Make some traditions the kids will want to do every year.
What are your memories of Christmas past— all the gifts you got and can name them or are your memories of the fun things you did at Christmas time?
Slow down and enjoy the season. Take time to enjoy your loved ones. (Read though here and put some of these ideas together for one or two special nights during the holiday season.)
You could do these over several nights of the season or try to do them on Christmas Eve:
- Have a Christmas movie marathon Watch Christmas movies with the kids for free and start a new tradition. Borrow them from the library or watch for free on the internet
- Make a giant chocolate chip cookie using frozen cookie dough (the smaller package, not the huge one) …using coupons and catching it on sale…. and spread in a pizza pan (you can get the cheap throw away pan at the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart). Make one giant chocolate chip cookie from a frozen log and it is less messy than making a bunch of cookies from scratch. (Since it is a giant choc chip cookie the kids might not even want to decorate it.)
- Read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
- Get out the picnic blanket and picnic basket and sit under the twinkling lights of the tree to eat sandwiches and drink Welchs Sparkling grape juice from your fanciest glasses–The bottle with a bunch of curly ribbon around it looks festive; like a celebration itself.
- Have a family slumber party in the living room using sleeping bags or pallets. There is something special about going to sleep under the Christmas lights.
- Look at pictures in photo albums from Christmas past and share with kids some of the things you did as a child at Christmas time.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle together, as a family. It is fun to do over several nights so you might want to start it early in December. Sharing like this invites family members to talk. (Jigsaw puzzles can be purchased at garage sales.)
- Write a Christmas letter, with everyone in the family telling their own story of the past year. Start the letter with “Dad’s Turn” and work down to the youngest child’s turn. It’s fun to read everyone’s differing perspective on the past year.
- Make a video for Christmas- sing songs, tell stories, and just have a good time. Your relatives will appreciate seeing how the kids had grown over the year. Record your children singing their favorite Christmas carols so that in twenty years you’ll have the recording to see how much they have changed over the years.
- Video a time capsule to be opened in 5 years. (That is a very long time to kids.)
- Take your family’s picture in front of the Christmas tree. Make it a yearly tradition.
- Have a family fun night where you spend playing a board game. Kids will like it so much they will want to keep having them.
- Find a candy that the kids have never had (maybe from your childhood*?–even more fun if you are the grandparent), wrap it up in colorful paper and let them unwrap it. The fun part is to let them see the package and let the excitement build over a few hours and then sitting in the room with the trees lights (or when you have finished caroling) explain how you loved it as a child and let them open it). A new tradition is born. *Find some by googling candy from your childhood or childhood candies
- Simmer some hot cider, either using a good and simple recipe or just heat up some bottled cider. Add cinnamon sticks.
These aren’t going to last, but aren’t they cute? mice ornaments
- Christmas caroling as a family or with friends can be so much fun!
- Drive around town to look at the Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate from a thermos. Have fun voting on which neighborhood has the best display. (If you are near Tulsa you must see Rhema and Paragon Pipe!)
- Go for a walk to collect pine cones, acorns and such for decorations.
- A White Elephant gift exchange with friends will leave you rolling with laughter.
- A re-gift exchange allows you to trade nice gifts you and your family received, but never used to get something you can use. (Some do this BEFORE Christmas with gifts they got over the year. They can end up with some great gifts to pass on to those they normally have to buy for.)
- Send a card to a U.S. soldier that you know. If you don’t know a U.S. soldier, consider making a donation to an organization that supports the troops. Or contact your local National Guard to see how you can help.
Go to a Christmas Eve Service. It’s completely free, and it will put you in the right frame of mind to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Do the bulk of the preparation for a special Christmas breakfast. Cinnamon Buns and Christmas Breakfast Sausage Casserole are good ones.
On Christmas Eve by candlelight, Christmas lights and Christmas music playing very low, present the stocking you made full of freebies that you have collected all year
and here have cute tags on the gifts you give:
Have a birthday party for Jesus, complete with a cake. Invite the neighborhood kids over. For gifts, you could give time or make a commitment to read your Bible, pray…whatever you can think of!
Teach them the joy of sharing with others- Have your family volunteer- Deliver meals at Christmas for Meals on Wheels, at a food bank, help serve a Christmas meal on Christmas Day at a shelter or mission, volunteer at the pet shelter.
GIFTS THAT ARE FUN-
Figure out ways to make things. I’m not a kid but I’d personally love this: http://www.pattiewack.com/candygram_bouquet.html or the older ladies might like this. I do! http://www.pattiewack.com/bouquet.html
What Grandma wouldn’t love this in the guest bathroom? http://www.pattiewack.com/snazzy_soaps.html
And what kid wouldn’t love making these? http://www.dadcando.com/default_MAKING.asp?project=PomPoms_Sheep&catagory=PomPoms[/url]
I could see a boy loving this idea: http://www.pattiewack.com/tiretracks_tshirts.html
Giving money? Then fold in cute shapes:
Want to make your own boxes? http://familycrafts.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&zTi=1&sdn=familycrafts&cdn=parenting&tm=27&f=20&tt=1