Every year for Christmas, we choose a theme for the year. We do ornaments, activities, pajamas, movies, gifts and more to fit that year’s theme. It’s become a fun family tradition that we all enjoy.
I had no idea when I chose this theme in January that my grandparents would be joining us for Christmas or that a new version of The Grinch would be coming out in theaters. So that just makes it doubly perfect!
My grandparents are coming up from Florida to spend the holiday with us. Growing up, we called my grandfather The Grinch around Christmas because he would always tease us about killing the holiday. That led to me being given several Grinch-themed gifts through the years and developing a love of the Grinch story from Dr. Seuss.
We are splitting our Christmas Eve into two days, in order to have enough time to celebrate. We have some scheduled activities on Sunday and Monday that we must work around including Sunday morning service (and serving), a candlelight service and an extended family party. Because our Christmas Eve is normally packed full of family activities, we will split it between two days.
I take the first day of the month every month to plan anything needed for that month for holidays or birthdays, and I also use that day to set up the budget for the month, pay bills and do once a month tasks like changing air filters. So planning a holiday or celebration in advance becomes routine and it takes the stress out of it.
I do pick the theme early in the year so I can keep an eye out for items that match the theme on sale or clearance all year. Because we do Dave Ramsey envelopes and I put an equal amount into our gift and holiday envelope every month year round, I always have the funds available to purchase items when I see them available.
This also allows me to purchase things I know we need for the holiday as soon as they come out, instead of waiting until near Christmas. More than one year, we have waited to purchase the fruit for the fruitcake and other similar items and had to go to multiple stores to find them, and some years we couldn’t find them at all. So we shop early.
Especially if a theme is Christmas oriented (like the Grinch or Elf, as opposed to Bob Ross or The Princess Bride as we have done in the past), you can get the best deals on items in early January instead of waiting until after Thanksgiving to purchase. As I have done this yearly for a while, I have noticed that Christmas items actually take a price jump around Thanksgiving or just before, so it’s better to purchase early instead of waiting until the holiday begins.
Once I pick a theme, I start a Pinterest board (even if it’s January) and begin thinking about plans. I set the menu on November 1st based on ideas from Pinterest, then I start keeping an eye out for any special items or ingredients we need for that meal.
I created a Pinterest board to keep all of my Grinchy ideas, but I soon found that many of the food ideas are difficult to carry out because so many have food dye. However, there are many non-food ideas and a lot of inspiration here if you’re willing to seek out natural food coloring options.
This is the menu we have planned for this year on Christmas Eve to fit our Grinchy theme:
- Roast beast (beef roast with carrots, omit potatoes)
- Who hash (latkas made without bacon)
- Roasted green beans with bacon
- Garlic knots (this recipe for Parkerhouse rolls with garlic butter brushed over the top and a dash of garlic powder in the dough)
- Grinch floats
- Who gelatin and whipped cream
I will combine a dairy-free lime sherbet with Sierra Mist. Sierra Mist is free of high fructose corn syrup and is made with sugar, so it is our preferred carbonated soft drink for special occasions, but you could use any clear, lime-flavored carbonated drink. We allow the kids to have it at holidays and birthdays.
Check back here tomorrow to see the recipe for the Dairy-Free Lime Sherbet! Here’s what a test run of the punch recipe looked like, nice and foamy. The kids thought it tasted great.
It’s a pretty standard dessert you see in cafeterias, but for us it’s a big treat because we rarely have packaged gelatin desserts or the spray whipped cream. This will be the first time the kids have ever had this dessert. And we’ve only had the spray whipped cream one time, at Thanksgiving. It was a hit and the ingredient list isn’t horrid so we will allow it for holidays and special occasions.
This dairy-free spray whipped cream is one of those ingredients I mentioned above that seems to be hard to get your hands on, as we had to check more than one store for it for several weeks before we finally caught it in stock. So this is an ingredient we start shopping for early and store it in the back of the fridge (and place a bounty on it- you open it early, you must pay to replace it and go shopping with the disgruntled adult to pick it up) until the holiday.
There are some good options on the market for dye-free, clean gelatin desserts now, so I don’t feel like this is a completely junky dessert. They are, however, expensive when compared to the dye-containing gelatin desserts which cost less than $1 a box at the local big box store. So we only have them very rarely. I prefer to make them homemade, but it wouldn’t have given the right colors for the holiday.
Each year, I purchase or make an ornament based on that year’s theme in triplicate. That way we can keep a copy on our family tree, and when our children leave home, they can have a copy of each of the ornaments to start their own collection of Christmas ornaments.
This year, I made the ornament. Here are the directions to make the ornament. It’s adorable with the little Grinch hiney sticking out of the chimney and we all love it!
We used fishing line in place of the ribbon, as we had no matching ribbon on hand. I have ordered the paint pen to make the bricks on the film canister ‘chimney.’ I will complete the project when the paint pen comes in.
In previous years, we’ve found ornaments on Etsy or Amazon. I always label the ornament with the year on the back or bottom.
The finished ornament is adorable.
There are a lot of cute Grinch pajamas and clothes out this year!
In addition to watching all three versions of The Grinch over the two days we will be doing our Grinch theme, we will also have a game to play during each of the two movies at home.
Then when we watch the Jim Carrey version, I have a small wrapped gift. Every time someone says ‘Who’ in the movie, you pass the gift to the right. Whoever is holding the gift at the end of the movie wins it!
I hope these ideas give you some fun inspiration for activities to do with your own kids this holiday season and beyond!