Spending time with friends and family can lead to fun and memorable moments, but also some very messy ones. 

Every year, my family gets together at my grandparents’ nursing home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I don't usually win Pin the Nose on the Reindeer.

I should start by saying that we have a BIG family.  My mother is one of seven kids, which led to more than twenty cousins and second-cousins for me.  We cousins range in age from 40 to 1, with more than ten kids under 13.  It’s always a challenge to keep everyone entertained and well-behaved during these get-togethers.

One thing we have found to be very effective is to have a LOT of activities! We bring “pin the nose on the reindeer” games, markers and paper for drawing, colorful pipe cleaners to encourage all kinds of creativity (they became hair extensions for me one year!), and tons of toys for the younger kids.

The best place to find these supplies is the Dollar Store or someplace similar. Since everything is mostly destroyed by the end of the day, it’s not too much of a loss for the person responsible for toys/games that year. Keeping 10-15 kids occupied for a few hours for $20? I’ll take it! If we’re lucky, we can bag up some of the unused paper and markers (and usually the games) and keep them for the next gathering.

Just a small section of the mess!

The entire day ends up being tons of fun for everyone, but it does get a bit chaotic! To get rid of the resulting mess, we have a clean up minute where everyone runs around and picks up the stuff as fast as we can. The kid whose bag has the most trash in it wins a special prize. While they pick up the little things, some of the adults (there are almost as many adults as kids!) will follow behind with a disinfecting wipe while another group packs the food away in to-go containers.

That’s one of the benefits of having a lot of energy in one place – the cleanup can be quick with the proper incentive 🙂

What do you do for kid-friendly holiday parties? And how do you deal with the mess?

I received information about Clorox’s Bleach It Away campaign and am sharing my messy moment for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls. To learn more about the messy moment program, check out www.BleachItAway.com.  Sharing your story on the Clorox fan page gets you entered for the chance to win $25,000 and daily prizes, and you can grab a coupon for Clorox® Regular Bleach.

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4 Responses to Holiday Tip: Get a Little Messy!

  1. Jess says:

    And I thought MY family was big! I love that your family has a clean up minute – I’ll have to suggest that this year for my holiday parties 🙂 I’m sure the prize is a big motivator!

  2. I LOVE the dollar store for picking up inexpensive goodies as stocking stuffers, or “white elephant” gifts at holiday parties. I run a lot of events for the fire department I am on, and will be hitting the dollar store next week for prizes and kids gifts to give away at our annual Christmas party. Great post, Erin – I think I will have to make a ‘Pin the Nose on the Reindeer’ game for the kids, too!
    Lisa @ Thriftability

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