Yes, it is the Holiday season! And the Holidays mean so much more than the Christmas tree, or jingle bells, or the red, green, gold or white…or the illustrious Mr. and Mrs. Claus. There’s something magical about the crisp cold air around this time…the type of winter air I associate with joy, love, celebration, dreams, hope, family and friends. After spending an entire year full of near-earth-shattering living, Christmas offers me one of the most blessed time to slow down and let loose. It’s one of those days when I love to hold tight onto my hot cup of coffee, reflect back on the year and count my blessings. The cold warmth of December’s end has always reassured a promising new start…that life hasn’t been so hard after all…and that there was something good in my every day. It provides that unending zeal to look forward and beyond.
I also see beauty in watching how my kid’s Christmas aspirations change with each calendar year. In 2015, Big-J had left some milk, cookies and celery on our porch for Santa and his reindeer. She said Santa loves to gobble on whatever’s on his plate, and so she left a note to remind him to leave some celery for Rudolf and the Elves. She wrote a letter to Santa and did her best to pamper him, so he leaves for her what has been on her wish list since a couple months: a kid’s action camera! But her big question was how Santa would get in our house, because we didn’t have a chimney? Plus our main door needed a key to open and that Santa doesn’t enter through patio doors! She also wanted to know how Santa was able to visit everybody’s house in a single night. Since lil-J was less than 12 months old last year, big-J took upon herself to write another letter to Santa on behalf of her little sissy. Per her, little sister had been naughty but nice and she’d only needed a picture frame and a toy reindeer.
Last Christmas morning was super fun as the children opened up their presents and found the candy-stuffed stockings. Then Big-J suddenly notices that Santa used the gift-wrap she saw kept in Mommy’s closet and that he had packed their gifts just as Mommy does. Cherry on the top was that Santa had a handwriting like Papa and that he used the gift tags she saw at Target’s a couple days back. Well, we had to tell her that Santa borrowed somethings from us because he ran out of supplies – having had to deliver millions of gifts in a day! (ho-ho-ho). She had smiled to see that the cookies, milk and half the celery were gone! (One thing we haven’t told her yet is about our healthy early morning breakfast that day!!)
As big-J grew up a little more by this Christmas, we did tell her the truth about the imaginary Mr. Santa Claus. That all these years, it was really Mr. Daddy Claus who’s been filling her Christmas stockings and buying her secret X-mas presents. “No one buys the Christmas gifts, you know…” she responded impulsively. “Santa makes them all in his workshop!” But she patiently listened to all that we explained, gave herself a few quiet minutes to make sense of what she had just heard. She then told us unruffled that she’d still like to believe in “her Santa” and the magical night of lights!! Yes, there’s indeed something so very special about them. As a child, how can one not believe in them? Lil-J being the toty wee baby she is, loves to follow big-J from head-to-toe…and extended her support to big sis. “Mommy, why don’t you buy us a Christmas present and keep ready just in case? What if Santa gets stuck somewhere out there tonight?”, she asked worried. Well, so be it my loves…I shall let you be kids as long as you are one!
Apart from her age-appropriate eternal fondness for Santa, big-J took us aback with her thoughtful Christmas plans this year. She said she was on a resolution…on a reduce, recycle and reuse mission this Holiday season…and that she’d love to share some recycled handmade lovelies with her friends at school and the neighborhood, to inspire and encourage them to take this further. S and I felt proud. It is when your child amazes you with the beauty of her mind and plays the most beautiful of heart songs you could’ve imagined. These things are some of those that fortifies a parent’s faith in their child and in the power of her consciousness. Children are such precious little beings! It was achieving to look at how determined big-J was in her mission. She spent half of the night making stunning craft pieces out of recycled things, with some minimal assistance from her Mom n’ Dad machinery. Lil-J actively participated too. She kept putting the crafty things out and back in the basket every other second!
Big-J preserved pieces of her art in recycled glass bead magnets. She made several give away Christmas tree ornaments made out of recycled party cup lids and old magazine paper. She made bracelets from recycled paper straw beads. She made dozens of fun and crazy recycled rainbow crayons too. (I am so thankful for her “clear up our craft supplies shelf” ideas!)
Well and Mommy did her bit to support the cause too! I used up my leftover bags of snacks, cereals and dried fruits to stir up a healthy Holiday trail mix with super powers for the kids! Yes, chex mix is considered one of the healthiest packed snacks for kids and adults alike. And I complimented the savory blend of it with lots and lots of cereals, dried cranberries and granola oats. The only little fun-chocolaty monsters that were thrown in to add some Christmas drama were the green and red M&M’s. The chex trail mix turned out so good. It was also life made easy to have all picky eaters love a healthy snack. I had these trail mix in little cups for big-J’s friends at a Christmas party. They said they loved it and munched, and thanked me and munched again. The parents liked them too. It was nomnom delicious. To best use the extra time I had at hand, I drew some rather simple yet fun Holiday motifs on the cups with my sharpies. This snack mix is one easy thing to do for a party. It has delectably blended flavors, lots of crunch, oohs, aahs and holiday colors. Just what you need to chomp on a crisp cold Christmas-y day! Have a merry Christmas you all!!
Fills about 20 party snack cups (twenty 5.5 oz cups)
- 1 big bag of Original Chex Mix, Cheddar flavor (15 oz or 425 gms)
- 1 packet of crispy Christmas red and green colored M&M’s (9.9 oz or 280 gms)
- 2 cups Trix® swirls
- 1 cup Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® cereal
- 2 handfuls of Craisins® or dried cranberries
- 0.5 cup fruity Pebbles cereals – optional**
- 0.5 cup granola oats with raisins and almond slivers– optional**
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them all up!
Serve the party in the mixing bowl or using a candy scoop, fill-in small party cups for individual serving. I used little cups with lids to keep the trail mix fresh for a longer time. If you are making this ahead of time, then do not forget to store the trail mix in a good air tight container to avoid moisture and sogginess. Munch away some fun this Christmas!!