10 Christmas Activities for Families
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For children, Christmas is magic. It’s wonder and excitement. Often times, for grown-ups, it’s mile long shopping lists, mile long lines in department stores and mile long credit card bills piling in after the first of the new year. Don’t allow the hassles and stress of the holidays to diminish your Christmas spirit! Christmas is a time for memories, not migraines! Here are some fun ideas for you and your family to regain the true meaning of Christmas.
1. Ambush your kids with a surprise late night drive around town to see lights and decorations. Get them all set for bed, in nice warm jammies. Then, right when you are about to tuck them in, scoop them up, bundle them in blankets, buckle them in the car and go cruisin’! Be sure to have Christmas tunes ready in the car to sing along to. Older children will especially get a kick out of this special holiday adventure!
2. It’s important to teach your children that Christmas is not just about presents under the tree. Have your children decorate an old shoe box with reds and greens and ribbons and bows. Then talk to your children about gifts that don’t come wrapped, gifts that you can’t touch, such as love. Help your children make a list of all the gifts that they are thankful for that can’t be wrapped and put under the tree. Put the list in the box and place the box in a prominent spot in your home as a reminder of this life lesson. You can pack the box away with your holiday decorations and add a new list each Christmas.
3. Lights, camera, action! Act out your family’s favorite Christmas story, such as Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and record it. Everyone knows how the story goes, only rehearse your skit once, then capture it on film. You are guaranteed tons of laughter and a great memory!
4. Start a Christmas tradition that each year your family will do something new, something that your family has never done before to celebrate the spirit of the season. It can be anything – ice skating, caroling – have each member of the family come up with an idea for a first-time activity and write them down, then throw all the ideas into a hat. Then write each member of the family’s name down and throw them into a separate hat. Mom or Dad can choose the name out of that hat and whoever they pull out gets to pull the activity out of the other hat. Maybe your experience will be a one shot deal (we had a skiing fiasco in our family last year) or maybe it will be something your family wants to add to the Christmas traditions you already celebrate each year.
5. Get out of the house! Check your local newspaper for community Christmas events that you and your family can enjoy together – going to see a high school production of “The Nutcracker”, joining an organized caroling event or attending a live nativity scene.
6. Put together a time capsule to be opened on a future Christmas. Have your child include their Christmas Wish List, holiday crafts that they’ve made in school and whatever else you’d like to add as a Christmas memory. Mark the box with “Christmas” and the current year and then the year you’ll uncover the time capsule – how about five years from now? Your then eight year old will be horrified to learn she wanted a Barney tape when she was three! You don’t have to actually bury your Christmas Time Capsule – unless you want to – it will stay much safer up in the attic or hidden away in the garage.
7. Tell your children the story of the birth of Jesus. Explain to them that the baby Jesus was born poor and homeless and that even though that was many, many years ago there are still babies born today who don’t have what they need. Take your children to the store and have them pick out gifts for babies born like baby Jesus. Take your children with you to a pregnancy center or woman’s shelter to donate the items. Say a special prayer at bedtime that night for the babies who will receive their gifts.
8. Expose your children to Christmas traditions from around the world. Do some research online or check out a book from the library and educate yourself on Christmas customs from different cultures. Then share your new knowledge with your little ones. One of the traditions you learn about may speak to you and you may want to incorporate it into your own family’s holiday traditions.
9. Hear ye’, hear ye’! Create a family newsletter to send out with your Christmas cards or through email this year. Tell about what’s happened in your family in the past year. Each member of the family can have their own message, older children can write their own and younger children can dictate to you what they’d like to share. You can even include photos, recipes, a word search – whatever you’d like.
10. Many families give their children’s school pictures or a family portrait in a frame as a Christmas gift. Why not add a really personal touch to an already personal gift? Help your children decorate the frames in any manner they choose. You knew you’d find a use for those odds and ends craft scraps of yours!
Hope these suggestions have been helpful. Don’t try to do all of the activities or you’ll wind up more stressed than before, just pick those that spoke to you. Christmas can be a magical time full of wonder and excitement, even for busy grown-ups. Don’t lose sight of what matters this time of year and don’t pass up an opportunity to make a special Christmas memory. Even the seemingly simplest activity can create a special Christmas memory for your child. Maybe even one they will share with their own children someday when they’ve turned into a busy grown-up and need to rediscover their Christmas spirit.
Happy Holidays, here’s to the memories…
Revel in the ramblings of The Whack-E-Doo Mom on her blog at whack-e-doo-mom.blogspot.com .