Holidays involving decorating the house, baking cookies, presents and lots of entertaining. Christmas is especially exciting for children as they dream about new toys but consider the 2 year old who spends more time playing with the boxes and wrapping paper. Holidays are really about memories of good times with family and friends.
When there's too little time and too much to do like baking and decorating, it can be hard to slow down and include the children. If you think back to your favorite memories from last year though, it likely involves something you did together with your children. That should tell you that it's far more important to make memories with your children than almost anything else you might do over the holidays.
Holidays Are About Making Memories
We hope everyone will share their favorite ideas for great activities for parents to enjoy with their children. Try to plan a special activity for each weekend in December, and continue the most popular ones each and every year. One way for you and your children to remember the fun you've had is to take photos and put together a scrapbook. Everyone will enjoy looking at it for years to come.
- Putting up the Christmas tree together, which might include picking out a fresh tree or even cutting a tree down if that's possible where you live.
- Decorating the tree together, and don't forget to include some home made decorations that the kids can make like paper chains made from construction paper.
- Putting up Christmas lights inside and outside. My 2 boys love decorating the front of the house and while I sometimes think it is a little over done, it's their work and they love it … so that's what we have in front of our house.
- Stringing popcorn and berries and hanging them outside for the birds … or creating homemade suet balls to feed the winter birds where you live.
- Making holiday cards for special people like teachers, grandparents and special neighbors. Your children can make elaborate cards that are also gifts, showing how their appreciation for the people in their lives. You can write your family letter (one of my favorite traditions) while the kids make their cards.
- Create origami stars from colorful paper in assorted or matching colors. They are beautiful on the Christmas tree, fun to hang in front of large windows and easy to scatter on the table for family meals.
- Build and decorate a gingerbread house, our families most popular activity before Christmas arrives. We have a gingerbread party with neighbors and family friends, and every family gets to build and decorate a house.
- Sing Christmas carols in your neighborhood or visit a nursing home, to cheer those who are there to listen and enjoy the lively spirit with you. It's fun with a large group of people, and when you follow the sing-out with hot apple cider and donuts, your children get to connect with others they might not know well.
- Adopt a family and buy food, clothing and gifts for the children. When my boys were younger, we went to the grocery store and each one got their own shopping cart. We had a great time going down the aisles and talking about the best foods to buy and what comes to mind are the chocolate straws we had to buy and it took us almost 10 minutes to find them at the grocery store.
Teaching your children the joy of giving is one of the most important things you want to do over the Christmas holidays. By sharing your values about taking care of others, you will pass on the values you learned from your parents.
- Create (or add to) a family scrapbook where you capture photos and other memorabilia about each years festivities. Invite guests to share stories, recipes and memories made this year. My best friend Nance has a large family and they have great fun sharing ideas like … if you could have lunch with any 2 people, dead or alive, who would you want to meet?