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Top 8 Family Activities That Make Christmas Special

If you’re like me, you may be starting out with a new family of your own. You have cherished Christmas traditions that you wish to pass on to your children, but you’re also interested in creating new traditions. Or maybe, like me, you live in a warmer climate, and it’s hard to get that “holiday” feeling when the temps are constantly in the 70s and 80s. I have decided that I’m not going to sit around waiting for that holiday feeling I used to get when I lived in snow country, but that I would discover new holiday customs for my growing family.

  1. An Ornament for Each Child – A specially chosen ornament for each child every Christmas to put on the tree may not be significant when they’re babies and toddlers. When they’re able to choose the ornament themselves, and then hang it on that 8 ft. tree come December 1st, it will become something each child will eagerly look forward to. Unwrapping each ornament and seeing the growing collection of keepsakes can trigger special memories of each Christmas spent long after they’ve forgotten the present they got last year. When they’re older, they can keep the ornaments in their own homes, perhaps leaving several special ones to spruce up the parent’s tree.

  2. Go Ice Skating – (and drink hot chocolate at the rink side) There’s nothing quite like gliding on smooth ice in an outdoor skating rink or if you’ve got a natural pond that’s frozen over, good for you! I have to settle with a man-made one but I’ll take it. You can’t ice skate all year. And lacing up those first pair of ice skates for your little ones can be the start of a long-standing holiday tradition. Don’t forget to have some warm beverage like hot chocolate, or hot apple cider to help with that little nip in the air, even if the nip is manufactured by ice machines.

  3. Watch the Nutcracker – It’s kind of a rite of passage for many little ones to be taken to their first stage show. It makes it even more significant to watch this classic and perennial favorite that usually only appears during the month of December. Other ideas would be watching plays or musicals put on by your local Children’s theaters. We’re taking our 2 year old to A Christmas Carol put on by the Children’s Theater group this Friday. Make sure to check the recommended age, and gauge your child’s own tastes before taking them to a particular show. I was pleasantly surprised to see that A Christmas Carol was recommended for all ages.

  4. Make Christmas Arts & Crafts – I’m planning to make paper snowflakes with my daughter when she’s older. I’ve found simple directions online and (I hope) that she’ll enjoy all the paper paraphernalia and eventual snowflakes that will come out of them. It’s bonding time well-spent in my opinion. (I must confess, I am pretty excited and will probably try it this year, though my 2 year old will not be able to participate in cutting). For the little ones. you can stick to non-scissors activity like making pipe cleaner candy canes or glittery pinecones which you can then have them hang around the house for decoration, or to trim the tree.

  5. Bake Christmas Cookies – (or make other confections). I don’t bake much except for around the holidays. This year, I’ve bought my sugar cookie mix, got my cookie sheet and special Christmas cookie cutters shaped like a Christmas tree and snowman, plus colorful sprinkles. Yes, even a two-year old will enjoy making the cookies with you, especially the tasting part :). You can guide their little wrist with the cutting, and have them help with the decorations. Having them wait in anticipation for the completion of their handiwork makes this even more fun.

  6. Watch Christmas Parades – How often do you get to see Santa and his reindeer, elves, and other festive fixtures in holiday parades? Bundle up the kids and watch their eyes light up! Be sure to see the BIG parade on Christmas morning!

  7. Go on a Christmas Light Tour – Every city has them, pockets of neighborhoods where every house in the cul-de-sac, street, etc. has a tradition of putting up Christmas decor on steroids, attracting passers-by on foot or car to admire the handiwork. Last year, my toddler was too little to really care, but we’re going again this year because, personally, I really, really enjoyed it.

  8. Listen to Christmas Carolers (or sing yourselves!) – Waiting for Christmas carolers to stumble on your doorstep is probably futile. Most Christmas carols are organized events. Check with your church, your local schools if they have any caroling planned. They will usually tell you the neighborhood at which they’ll sing, and what dates and times so you can be around to watch and revel in the holiday songs.

And of course, there is always the lovely unveiling of Santa and his elves, as well as Christmas movies, Christmas feasts, and whatever else your family loves doing come holiday season. I hope the suggestions above are helpful, and I hope that your family enjoys them!

There are many ways to make each holiday season special. We’d love to hear about your family’s special holiday traditions.

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