky!) 😀

  • Wednesday 21 November, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I always give books to my boys, such luxurty when you consider some parts of the world do not have the option. Great post and ideas as you don’t alot to enjoy Christmas regardless of what the shops say 😉 X #mmbc

    • Wednesday 21 November, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Yes. Could not agree more with you. Books make a fabulous gifts. In terms of gift giving, less can mean more, especially when thought is factored in.

  • Friday 23 November, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I am totally with you on the….what 5 weeks til Christmas bit. Who put it so close the Thanksgiving? Love your book ideas and I am going to adopt that one too. I am really going to try NOT to add those extra just because gifts. Happy Holidays, Kippi

    • Saturday 24 November, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Less than that now. The clock ticks. I need to avoid the panic feeling towards the end, when I wonder if I have enough. Hopefully this system will help me.

  • Sunday 25 November, 2018 at 9:47 am

    This certainly sounds like a great book in which to keep out. I do agree that having Christmas under wraps by the end of November is a great one. That way we get to put up our feet over the cold winter month and enjoy time with loved ones more. #MMBC

    • Monday 26 November, 2018 at 12:37 am

      I’m determined to enjoy December more.

  • Sunday 25 November, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Totally with you on the mission to simplify things – it can be so easy to get carried away #MMBC

    • Monday 26 November, 2018 at 12:37 am

      Getting carried away is too easy!

  • Monday 26 November, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I love the idea of giving an activity book on Christmas Eve and this one looks like a good one too. Apparently in Iceland it’s traditional to open a book present and read it in bed while eating chocolate :o)


  • Monday 26 November, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Cheryl, I do enjoy books like that too, they are interesting, fun and educational for everyone. We used to get a couple of Christmassy books to enjoy in the buildup to Christmas and the last couple of years we’ve done a lovely Christmas jigsaw that we were given as a present. I agree with keeping stress to the minimum, where’s the fun in stressing? This year everyone is getting one (or maybe two) presents depending.

    Thank you for linking up with #keepingitreal.


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