When my one-year-old son tried to pull the heavy, metal stocking hangers on his head, I knew I was going to have to re-think Christmas this year. So, instead of an actual tree, I made him a felt one. He can move the decorations from one part of the felt Christmas tree to the other and no one gets hurt. It was simple as pie to make, too. All you have to do is purchase felt – one large green piece for the tree itself and other small pieces in various colors to create decorations. I bought black (but I would have preferred brown) to make the stump at the bottom. I cut a simple, large triangle from the large green fabric. Then, I cut circles hearts, one candy cane, and one candy shape out of the other pieces of felt. I put a piece of self-adhesive velcro on the back of each, but felt sticks to felt, so that was not really necessary. Now, my son and his little cousins have a ball moving all the decorations, including the star at the top of the tree and the stump at the bottom.
I kicked off the new year a few weeks ago with my parents and grandparents, and to celebrate we played bowling, ping pong, and sword dueling on the Wii. (To join the rockin’ party, visit the “New Year’s Eve 2011” photo album.) We have to turn my rug around to make an alley for my father to get a running start. He has to bowl as though he actually has the ball in his hands, as opposed to the Wii remote, and he took a major spill on my hard wood floors the first time he played on Christmas. The traction from the rug helps, but he jumps so hard at the end of each run that the house shakes. Still, he usually wins. But on New Year’s Eve, Grandma was the big winner of the night. She was pretty great at bowling strikes and popping the ping pong ball to win points. I, however, earned the title of sword dueling champion. I credit all my pent-up anger for those wins. I just pretend the avatar I’m facing is one of the many enemies I collected like bottle tops in 2010. (Shut up, you all know who you are!) All those enemies sunk into the virtual ocean, baby, and it felt oh so good. Although we were all sore the next day, we had so much fun that I’ve been continuing to Wii with my husband Antonio. I can be a sore loser, however, so I sometimes get a time out. Still, a good time is generally had by all, and my time is better when I win.