Have some fun this Christmas season
Christmas is just around the corner. As you spend time with family and friends, enjoy some holiday cheer and fun traditions.
Whether you have old traditions that date back through the family tree or are starting new traditions with a new family, shared activities can fun to do and make for some lasting memories with the people you care about.
Here are some traditions that have been passed down through generations and some new ideas, too.
Host a cookie bake-off
Gather loved ones for a good old-fashioned Christmas cookie bake-off. Or, have everyone bake their cookies and then congregate to complete a festive taste test and to, of course, split up the batches so that every family has a fun assortment of sweets to take home. To make it more official, each year, require competitors to use a specific ingredient — the best use of eggnog, perhaps, or real ginger — in their recipes.
Wear matching family PJs
It sounds silly, but it makes for an adorable photo op! Encourage all family members, young and old, to wear matching pajamas to bed on Christmas Eve so that when Christmas morning comes, everyone is already in fun, festive apparel. Combine traditions and let the PJs serve as the special Christmas Eve gift.
Watch the same holiday movie every season
No matter if you’re a “Miracle on 34th Street” kind of family, a claymation-loving “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” clan, or if the hilariously ridiculous “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is more your household’s speed, make a point to set aside a movie night to watch the same classic flick together. Even if you talk over some scenes, it’ll make for a blissfully nostalgic event.
Marvel at neighborhood lights displays
Every town has that street with the warring houses, each trying to outdo the other’s electric bill for the month of December. Take a walk (or a drive) with the whole family to see the brightly decorated homes in all their glory and have an impromptu vote on which one wins top prize. Don’t forget Great Bend’s Trail of Lights.
Open one special present on Christmas Eve
A thrilling lead-up to the big day can involve each child (and parent!) choosing one gift to open the night before. It’s wise to set some ground rules — the gift in the smallest package gets unwrapped the night before, for instance — and if you want to infuse a little bit of Santa’s magic, orchestrate a doorbell ring that evening with a small sack of gifts left at the door to open.
Plant Santa’s footprints in your home
After the kids have gone to bed on Christmas Eve, grab some big boots and either flour, baby powder, or carpet deodorizer (perfect multitasking!) and stomp a path of footprints. Each year, the path can take sillier turns. Maybe he beelines from the chimney to the milk and cookies, perhaps he takes a pit stop in the bathroom, or maybe he sneaks a peek in the fridge. Just be sure this is the very last thing on your to-do list, so you don’t muddle the shoe prints.
Give each child an annual ornament
Build your collection of ornaments — and turn tree decorating into an immensely personal experience — by giving each family member a new ornament to affix to the tree every year. The ornament can be handmade, engraved with the child’s name and the current year, or based on an interest. If your daughter just started playing a musical instrument this year, mark the experience with a clarinet tree-hanger. If your son loves “Star Wars,” we have a feeling there’ll be some beeping BB-8 droid figurines to choose from.
Get a Christmas tree from a tree farm
Not only is it a fun excursion — most sites offer activities for kids, like sleigh rides and hot chocolate — but it’s better for the environment to get a real tree over an artificial one. Every acre of a Christmas tree farm produces enough oxygen to sustain 18 people for a day. Plus, getting the entire family involved in choosing just the right tree makes everyone that much more excited to trim it once you get home.