Many homeschool families take a break from academics for the month of December to focus more on service projects and holiday activities. It seems like we're never far enough ahead (or even close enough to being caught up) to do that, but we have decided on a family giving project this year that has already been a hit with our girls.
My oldest daughter (almost 15) loves to cook and bake... and it's beginning to look like she has the gift of hospitality. We talked about having a holiday open house and inviting all our friends to stop by for a hot beverage and baked goodies, but with our current housing situation that didn't seem very practical. So the alternative we came up with was to fix goody boxes to deliver to Daddy's co-workers and other family friends on the Friday before Christmas.
Daddy works at a print shop, so we were about to get a supply of nice envelope boxes with lift-off lids. (The boxes hold 1000 business-size envelopes, so they are about 8.5'x11'x4'... pretty good size.) The girls have spent several evenings wrapping the boxes, keeping the lid separate so it will lift off without unwrapping the box. It's been interesting to see how they've coordinated different wrapping papers... putting one kind on a box and another on it's lid. We plan to line the boxes with foil, and then with colored tissue paper.
We have also started preparing (and freezing) some of the goodies to go in the boxes. We plan to make 20 boxes, so we knew we needed to allow plenty of time. We plan to fill them with: a variety of cookies and candy (I'll be sharing recipes here throughout the month), mini loaves of banana bread, dipped pretzels, Chex mix (original and "puppy chow"), and hot cocoa mix. I found some holiday-themed mini cupcake papers to set the candies in, and small decorated clear plastic bags for the various mixes.
It hasn't necessarily been a "cheap" endeavor, by the time we have gathered all the baking and decorating supplies, but we are having fun putting it all together and I think it will be well received. I am also persuaded that such a project is surely worth some school credit in the areas of Life Skills and Math, at least.
Visit more sites participating in the Holiday Homeschool Open House.