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santa balls

A few years back my mom started a new tradition with her grandchildren (she has 14 now). On Christmas Eve when we gather at her house, she has these sweet Santa Balls up on the mantle, one for each child three years and up. (For those grandchildren who are far away on Christmas, the balls are mailed and opened on Christmas Eve.)

The Santa Balls are full of surprises, wrapped in layers and layers of crepe paper (also known as surprise balls.. there is a great how-to here. If you can't find crepe paper sheets, which can be hard to find, my mom cuts rolls of streamers in half so they are only an inch or so wide... time consuming but it gets the job done). My mom finds all sorts of tiny toys and little trinkets to hide inside. I'm always amazed at how much stuff she can fit in each little ball. The kids have the best time unwrapping their balls, which have to be carefully unwrapped layer by layer, revealing more and more goodies. The whole thing takes a half hour or so.

Here are a few of the things inside the kids' balls this year. There was also gold chocolate coins and some other candy which was gobbled up before I could take a photo. As the children get older, my mom varies what is inside each ball... teenagers get dollar bills and coins, so the Santa Balls are loved by all.

My favorite thing is how festive they make the room look at the end of the night. The kids are covered in piles of crepe paper, and the littler ones who aren't quite old enough to get their own Santa Ball still have something to play with. Such a wonderful Christmas tradition.. just goes to show it's never too late to add something new to your family rituals.

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Reader Comments (25)

What a great Christmas tradition. I make surprise balls (we call them piñata balls) for birthdays, and have tucked gift cards in them, which go over very well. I also found that a very sharp knife will cut through a streamer roll pretty cleanly, and much MUCH faster than scissors!

12.29.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSequinK

Awesome. I am totally doing this next year! Thanx for the link.

12.29.2009 | Unregistered CommenterABby

I have seen these for sale at New Seasons Market - called a surprise ball. THE SANTA versions look LOVELY! What a great idea.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMMW

These are simply adorable! I love the Santa. What an awesome Grandma they children have!

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

What a wonderful idea! I am going to try this for New Years - I think it would make for a fun tradition!

12.30.2009 | Unregistered Commentererlfisher

aww, so cute. we'll have to try this next year.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAimee

Love this idea!! How clever and what a fun tradition! Bookmarking this post so we can try making them next year.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterQuinn

I love this idea! I have 8 grandkids, ages 11 months to 19 years, and I think this would be fun for all of them. Thanks for sharing this. It's being added to my list for next year.

What a wonderful tradition! Will definitely use in the future.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn

I want to try this next year and maybe even do one for easter.Thanks for sharing.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered Commenteryolana

Such a cute idea! I've seen lots of surprise ball posts lately, but hadn't thought about applying the idea to Christmas. I'll have to email this post to my mom. wink wink!

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

What a fabulous idea, I'll be doing this next year for my boys.
happy New year

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterEngracia

What a fantastic idea. I might start doing that for all friends next year.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSammi

I have to admit--I am not a fan of surprise balls, mainly because the stuff I have seen people put in them are kind of meh. But this? So, so, so cool. I will definitely be doing this next year! What a great tradition. :)

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJules

What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

That's a great tradition! Thanks for sharing it.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

love this. i can see where the genius come from.

12.30.2009 | Unregistered Commentermer

What a cute tradition! I love hearing about families christmas traditions. This is one of the best I've heard so far!

12.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

What a creative thing! And I love how she does them for each of her grandchildren. I have 17 cousins not including the 6 kids in my family, so my grandparents have their hands full too!

12.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChaucee

I love it. I've been looking at my own family traditions as well as incorporating new ones now that my daughter is old enough to really enjoy the holiday spirit. This is a great one, way to go grandma!

12.31.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRansacked Goods

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