20 Things…to do with kids over the Holidays
My idea is to come up with some things that are not crazily expensive and possibly a little unique. It is always hard to enjoy the season as busy as it gets, but we try our best.
1. Take a Christmas light walk. We have an amazing collection of hologram glasses that distort the lights into all kinds of fun shapes. We always take them with us on our light walks. If you live in colder climates, I understand this may turn into a light drive. It is always fun to seek out neighborhoods that really do it up.
2. Design a Christmas keyword. We have a few secret words and it is our challenge, when we hear them mentioned, to burst into song. For example: the word “bell” launches us into a chorus of “Jingle Bells”.
3. Make a holiday scrapbook. Spend the month collecting mementos from the season to make a scrapbook with, after the holiday has ended.
4. Research a different tradition. For instance, if you celebrate Christmas, spend some time looking up information about how Kwanza is celebrated, or how they celebrate Christmas in another country.
5. Have a holiday pajama party. Get a group of kids and adults together to drink hot chocolate, eat cookies, and have a holiday movie marathon.
6. Make your own stockings. Even if you aren’t an experienced seamstress, old socks, and glue, and glitter, and ribbon work just great.
7. Remember Christmases past. Get the whole family together and collect some old pictures to talk about. Kids love to hear about holidays that happened before they remember them, as well as the holidays that mom and dad celebrated before they were born.
8. Go window-shopping. I don’t think that this can be done at the mall; it is more of an activity for a cute downtown area. My mother remembers her childhood, when all of the store windows were decked out to the nines. Most of them aren’t that wonderful today, but there are gems to be found. Ask around and you might get lucky.
9. Go out for Christmas Tea. This is a tradition for my stepmother and her niece. They have holiday tea during the season at a lot of high-end hotels. Dress up in your fanciest Christmas apparel and enjoy all of the hotel’s holiday decorations.
10. Go shopping for someone else. Set out on a mission to pick out the perfect toy for Toys for Tots, or for an angel tree where the child in need specifies what they want for Christmas.
11. Answer the phone like an elf. At our house we have a running dare. We try to remember to answer the phone in December with “Buddy the Elf! What’s your favorite color?”
12. Make a holiday DVD. Put together a short DVD with pictures and highlights of what has happened with your family throughout the year. Set it to your favorite holiday music. This is a gift that relatives love, especially if they live far away.
13. Go on a Santa hat outing. This can even be done while running errands. Go out in public in Santa hats, and see how many random places you can take pictures, or how many people you can get to pose with you.
14. Prank with red and green. Just a few drops of food coloring make for a fun and harmless prank. Red scrambled eggs and green potatoes. Pancakes, mashed potatoes, and milk die easily, and kids love the surprise.
15. Make a sugar cube igloo. Instead of a gingerbread house, a sugar cub igloo is easy to put together with icing, and decorate with candy. The snowmen who live inside can be made simply with marshmallows and icing.
16. Make a hot chocolate bar. Plan a Christmas movie night, and set out a hot chocolate bar. Basic cocoa can be made and kept hot in a crock-pot. Set out the usual toppings and think of some creative ones as well. Christmas sprinkles, crumbled candy cane, or gingerbread are all fun ideas
17. Have a puzzle date. Get a Christmas themed puzzle, or any puzzle really, and spend a few hours working on it together. Of course, holiday music and cookies go along nicely with puzzles.
18. Plan a silly holiday photo. Get together all of the Christmas props that you can find, or dress up in the silliest outfits that you can think of. Have a friend or neighbor take some shots of your family all together. The possibilities of what to do with the pictures are endless.
19. Send out surprise gifts. I only mean tiny things…a gift card for a seasonal latte or an inexpensive holiday CD. Put a Christmas cookie surprise on your neighbor’s front door. Kids love the excitement from waiting to hear back about the surprises that they have sent out.
20. Ask your kids what the holiday means to them. No matter what your family celebrates, it is important to ask children what it means to them personally. At Christmas Eve dinner, or at one of your holiday meals, ask your kids what the celebration really means to them. You can write their answers down, and tuck them away to share over the holidays every year as they grow.
Here is a link to where you can find your own Holiday Hologram Glasses: