For most people, December is loaded with activity. Parties, concerts, cooking, shopping, traveling, and the list goes on and on….and on. December also carries a load of potential for creating sweet memories that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Here are 10 ways to make Christmas special for your kids this year.
10 Ways to Make Christmas Special for Your Kids
1. Have a Christmas movie night.
Who doesn’t loves snuggling up under a big quilt with a big bowl of popcorn and watching a Christmas movie together? Movie nights can be fun opportunities to spend time together and just enjoy each other’s company. I love the look on my kid’s faces when there’s a funny part in a movie and they just get that big guttural belly laugh. We always try and find a new movie to watch each season…but inevitably go back to the classics. (This year they’ve wanted to keep watching Veggie Tales Christmas movies (Merry Larry and St. Nicholas: Joy of Giving). They have great stories and keep the attention of all the kids ages 5 and under!)
2. Decorate Christmas cookies.
Kids LOVE making Christmas cookies (and messes). Doing homemade roll-out cookies can be a lot of fun, but depending on the age of your kids….their interest in doing cut-outs will wane pretty quickly. I suggest planning ahead and making a few batches yourself, then leaving a couple dozen left for your kids to have fun doing part of the cut-outs. If you are short on time (or have a lot of littles under your feet), don’t feel guilty buying sugar cookies already in shapes!
Make sure you have lots of frosting and sprinkles, because kids LOVE sprinkles. They will be so proud of their creations. Take pictures. Encourage their creativity. And most importantly….have fun!
3. Read stories by the fire.
If you have a bedtime routine of reading stories in bed…why not move your reading location to the fire? If you don’t have a fireplace, you can sit by the lit-up tree. Another great option for those without fireplaces is to pull up Netflix or Amazon and watch Fireplace For Your Home — which displays a crackling fire with music in the background. It’s a fun alternative when you want the cozy feel of a fire.
You can take this activity a step further and have a campout by the fire or Christmas tree. Kids always remember fun and unique experiences that are out of the ordinary
4. Read the Christmas story multiple times.
As you keep the birth of Jesus at the center of the season, don’t forget to read the Christmas story throughout the month. Use different books, movies, or activities to remind your children what this season is all about. If you need a fun, interaction (ie – lots of crafts) study for Advent, check out Truth in the Tinsel. My daughter looks forward to the different crafts we are going to do each day to go with a part of the Christmas story. I’ve also written an Epiphany study that you can complete after Christmas in preparation for Epiphany on January 7th. It’s called Experiencing Epiphany, and involves all of the senses as your prepare your children for the wise man’s visit to see baby Jesus.
5. Do something special for someone else.
When you do something special for someone else, you teach your kids the power of giving and loving others. Maybe you take some of your Christmas cookies to a neighbor or a friend. Maybe you help someone clean-up their yard. Sending pictures or paintings in the mail to friends and family can go a long way. Give your children a chance to pick what you are going to do for others….they come up with great ideas that you might not have even thought about!
6. Leave a nativity scene within hands reach.
Every year, without fail, my kids always ask when we are going to put the nativity set out. They look forward to having it out, so they can see the Christmas story in action. Now, I have a nicer nativity set that could be considered more fragile; however, I still give them a chance to interact with the people and animals and recreate the scenes of Jesus’ birth.
A few years ago, we got the Little People nativity set and this one gets lots of love. It’s great because it fits in the hands of even your smallest kids. Our one year old will even hold the baby Jesus figure and say “Je-sus”. It’s precious and I love that we can retell the Christmas story through these characters and talk about each of their roles in the coming of Jesus to Earth.
7. Make hot chocolate (with marshmallows)…just because.
Simple pleasures such as a big mug of hot chocolate go a long way in our house. When we spruce it up with marshmallows and whipped cream, the level of satisfaction shoots out the roof. I’m probably late to the game, but this year we discovered these Mallow Bits that are great for a cup of hot chocolate. (I pretty much always have marshmallows on hand for Rice Krispy treats, but these little babies are perfect in your cup….and your kids will love to shake them into their mug!)
8. Go look at Christmas lights.
Throw that hot chocolate into a “to go” mug and hop in the car for some good old fashioned Christmas light viewing. Do a quick google search on best Christmas lights in your area to see where the hot spots are…or just start your adventure by driving into random neighborhoods. The kids will love the adventure and exploring with you. If you hit up some of the paid attractions, make sure to take time to enjoy the sights and let your kids soak in the beauty. If it’s one that you drive through, don’t be afraid to ask the attendant if you can drive through again. (We’ve found they usually let you go through again free of cost if you ask!) Your kids will love the lights and the characters that they see and most of all just enjoy being with family.
9. Turn off the electronics and just spend focused time together.
Make sure your family time, it truly focused family time. Be physically and mentally present with your family members…not just in the same room, but working on your phone or computer. I love this American Airline’s commercial they are airing this year:
“Celebrate the joy of presence this season.” How true is that! Your kids will always remember when they had a present parent. Don’t be stuck behind a screen when you can be enjoying the entertainment and joy of your kids in front of you. If you know you’ll be tempted to just check your phone quick, leave it in another room, silence it, or put it in airplane mode. The message you send your kids will be that they are more important than your work or your phone.
10. Give memories, not just gifts.
A final way to make Christmas special for your kids is to simply give them memories that they can carry throughout their lives. While they will be excited about gifts and receiving some of the things they really wanted… the memories they make with you will withstand the test of time and far exceed the impact of any present.
Think about the different ways you can shape the rest of December. Be intentional and make Christmas special for your family, as you celebrate the gift of your family and ultimately the gift of Christ to Earth for us.