With the year drawing to a close and the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about family plans for the season. Instead of just sticking with traditional activities such as Thanksgiving dinner and presents on Christmas morning, though, consider branching out and trying something different. If you’re looking to create a fun and memorable holiday experience for your kids—and possibly even start a couple new family traditions in the process—here are five things to try.
1.) Pilgrims Come to America – Help your kids get in the spirit of Thanksgiving through having a family recreation! If you’re feeling super creative, make some costumes so that they can dress up like Pilgrims and Indians. Then, hide some Thanksgiving themed foods (such as cans of pumpkin or a turkey) around your house or yard and have your kids search for them. After they’ve found the items, explain that the early Pilgrims had to grow and provide all their own food for the original feast. Remind them the original Thanksgiving was a celebration for all that they had been given that year. Make some paper turkeys and let each kid write down things they’re thankful for on a turkey. Hang it up on the fridge as a reminder of everything your family has been blessed with. You can also read a book or watch a movie about the Pilgrims to help your kids get in the Thanksgiving spirit. There are tons of great holiday ideas, so do some research to find out what your kids would like best.
2.) 12 Days of Giving — Teach your children the importance and beauty of giving through creating a “12 Days of giving” on the 12 days leading up to Christmas. On each day, let them pick a different individual or cause to give a gift to. Maybe they’ll want to bake Christmas cookies for a neighbor or grandparent who is in the nursing home. Maybe they’ll choose to give gifts to Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, or other organizations that provide gifts for less fortunate children. Maybe they’ll want to send a kind note to an old friend that they haven’t talked to recently. Let them experience how fun it is to be a “secret Santa” by blessing someone else’s life—and remind them that this doesn’t just have to be limited to the holiday season.
3.) Perform a Christmas play — If you’re parenting a budding writer or thespian, why not have them write, direct, and act in a family Christmas play? If your kids are interested, let them pick a topic to write about (How Santa came to town? How the Grinch stole Christmas? How a snowman deals with the fear of freezing to death?) and create roles for each family member. You can even pick out costumes at a local second-hand store or figure out a way to use household items as props. Spend a few days practicing the play before the performance. For the actual show, print up some programs and make some Christmas cookies and hot chocolate for snacks. You can perform it for extended family or grandparents. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved in a fun and unforgettable Christmas memory!
Andrea Smith blogs about all things kid-related.