Several days ago, one of my kids said to me, “Mom, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I’m not feeling the Christmas spirit.” I gulped. What? I had a Christmas tree, lights, decorations, the works. So I wrote down all the fun Christmas memories I’d had as a child. I thought I’d make a checklist, to see how many fun Christmas activities my family could still accomplish (without stress) to make this a very memorable holiday season. (I apologize to readers who aren’t Christian. I only have my own family traditions to access here.)
It’s not too late to share the Christmas spirit with your family! Christmas vacation hasn’t quite started for most children in the public school system. So take a look at my list. How many of these things have you already done with your family? How many could you do over the next two weeks?
1. Build a snowman. (Or paint one, or make one out of marshmallows.)
2. Go driving to find fabulous Christmas light displays. Or just drive through your neighborhoods, looking for houses with lots of decorations and lights. Give the kids “score cards” and let them select a “winner.” Leave a ready-made treat “award” at the winning house.
3. Make and frost sugar cookies in Christmas shapes. Deliver them to neighbors.
4. Cut out paper snowflakes. Or you can visit a fun snowflake website (it’s addicting!) by clicking here.
5. Read the biblical account of the birth of Jesus or act out the story with props and costumes.
6. Watch a classic Christmas movie together, like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or “The Polar Express” or “A Christmas Story.”
7. Go downtown and window shop out on the city streets. As a child, my parents took me out on the cold streets of Chicago, all bundled up, to see the moving window displays. Unforgettable.
8. Play Christmas music in your home and car. (Just doing that makes a difference.)
9. Be “Secret Santas.” Write everyone in the family’s name on a piece of paper, and draw them out of a hat. You are now “Secret Santa” to the person you choose. Secret Santas discretely do nice things… like small acts of service or leave love notes. Don’t be discovered! Reveal your identities on Christmas Day… or New Year’s Eve.
10. Give “gifts” to the baby Jesus (or set new Years Resolutions) by having everyone in the family write down something they’re going to do to be a better person this year. Seal the personal notes in envelopes and place under the tree: “To: Baby Jesus, From: Robert.” After Christmas is over, pack the unopened envelopes up with your Christmas decorations. Next year when you get them out again, open the envelopes together to see how everyone did with their “gift.”
11. Make a gingerbread house together and decorate with frosting and candy.
12. Take the family ice skating.
13. Read “The Night Before Christmas,” and other Christmas stories.
14. Have your kids draw pictures of imaginary gifts they would like to give to family members, but can’t. Encourage creativity. For example, a child might draw a limo and driver to take over mom’s errands, or a giant who puts up and takes down Christmas lights for Dad.
15. Buy tickets to see local Christmas performances of “The Nutcracker” or “A Christmas Carol,” or other holiday plays or shows. Local high schools and colleges often have Christmas performances that are relatively inexpensive.
16. If funds allow, plan to boost Christmas for a family in need. Fill a box with holiday foods and include simple Christmas gifts. Have your children participate in selecting items. A few days before Christmas, leave the box on a doorstep, ring the doorbell, and flee. My family did this several times during my childhood. I hardly remember the gifts I received as a child, but I will never forget this activity.
17. Get together with other families and go caroling to neighbors you’d like to get to know better.
18. Christmas Lip Sync: Put on your own family Christmas performance by letting your kids choose a Christmas song to Lip Sync. Fun songs might include “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” or “Santa Baby,” “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman,” etc. Be sure to get out the video camera! Afterwards, drink egg nog and watch the recording!
19. Have a contest for the best hot chocolate-maker. Pour regular hot cocoa in everyone’s mug. Let them stir with a candy cane, add cinnamon, marshmallows, orange or lemon, etc. With spoons, sip everyone’s concoction. Assign a blindfolded judge to choose the winner.
20. Take time to tell each of your children (and your spouse) how much you love them, and why they’re so important in your life.
Kristyn Crow is the author of this blog. Visit her website by clicking here. Some links on this blog may have been generated by outside sources are not necessarily endorsed by Kristyn Crow.