As a parent, you shape how your children will remember Christmas. Will it be a time for hosting friends and throwing lavish parties? Will it be a family-only affair? Are there certain movies you’ll always watch? Activities that you’ll always do, and food you’ll always eat?
Before you answer those questions, you might want to examine what will make the holidays brighter for youngsters. Pick and choose from this list and include your own ideas for new traditions to give your kids the best holiday ever!
You can obviously go the macaroni or construction paper route, but it’s also fun to have kids do a more lasting ornament. Buy clear bulbs, or simply bleach out the insides of a colored bulb that you no longer have a set for. Give kids their choice of photos of them from the year to put inside the ornament and let them pick ribbon colors. Roll up the photo, insert it inside the bulb with tweezers and then let it unfold naturally. Add a curled ribbon behind the photo to hold it upright. You’ll have a matching set of ornaments that will hold great memories.
Decorate the tree
So many families miss out on decorating the tree together. If your family tends to get frustrated at certain aspects, simply remove those obstacles. Fans of not having to string lights can look into pre-lit models, and those who hate the trek in the cold to find a tree can get an artificial Christmas tree. Let kids take turns picking out ornaments, and make sure they don’t try to put any glass ornaments too high above their heads!
Go on a Christmas lights tour
Your neighbors work hard to decorate their yards — it’s time to take an evening to appreciate that! Make hot chocolate in thermoses and pile in the car to get a sample of the local Christmas creativity. End the evening by driving to the center of town, or wherever the best lights in your area are. Kids will love listening to holiday music and pointing out the best lights.
Have a traditional dinner
Dinner is always too rushed. This year, set your family down for one nice meal where no one texts during the meal. Use the fancy china (you or your partner can serve the meal if you’re worried about the nice dishes!), and teach the kids which forks to use. The evening can be multicourse and have a dessert at the end, or you can just make your usual favorites and put it in a flashier package. Either way will be special!
Help the community
Teach kids the meaning of the season, whether it’s about love or a religious aspect. Your family can work in a soup kitchen or food pantry in the weeks before Christmas, or plan a visit to a nursing home to cheer up lonely residents. You can also participate in an “Adopt a Family” campaign, and assign one of your children the job of picking out and wrapping a child in need’s gift. This will help them learn the importance of giving and make them appreciate what they have. You can find a family to donate to through local organizations or your local United Way.
This holiday can stand out from the others, or begin a series of new traditions, with a little prep work. Make this holiday special for the kids and learn to enjoy it more yourself by picking activities that will be fun for your whole family.