20 December 2012 07:30 PM

A Dozen Ways to Have Some Christmas Fun

by rbavaria

Christmas is here, schools are out, kids are antsy, and there’s a ton of stuff to do.  We want to help the kids build those happy family memories that will sustain them when they’re in the midst of future holidays with their own kids!  “Here’s what Daddy used to do when he was a boy.”


Everyone has Christmas memories – family togetherness, Grandma’s mint chocolate-chip cookies, the Sunday School pageant, Uncle Ebenezer’s familiar stories, and favorite carols we never get tired of. (Well, okay, The Little Drummer Boy can get annoying, but kids seem never to get enough of it.  Rum pa pum pum.)


It’s easy to get stressful, but there are ways to ease the busy-ness and help us to concentrate on what’s important – our children.  If your family celebrates Christmas, here are a dozen “favorites” I’ve collected over the years from my own family, other families, and school activities I’ve happily domesticated.  Adapt them to your own family.


  1. Watch a movie.  Cuddle up in front of the TV – or at an actual movie theatre – and watch a Christmas-themed movie together.  Old favorite.  New one.  Doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you’re enjoying something together.  Unplug ahead of time, so there are no interruptions.  I love A Christmas Story (that lamp!), and my favorite A Christmas Carol is the 1951 Alistair Sim one. 
  2. Read a book.  So many to choose from! Check with the children’s librarian for the latest and greatest, but it’s always nice to have one or two favorites that become tradition.  Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas (won’t be long before they have it memorized), and, of course, the Christmas story from the Bible.
  3. Sing songs.  Endure The Little Drummer Boy if the kids insist, but there are hundreds of others.  Silly ones.  Serious ones.  Religious ones.  Even country ones.  Kids love to sing, and when we sing with them it makes for a lovely family time.  (When I was a kid, I loved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I cried at the end of Frosty the Snowman.  I was a sentimental child.) 
  4. Draw pictures.  Kids love to draw, too.  Keep them busy with drawing their favorite Christmas foods, presents, activities, and story characters.  Draw Christmas cards, name tags for family get-togethers, gift tags, or for the family’s Christmas journal.
  5. Write stories.  Kids love to let their imaginations run wild, too.  If Charles Dickens can write a Christmas story with a trio of ghosts, who’s to say your kids can’t come up with their own cool story?  Use family members as characters.  Read the story at the family gathering.  Video it for Grandma.  
  6. Bake cookies.  We all know calories don’t count at Christmas, so go wild with the cookies.  Okay, not necessarily wild, but a little loose on the sugar rules.  Let the kids help out with the setting up, the recipe reading, the measuring, the time keeping, the tasting, and the cleaning up.  Give some to the nice elderly lady down the street who could use a smile from a visiting child in the Christmas spirit.
  7. Give to charity.  The perfect time of year to think of others.  Maybe your church has a community service it helps sponsor.  Maybe your workplace does.  Or, with your kids, select one that shares your family’s values – a local animal shelter, perhaps, or a children’s hospital.
  8. Decorate.  Assign a room or a section of a room for each kid to decorate – or let them be creative in their own rooms.  Encourage them to make their own decorations out of inexpensive materials you already have – construction paper, glitter, crayons, water colors, and colorful markers. 
  9. Wrap presents.  Do a few each night.  Who can come up with the most original, artistic, and resourceful wraps?  No extra spending allowed.  Creativity counts.
  10. Share stories of your own childhood Christmas memories.  Kids love to hear our stories.  Help them come up with some good conversation starters and questions to ask Grandma and Granddad about their Christmas reminiscences.  Stories, conversations, and future memories guaranteed.
  11. Go to church.  Of course.  The music, the lights, the Christmas story, the congregational fellowship, the “formal” opportunity to remember the source of all this activity will add to the memories we want our kids to have – the best gift we can give them.
  12.  Honor other cultures and beliefs.  Not everyone celebrates Christmas.  If you don’t celebrate Christmas, create memories that honor your family’s traditions, religious beliefs, and values.  Take opportunities to share with friends and neighbors.  The more we know about each other’s faith traditions, the better off we’ll all be.




12/31/2012 10:36:08 AM

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