A lot goes on during the Holidays. Between school work assigned over winter break and prepping for extended family visits, the countdown to Christmas Day can sometimes feel like a race to the finish line. But what can feel like a marathon to parents is still a magical, memory making time for children. So in an effort to “stop and smell the poinsettias” during the holidays, here are some suggestions of things to experience with your children leading up to Christmas.
Snowman Building – Weather permitting, snowman building is a great holiday experience for children. A lot of the fun comes from kids of every age being able to participate. Older kids can help roll the snowballs that will eventually make your snowman’s body and head, and younger children can help with the detail work of adding arms and a face. Gather up some old clothes (hats, scarves, mittens, etc.) to personalize your snowman after it’s complete.
Making Christmas Cookies – An experience that is just as much fun to finish as it is to start, baking Christmas cookies with your children is a great way to turn a job that probably needs to get done anyway, into a treasured memory. The internet and cook books are full of great ideas for Christmas cookie recipes, so pick something that is age appropriate for your children to help with. Rolling out dough and decorating cookies can be especially fun for the little ones. Plus, baking together when they are little can be a great beginning to learning more advanced recipes when they are older.
Christmas Light Site Seeing – Take advantage of the nights growing longer in the lead up to Christmas to go out as a family and look at the beautiful Christmas lights. It could be a neighborhood where everyone really goes all out, or a public park or zoo that your town makes particularly festive for the holidays. If it too cold for younger kids, go for a slow drive with Christmas music playing so your children can look at the winter wonderland right outside their windows.
Decorating the Tree – Another task that could easily seem like chore if your family is pressed for time, decorating the Christmas tree is a moment for everyone to relax and work together. One of the special thing about Christmas trees is that each family’s is different. If you have some ornaments from your childhood, explain them to your kids. Put popcorn on string to wrap the tree in (and eat the left overs). The point is to make it a fun little event where everyone lends a hand to help. And when it’s all done, sit down with some hot cocoa to enjoy your handwork together.
Cozy Story Time – Here’s a tradition that’s both simple and effective. On Christmas Eve, have the whole family get into pajamas, collect blankets and get together for a quiet Christmas story. The Story of the Nativity or The Night Before Christmas are classic choices, but if your family has another favorite holiday story to read, go for it! The important thing is that you are all together for a quiet, peaceful story before bed (which can make going to sleep a little easier for the very excited.). And who knows? Doing it every year could make it a tradition that might live on with your children’s children and beyond!
This is just a small sample of what you can do with your children to make their Christmas experience special. Try them out and then pay attention to which ones your kids are particularly taken by. If there’s something they mention over and over after December, you might have found a winner! Adjust your experience each year to make something that’s the best for your family. And don't forget to throw in a few activities that are your favorites as well.
Originally Published 12/21/2016