Children often think of Christmas as that magical time of year when they receive a room full of presents wrapped in brightly colored paper. While there is nothing wrong with gift giving, why not switch the focus of this holiday to one of togetherness and kindness. If your children are small there is no time like the present to start new traditions that ensure lots of quality time spent together. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Look at Christmas Lights
In a month where you spend an inordinate amount of money on gifts, food and holiday events it’s nice to look for activities that don’t cost a dime. This year save money and spend time together by loading the kids into the car and driving around in search of Christmas lights. If a lot of houses on your street decorate for the holiday skip the car and take a late night walk around the neighborhood instead. Young children particularly love shouting out “I see Christmas lights” or “Look at that one” as you drive around the block. See who can spot the lights first and count how many decorated houses you see along the route.
Read Holiday Books
If you are looking for a free holiday activity then consider reading Christmas books every evening in December. Walk or drive over to your local library and search for books including ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Christmas Wish, The Polar Express and The Littlest Elf. A quick Google search will yield a long list of holiday books that you can choose from. Snuggle up with your children every evening and let them choose a book from the big stack.
Prepare a Snack for Santa
If your children enjoy baking ask them to help you prepare a snack for Santa. Let your children decide what Santa might like to eat to sustain his long, late night journey. While some children will stick with cookies and milk, others will ask to provide a healthier snack for Santa that includes fruit and water. Depending on their age let your children prepare the snack or just arrange it on the plate. Even the youngest of kids can help draw a picture or write a note for Santa.
Wear Matching Pajamas
This time of year the calendar is often packed with seasonal adventures and events, so many in fact that you seem to be busy every day in December. Carve out one night from this busy schedule for special family time. Buy matching pajamas for each and every member of your family, including moms and dads. You can find some fun and festive sets at Macy’s. When night falls light a fire in the fireplace, turn on a holiday movie and hang out in the living room surrounded by the sparkling glow of the Christmas tree. You can also put the kids into these pajamas on Christmas Eve. They’ll make especially cute Christmas morning photos.
If you want to teach your children the true meaning of Christmas then ask them to volunteer with you this holiday season. There are many opportunities at soup kitchens, animal shelters and nursing homes. You can also spread kindness by baking cookies and delivering them to your neighbors. Ask your children to donate unwanted toys to those in need or to make Christmas cards for soldiers overseas. You can even create a calendar of kindness. For the entire month of December try to perform one simple, kind deed every day. At dinner time ask your children for their good deed, write it down and review them all on Christmas day.
This year try out a few new activities. They might just become holiday traditions for many years to come.