Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas Doorbell Ditch

When driving around looking at Christmas lights, play 'Christmas lights doorbell ditch' where you leave a doorknob hanger complimenting what wonderful lights the house has.

 Last week, I wrote about doing a Christmas light scavenger hunt with your grandchildren. That reminded me of an activity that my son and daughter-in-law have done with their children.

You’ve probably heard about doorbell ditching, haven’t you? That’s where you ring somebody’s doorbell and run away.

This activity is similar. Only better. It’s a kinder, gentler version of doorbell ditching.

You could do this activity as you are doing your Christmas light scavenger hunt. I think ‘tween’ and teen grandchildren (and grandma!) would really enjoy doing.

Basically, you drive around the neighborhood enjoying the Christmas lights and doing your scavenger hung. When you see a home with Christmas lights that you especially like, you quietly run to the door, slip a special door hanger over the front door knob, ring the door bell, and scurry away before you are discovered.

we like your lights door hanger on Grandma IdeasPeople answer the door and find a pleasant surprise that says their lighting efforts are appreciated.

They get a warm fuzzy feeling because now they know that others like their Christmas lights!

Your family get a warm fuzzy feeling because they have done a secret kindness.

Here is a ‘we like your lights door hanger that you can print up and use for the door hanger.

Santa Retires

Clever video about Santa retiring.      GrandmaIdeas.comThe creative folks at Erickson Living are at it again.

Remember when I shared their video about Grandkids retiring? They have created another clever, and very well-done video, about Santa Claus retiring. Who would have ever thought that Santa would retire, eh? (After 1,742 years on the job, I think he deserves a rest, don’t you?)

The part I like best is where Santa keeps his room so cold! I have a son-in-law who thinks that I keep my house too warm. I ask you, is 72 degrees too warm? Not even! (My son-in-law keeps his home around 68 degrees. Brrrr . . .)

Take a few moments in your Christmas hustle and bustle to watch this video. It will put a smile on your lips. It did on mine!

YouTube Preview Image

Making Popcorn Balls with Your Grandkids

popcorn_ball(NOTE: this is a guest post by Alison Foster. Thank you Alison for writing a post for my blog!)

My grandkids and I love to cook together, especially when we make dessert. While the traditional cakes and cookies are great, around the holidays we like to get a little more creative.

We have a traditional recipe we use at our house but it is for the brave of heart only. It is an old recipe for popcorn balls, not that they have changed much over the years. And anyone who has ever made candy knows how to get the candy to the soft ball or hard ball stage, and if they do not they can use a candy thermometer. Which even though I do know how to check I still use because it takes so much of the guess work out.

That sounds like the hard part but the hard part, which in some warped way is the fun part, is when you are making the balls. The candy hardens so quickly that you have to mix it quickly with the fresh popcorn and squeeze the balls together with overly buttered hands. Which only partially keeps them from burning, you have to be quick and kind of toss the ball back and forth between hands!

Somehow I have convinced my grandchildren over the years to make these with me and we end up saying we will never do it again but we do. They taste so good if you get them to the right stage. The little kids get hand me down balls to form, after the initial burning we older folks take. It is sort of like a game of hot potato! We always end up in tears, part from laughter and part from the hot candy! Sounds kind of dangerous and it can be so safety is utmost when pouring the hot candy.

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
8 cups dry popped corn (no salt or butter)
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour popcorn into large buttered metal turkey pan or mixing bowl. Make sure to remove un-popped kernels.

In a heavy duty pot, melt butter on medium high heat. Add sugar and corn syrup. Boil to hard ball stage (around 250 degrees) — if you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop some of the mixture into cold water. It should form hard strings. Quickly remove from heat. Stir in baking soda, vanilla, and food coloring (optional). Pour the syrup over the popcorn and toss to coat it evenly. Spread the coated popcorn onto a lined cookie sheet and let it cool. This would be the safe method. What we usually do is coat our hands with butter and quickly press the coated popcorn into balls.

This recipe is a favorite in our house — the popcorn balls are a lot of fun to make and yummy to eat. Have a blast making them with your grandkids because it really does make for great memories later on.

Author Byline:
Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmailDOTcom.

Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt with Grandchildren

Our little community has a pond. Not a lake. A pond

At Christmas time, the city floats rafts on the pond. On these rafts are Christmas lights in the shape of Christmas trees. (The last couple of years, the city has included other types of Christmas lights on the pond.)

It is gorgeous — especially the lights reflecting on the water.

I wanted to include a picture of the lights on the pond with this post. But,  five degree below zero weather is not very inviting for an outdoor photography shoot. So, here’s a picture of the pond in the summertime. Isn’t it pretty?

Salem Pond

I’ll leave it up to your imagination to picture in your mind Christmas tree-shaped lights reflecting on the water at night . . .

A nearby city puts up all sorts of light displays in a city park. It is fun to go as a family and drive through the park to see the lights.

So, here’s an idea of an activity that you can do with your grandchildren. Go on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt!

Christmas scavenger hunt on Grandma IdeasHere is a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt checklist that you can use.

Print it off and give a copy to each grandchild. As you drive around looking at the lights, your grandchild calls out when she sees one of the things on her list. She then puts a check in the box by that item. (The other grandchildren have to see another light display to be able to check off that item on their own list.)

At the end of your drive, give a prize to the grandchild who was the first person to check off everything — or to the one with the most items checked off.

Give other grandchildren special prizes, too. For instance, give a prize to the person who was first to see lights in the shape of an elf or a teddy bear. See if you can give some sort of prize to every grandchild so that nobody will feel left out.

You could make this scavenger hunt a tradition that you do with your grandchildren every year.

Afterwards, you can go back to your home for some cookies and hot cocoa and to sing a couple of Christmas carols!


A Charlie Brown Christmas Coloring Activity

I love the music from the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas. Someday, I’m going to learn how to play the theme song on the piano! (Keyword: someday…)

Until then, I’ll have to satisfy that desire by printing off coloring pages for my grandkids to color. Here are links to 6 coloring pages that you can print off for your grand kiddos. (Click on the picture.)

Invite your grandkids over to watch the movie, eat popcorn, and then color these pages afterwards. (If you did this activity so the parents could go Christmas shopping, they would love you — and the grandkids would love you!)

Charlie Brown Christmas coloring pages





Service Star For Grandchildren

service starThanksgiving is over and our thoughts are now focusing on Christmas.

Well, if you are into shopping on Black Friday — which really started Thursday on Thanksgiving! — you’ve already been thinking about Christmas.

And if you are like people in my neck of the woods, you might have put up your Christmas lights and decorations before Thanksgiving.


Grandchildren are beyond the moon excited about what Santa will bring them and what they will get for Christmas. And sometimes, parents are beyond the moon worried about all of the cost of Christmas.

But, Christmas really isn’t about what you get. It’s all about giving. Hopefully by now, fellow grandmothers, you have learned that the true happiness of Christmas is in serving others.

It is our responsibility to help our grandchildren learn about service — about thinking of others instead of themselves.

Here’s a simple thing that you can do to help grandchildren focus on service. Print out My Service Star. (This is a yellow colored star. If you want a plain star outline so you can print on yellow card stock, print out My Service Star non-colored). Sit down with your grandchildren and explain how serving others brings true happiness.

There are two pages of this document. One is for doing service for family members and a blank one for doing service to those besides family members. Older grandchildren can choose to do acts of service for others in their neighborhood.

Brainstorm with your grandchildren a list of ideas of acts of service. Write the ideas down on a piece of paper. Then, have  your grandchild put the star in a visible place in his bedroom so it will remind him to do service throughout the Christmas holiday.

When he does an act of service from his idea list, he writes it down on his star. Challenge your grandchild to see if he can fill the star by Christmas Day with acts of service that he has done for others.

Here are some ideas of service that grandchildren could do for their family members.

  • Do the dishes while Mom sits in a comfortable chair listening to Christmas music and reads.
  • Make your brother or sister’s bed.
  • Clean up a little sibling’s toys in the family room
  • Play with a toddler while supper is being fixed.
  • Do the laundry for one week.
  • Fix supper for the family.
  • Give Dad a foot or back rub.
  • Clean the bathroom without being asked.
  • Make cookies for your family.
  • Read a story to a younger sibling.
  • Write a thank you note for a family member and tuck it under their pillow.
  • Clean the kitty’s litter box without being asked.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ” Rings and jewels are not gifts but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of yourself.”

I hope this idea will spark acts of service — not only at Christmas time — but throughout the coming year for you and your grandchildren.