With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to start implementing those family Christmas traditions. Whether that’s continuing traditions from your childhood, or creating new ones, here are some ideas for some family bonding time.
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1. Cut down a tree
Going out to find your Christmas tree and cutting it down is such a great family bonding experience. My husband and I both did this as kids, and we love those memories! We have a fake tree now, but once our son gets a little bit older we may have to go back to chopping down a tree. Pack up some snacks, hot coco, and head out into the woods with a tree permit to go Christmas tree hunting. Your kids can take turns helping with the saw to cut the tree down and they will feel so involved in the process! Once you get it home, it’s time to decorate!
2. Decorating the Tree
We always make such a fun time out of decorating the tree. We put on Christmas music, drink hot coco, and dance around while putting on the ornaments. This year, we included the baby as much as possible, but he was more interested in taking the ornaments OFF the tree rather than put them on. It was still great fun and he loved dancing with me to the music.
3. Christmas Ornaments
We try to get a custom ornament every year with our names and date on them. This is a great way to mark any milestones so you can remember for years to come. We also purchase ornaments on all of our trips and vacations so we can reminisce during the holidays. If you are just getting started, you can always host a tree trimming party where all of your guests bring an ornament that reminds them of you and you supply them with food, drinks, and fun!
4. Send Holiday Cards
This is a great way to update family and friends on your life. Whether you send just a simple card or photo, or you write up a holiday letter summarizing the year, this can be a special event for the whole family. Once you have older kids, you can task them with stuffing or stamping envelopes while you address the cards. Then you can take a trip together to the post office to mail all of them! It can also be fun to organize and display the Christmas cards you receive from everyone.
5. Get an advent calendar
We grew up with a wall calendar that we could pin a charm on every day of the month until we got to Christmas day. It was so much fun flipping through the charms and pinning it on, and it really helped build up the excitement to Christmas. Ours was handmade by my grandmother, but there are so many great options to purchase!
6. Christmas Stocking
We always had handmade knitted stockings that my grandmother created. After she passed, I was able to find similar stockings on etsy. Although they don’t have as much meaning, it is so special to have a monogrammed stocking to pull out year after year.
7. Make a gingerbread house
Gingerbread houses can be so fun to decorate! Kids will love being able to create their own designs and will love enjoying the sweets afterwards! You can buy a kit or make one from scratch, but either way most kids will love this bonding experience.
8. Christmas Pajamas
We always got to open up one Christmas present on Christmas eve and it was always a pair of pajamas. It was so exciting to be able to open up the jammies and get dressed before heading to bed at night. We all woke up with matching pajamas and it made for some cute family photos. I’ve also heard of parents letting their kids open their Christmas jammies after Thanksgiving when they decorate the tree so they can wear and enjoy them all month long!
9. Holiday Movies
Having a dedicated Christmas or holiday movie to watch year after year can be so special. You can also read the same book every Christmas eve before bed. There are so many holiday specials like Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph that can keep the family entertained.
10. Look at Christmas Lights
This can be such a fun activities for kids and adults! This can be enjoyable even with a new baby, since most of them love car rides and will fall fast asleep. Older kids will love looking at all the bright lights and listening to Christmas music.
11. Drive to the Snow
If you don’t normally get snow at your house, it can be fun to drive to the mountains for a fun sledding day! If you are located somewhere like Florida where there aren’t many options for a snow day, maybe try having a beach day where you can build snowmen and snow angels out of sand!
12. Date your Spouse
This is a great time to drop the kids off with family, find a sitter, or see if your daycare participates in a weekend parents day. Go out with your spouse and get lunch, see a movie, do some Christmas shopping, or whatever else you want to do while you are child-free.
13. Bake from scratch
Whether that’s cookies for Santa or baking a cake to enjoy on Christmas eve, this can be such a fun time in the kitchen together. I always love making homemade hot chocolate, my husband’s favorite is white hot chocolate and I enjoy my peppermint hot cocoa. Baking can be such a fun activity for kids as well, and you can teach them about measuring, timing, and portioning while doing so!
14. Track Santa on Norad
Every year on Christmas eve we would log onto the internet (yes, the joys of dial up) and track Santa’s sleigh. It was so exciting to see what part of the world he was in, and it would give estimates of when he would be in our area! It was a great way for our parents to get us to bed early so he wouldn’t skip past our house. Looking at the website now, it looks like they have added lots of other fun activities to do even before Christmas eve. Check it out here: https://www.noradsanta.org/
15. Make Breakfast
Every Christmas morning my mom would make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch. They are the best, and we only get them once per year so we look forward to them all season long! We enjoy them while we open stockings, and then after presents we end up doing a big meal with eggs, sausage, potatoes, and whatever else we feel like indulging in.
16. Give Back to Others
Some parents will have their kids collect old toys to donate to those less fortunate during the holidays. This not only gets them in the mindset of giving, but it also helps clear out some of the unused toys to make new for their new gifts.
17. Read the history of Santa.
There are so many fun stories about how Saint Nick began his role as Santa! This can be a fun bedtime story to read to your kids to teach them about the spirit of Christmas. When your kids get older and start wondering if Santa is real you can read them “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” https://www.newseum.org/exhibits/online/yes-virginia/
Leave a comment with your favorite holiday traditions!
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Norad Santa Tracker: https://www.noradsanta.org/
“Yes, virginia, there is a santa claus” https://www.newseum.org/exhibits/online/yes-virginia/