Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mason's class Christmas Party

We enrolled Mason in a nursery school last fall after he became best friends with a little boy who was going there.  Turns out it was the best decision because he's in a class of 8 little 3 year old boys with a wonderful teacher.  He loves going to school and seeing all his friends and it has created in him an amazing sense of independence, accomplishment and has planted the seed for the love of learning.

As the holidays were approaching we decided to host a class Christmas party at our house (what better time than when it's such a small class!) and invited his friends and their families.

Fuelled by ideas I'd come across on Pinterest, I think it may be one of the best parties to date.  I was also very lucky to find out that one of our new employees was a recent graduate from a college photography program and she came to capture the afternoon.  All the pictures that follow are the ones she took.  Many thanks to Amanda! (check out her blog Amanda Manners Photography)

I scaled back my baking for this one and focused more on creating a memorable experience for the kids.   But I did try a pecan pie recipe that was super easy and delicious!  I don't have any pictures, but I've included the recipe at the end of this post.

Store bought cookies (imagine that!)
We had a Santa Letter writing table that the older kids were able to do on their own and the younger ones had parents help.

"Make sure Santa knows what you bring you this Christmas!
Write him a letter and put it in the envelope. 
We will send it to the North Pole for you."

Letter to Santa

Writing a letter to Santa
I created Christmas countdown favours on magnetic canvases (did you know they made magnetic primer?!) with magnet snowflakes for everyone.  The graphic I used is based on this one that I found on Pinterest from Inviting Printables.   Each easel had a bag hanging on it with the snowflakes.  I had the 'instructions' printed at the table, they read:

"Santa's beard is very bare. On his chin there is no hair.
So each day add a flake of white. When they're all on, he'll come that night!"

This one project took SO much time and didn't quite end up being what I'd hoped.  Oh well!  Live and learn.  I find there's always at least one thing that doesn't work.

The food table.  I couldn't tell you what DH prepared,
but I'm sure it was as delicious as always!
Our first activity was a Punch Box based on this tutorial from Celebrate the Big and Small that I found on Pinterest.  The challenge with younger kids is to have activities that aren't too difficult or too long because if they err on either side of those, you lose your audience.   The punch box was PERFECT and pretty easy to put together. 

Mason saw the Punch Box after I made it and was (im)patiently
waiting for when we'd use it!
The idea is for each child to punch one hole and their gift is inside.  I modified it slightly because there were both boys and girls from 3 to 6 years old and a six year old girl won't like the same things as a 3 year old boy! 
Waiting for a turn
I chose Spiderman, Toy Story, Cars, Princess and Dora themed gifts for this activity.    Each hole had a sticker on the front with characters from each of the different themes and inside the hole was a small gift.  Based on which hole (and sticker) they chose, I then handed them a wrapped present that matched the hole they punched (Spiderman sticker = Spiderman gift).  It worked really well and the kids loved the presents (phew!).

A little later in the party we played Pass the Present which is a different version of musical chairs. 

Demonstrating how to play Pass the Present
As the music plays the kids in a circle pass a present around.  When the music stops, the lucky person holding the present keeps it and leaves the circle.  Then another present is passed as the music plays again.

Pass the present
I think my favourite thing at this party, was the staged photo area.  I put a white paper backdrop from the ceiling along the wall down and across the floor.  I added strings of snowflake lights in the back, hung red, green and red snowflakes from the ceiling, and wrapped a huge box to look like a present.  I also had props for the kids to play around with - Santa hats, reindeer antlers, candy canes...  so fun!

This poor little guy on the present - I plopped him on there and he was
such a good sport that he just sat there for the pictures!
I emailed everyone ahead of time to let them know we had a photographer coming and they were welcome to take family pictures during the party.  This is our family photo.

I love this one.

Avery wanted nothing to do with the cheesey attempt of the staged picture!
Here are some other great shots from the party. 

Amanda was fantastic and a week after the party she'd put each family's pictures on a CD for me to give them with both colour and black and white copies.  It was such a great afternoon.

Pecan Pie
Found via Pinterest from Baked Perfection

(Image courtesy of Baked Perfection)
9 inch pie crust (I bought a frozen pie crust but this links to a pie crust recipe if you'd like to do it yourself)
1 cup corn syrop
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups pecans (1 cup chopped and 1 cup whole)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix corn syrup through vanilla in large bowl until blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into prepared crust. Tent crust with aluminum foil. Bake pie for 50 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. The pie is done when you tap the center of the pie lightly, it springs back.

- Jacs


  1. Amazing Jac as always....

  2. Thank you! It's so much fun and I love that each one is getting better. I've started plans for Avery's party in May :)