Regardless of our age, Christmas takes us back to our childhood… the shimmering lights, stockings hanging heavy from the fireplace and the tree sitting in the middle of a brightly decorated island of presents.
While the holiday season fills us with fond memories of the past, as adults, the pending celebrations bring a mix of delight and trepidation as we prepare for the Holiday celebrations.
We get excited about the shopping, the Christmas decorations and the Christmas dinner with family, but the stress of the holidays past, trying to make the holidays special have taught us to be wary of possible barriers that might get in our way. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can make the holidays special for your family… without all of the stress:
Create Your Own Traditions
Nearly every family has something special that they do every holiday season… that’s a tradition. Some traditions are handed down from generation to generation. Why not start your very own new tradition this year? Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Go See Santa. This tradition has waned a bit over the years. I remember as a kid in the late ‘60s and early ‘70’s, everyone went to see Santa, tell him what you wanted for Christmas and get a picture taken on his lap. Do some research and find a Santa in your area. But don’t just have the kids get their picture taken with him… Have everyone, mom and dad included, sit on Santa’s lap for a picture. This is sure to be fun for everyone (well, maybe not Santa) and create some great memories to boot!
- Story Time. Make a tradition of reading a Christmas story Christmas Eve night before everyone goes to bed… “The Night Before Christmas”, “Polar Express” and Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” are just a few great ones.
- Write a Letter. Sit down with your kids and write a letter to Santa. Traditionally this is just for the young kids, but it doesn’t have to be. Have the entire family join in and each write their own letter to Santa… you can even mail them to “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska.”
- Letters to Santa Program. For the last 101 years, the United States Postal Service has been helping children’s wishes come true through the “Letters to Santa” program. Thousands of volunteers work with Post Offices to respond to letters from children of all ages listing their holiday wishes. You can start a family tradition by helping out too. You can go to your local post office and pick up a letter or two, purchase the gifts and bring the gifts and letter back to the Post Office, pay for the shipping, and they will send the gift to the child. A great way to help a child’s holiday wishes become a reality.
Do a Family Activity
Take a break for the stress of the holidays and find an activity that the whole family can participate in. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as everyone is together.
- Go Ice Skating. Even if you don’t live where you can skate outside, you will likely be able to find an ice rink within a reasonable drive. Road Trip!
- Write a Poem. Have everyone gather around and write a Christmas Poem or Haiku. Have everyone read aloud their poem.
- Make Christmas Candles. Have the whole family make “homemade” Christmas candles… it’s not as hard as might think! THIS should get you started.
- Movie Marathon. Have a family, Christmas movie marathon… see if you can make it an all-day event. Take breaks for meals and don’t forget to snack on Christmas treats!
I know, trying to get everyone excited about a family photo, especially if you have teenagers, is a daunting task to say the least. But I bet they will get excited about a “Goofy” Christmas family picture! Let everyone dress up in any fashion that they want, or even come up with a family “theme” for your photo!
The Gingerbread House
When we think of a gingerbread house, we think of the quaint little cottage type gingerbread house, but instead of the traditional style gingerbread house, have the entire family participate in making the “Gingerbread Mansion”! Make a multi-level gingerbread house, 2, 3 or more stories! Or you could even make a gingerbread castle or perhaps an entire gingerbread neighborhood!
No matter what you do this holiday season, the best way to make the holidays special is to just be together, be thankful for what you have and love each other.