It’s that time of year again — the to-do list is a mile long, and between shopping, decorating, and holiday parties, there isn’t much time to brainstorm ideas to spend quality time as a family. To save you the time, we’ve come up with some simple and fun ways to embrace the season and create new family traditions:
12 days of Christmas books
A unique way to give “12 days of Christmas” gifts to kids is to have them open a new book every night for the 12 nights before Christmas day. It can also help with bedtime, since it gives them something to look forward to opening and reading every night. Last year we did a mix of both Christmas and non-Christmas books so some can stay on the shelf all year long.
Growing up, my siblings and I were given an ornament every year on Christmas that went into a box for safe keeping. When we became adults, the ornaments were the perfect starter collection for our own homes. It’s always special to reminisce on various years, and I look forward to continuing that with my own kids.
We started going to a tree farm a few years back and cutting down our own tree. The place we went to was a good 45-minute drive — long enough for a Christmas carol-singing adventure, but not so far that the kids get antsy. It’s fun to pick a tree that is just the right fit for your home — plus, you can get some awesome family photos for your Christmas cards. Here is a great list of Boston-area tree farms to check out.
Bring on the baking
Last year was the first year my oldest showed an interest in baking (mostly for the “taste tester” part). It’s fun to make a big batch of holiday treats with your kids while you listen to holiday music. The goodies also make thoughtful and affordable hostess or “thank you” gifts for anyone you want to show gratitude to around the holidays.
One of my favorite parts of Christmas time is seeing all the lights. It’s so fun to take a drive with young children who are simply amazed by all the colors and excitement of the season. If you are up for more than a drive, you can also check out ZooLights and meet Santa at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham.
Elf on the shelf
Love it or hate it, there is no denying the elf on the shelf is a fun tradition to start for kids. You can get them interested by reading the elf story and letting them know that the elf reports back to Santa each night (a great bribery tool). It’s your call if you want to take the time to move the elf to a different location every night or put it in Pinterest-worthy positions. The most important thing is that you are having fun with it as a family.
Whether “Charlie Brown” or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” choosing a holiday movie to watch together in your PJs is a fun tradition that can be continued even as the kids get older. You can also chow down on those extra cookies you made as you relax by the twinkling lights of the tree.
We all know the Christmas season is over as quickly as it arrives, but carving out some quality time with family and starting new traditions will create memories you can truly cherish for years to come.