While for many people Christmas can induce a lot of sighs and groans because of the cost, stress, and time it takes to shop for presents, food, trees, and decorations, the festive period can be a wonderful time for families if you change your perspective and find ways to enjoy spending time together as a family. Read on for some tips you can follow this holiday season to have a truly memorable Christmas.
START A FUN TRADITION
For starters, consider implementing a fun tradition that you and your loved ones can share together each year. There are lots of options to choose from, but a popular one is bundling up in warm clothes, packing hot cocoa, and heading off to a local Christmas tree farm to search for the perfect tree together. Many farms also have other fun activities that families can enjoy as a group, such as hayrides, sleigh rides, and mazes. Then, once you have your tree at home, pop on some Christmas music and make a real occasion out of decorating it together, with the same ornaments year after year that celebrate your special times as a family.
Another fun tradition could be to go caroling, either in your local neighborhood or to a nursing home, where you will have the chance to put a smile on people’s faces and bring the joy of Christmas to others. It can also be great fun to make a tradition of driving around to look at Christmas lights in people’s yards, or at retail displays in storefronts. There’s something really special about celebrating the effort people go to each December to delight passersby, from the stylish window dressings in shops to the often over-the-top home designs.
Many families also have a memorable holiday season by deciding to all get dressed up together in matching Christmas shirts, dresses, pants, pajamas, or other Christmas-themed outfits to celebrate the festive season. You could choose a particular color or theme each year, or try to out-do each other with the fun gaudiness of the Christmas clothing you find.
Alternatively, you might like to set aside time on each Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to play your family’s favorite board games, or to write and put on a holiday-themed play or skits for each other. If you’d like to help your children learn the importance of giving back, you could also volunteer at a soup kitchen or other charity, collect gifts for the needy, help look after stray animals in a shelter, or otherwise make a difference.
CAPTURE SPECIAL MOMENTS
Of course, no matter what kind of tradition or other festive activities you choose to do with your family, it is important to capture all the special moments as much as you can. That way, you can look back on them in the future and remember the feelings and bond of the time, even when December seems to have been forever ago.
A great way to do this is to create a keepsake by way of a yearly family photograph. Not only does this give you something to add to your album to pore over in the future, but it can also be used as your image for your family Christmas cards or newsletters, or to create new tree ornaments.
You might want to dress up your pets or home décor in matching themed apparel for some professional pics, or opt for a more relaxed style whereby you capture “in the moment” pictures as you celebrate the festive season.
MAKE DECORATIONS, GIFTS & TREATS
Since children of all ages tend to love keeping busy with their hands and using their creativity, it is also worthwhile looking for ways to make Christmas-related goods, such as tree or table decorations, gifts, or sweet treats, during the month of December. Spending time together in this way as a family can really help you make wonderful memories, while at the same time ticking off practical items from your to-do list.
For example, you could work together to make paper-chain decorations, handmade ornaments, or table settings; bake some Christmas cookies, cakes, jams, chutneys, or other food items for Santa or for friends, extended family members, or neighbors; or assemble gingerbread houses or other sweet treats to eat on Christmas day. Kids tend to really enjoy getting involved in activities which feature icing goodies, coloring in, painting, molding clay, and sticking on trinkets.
Keep in mind that these kinds of cooking and craft-based activities can also teach your children something. For example, they can practice their dexterity; learn where produce comes from, various cooking/baking techniques, and how ingredients mix together and transform; or the benefits of making gifts rather than spending lots of money on them.