Last year, I wrote an article with ideas and ways to keep the focus on what is important during the Christmas Season. It doesn’t even seem that a year could have passed so quickly, but here we are in December again! This year, I would like to expand on the topic, and give some new tips that I think you may find helpful.
As mentioned in last year’s article on Making Memorable Holidays, children recall experiences from childhood that were significant in some way. Emotional ties to the past are typically the strongest memories. The deeper the feeling a situation creates, the more likely that experience is to create a long-lasting impact.
Kids need to be shown the principles of sharing, giving and love. The more exposed they are to opportunities that allow for learning, the more it will have an impact long term. Thus, during the Christmas Season, a focus outside of gifts and presents can be very beneficial and rewarding for all members of the family.
Here are ten more tips to help you create significant and focused memories with your kids:
- Keep Holiday Feasts to a minimum – This seems like a silly tip, but kids do not like fancy foods. Desserts will probably be the only thing that interests them at a big meal. Don’t forget to bring more basic foods for your children to a family get-together or balance fancy meals with simple ones during the week.
- Incorporate your faith into your celebrations – Kids love to learn and process, so make it a learning experience for them to understand what you believe. Make a cake for Jesus’ birthday, discuss the importance of the Menorah, etc.
- Make reindeer and Santa treats with your children – These are simple projects that allow you and your children to spend time together enjoying each other. Cutting carrots or baking cookies are easy things for kids to do. If you want to be more creative, make reindeer food with granola, marshmallows, sprinkles, etc. to throw on the ground outside.
- Help kids “look” for Santa – You can make a scope with two toilet paper rolls taped together, paint it red, and decorate it with cotton balls. Older kids might like www.noradsanta.org to track Santa’s progress.
- Go to a special service or activity – Many city events and church activities are planned during December. Ideas include a pageant, nativity, festival, concert, etc.
- Go on a “Festival of Lights” tour – Make it a family outing to view the lights, decorations, displays and festivities in your community. It can be better with cookies and hot chocolate!
- Watch a Christmas Classic – Choose a movie that your family can enjoy together. Maybe watch an old choice (Miracle on 34th Street) and a newer one (Elf).
- Live out a family version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” – Identify a friend, relative or neighbor to receive all of the “gifts.” Then, create a unique gift for each day of the song (i.e., five golden rings could be five glazed donuts) and place the gifts on the recipient’s front porch.
- Go to the movies on Christmas Day – Not only are you likely to get good seats, but this is a relaxing way to spend time with your family before you go back to work.
- Secret Santa (outside of work) – Everyone has done one at work, but this works well as a family activity. Choose one person you know who is lonely, needy or just needs some encouragement. Purchase or make a special gift and on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning, take it, as a family, to the person’s home. Leave it with a note, “From your Secret Santa” at the door.
I hope this gives you some new ideas and thoughts for this year. Remember, it is not the gifts and the presents that leave the biggest impression on your children- it is time spent creating special memories that will last for years to come!
Some information taken from www.suite101.com and www.growthtrac.com