Every year on December 1st, my internal Christmas clock kicks in and I start craving my Great Aunt Eva’s amazing fudge and sugar Christmas cookies. I start looking forward to all the good times to be had leading up to Christmas day. Christmas need not be a stressful time when there are so many fun family traditions to try out! Grab your calendar and block out some time for these special Christmas traditions you and your kids will love and cherish.
1. Have the kids write their letter to Santa asking for what they’d like for Christmas. Check out www.emailsanta.com to email Santa, play games, watch Christmas webcams and more. There’s even a countdown with how many “sleeps” until Santa comes. Oh, and did you know that Santa tweets? Also check out www.freelettersfromsantaclaus.com so you can personalize and then print out a letter.
2. Take a couple of family pictures. We like to put on headbands with snowman and reindeer sticking up on springs just to be goofy for our Christmas cards. Then we like to take one where we are dressed more laid-back so we can display that photo all year in a frame.
3. Why not go easy on yourself by uploading the family picture you took to a photo website like www.winkflash.com or www.snapfish.com and have them print out your Christmas cards for you. Just write addresses on envelopes and mail! Oh, and you might want to include your …
4. Christmas letter. When it’s not possible to include your letter with your cards, just send it out via email. Some people think Christmas letters are silly, but I love receiving updates from family and friends so I also enjoy giving updates on my family.
5. The great Christmas debate is about the tree: real or fake? Whether you drag your tree out of storage or go to a lot to pick out a fresh one, you have quite a bit of fun in store decorating it!
6. Google “holiday lights + your town” then drive around looking at holiday lights with your family. Play Christmas music on the radio to get in the spirit. Jot down your favorite places to go so you won’t forget to see them again next year.
7. Go visit Santa at a local mall or other location where Santa can be found during the Christmas season. Most kids love sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas. Then you have my kids, who always look a little panic-stricken in the photos. Still, it’s a fun thing to look back on!
8. Everyone loves a Christmas treat! Spend a day baking and decorating cookies and treats for friends, families, neighbors, teachers, service people and strangers. Nursing home and assisted living residents just LOVE to see little kids, whether they bring treats or not. My dad was a mailman for many years, and he always felt appreciated during the holidays by the families that would make him goodies.
9. Help someone in need. Kids especially love charities like Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse (www.SamaritansPurse.org), which lets you pack a shoebox with gifts for a child somewhere in the world. You can even track your box online to see which country it ends up in. You could also contact The Salvation Army (www.SalvationArmyUSA.org), homeless shelters or churches for a list of wants for each member of a local family who is in need. This will be one shopping trip your kids will never forget because they will be celebrating the true meaning of Christmas by helping others.
10. As the Christmas season comes to a close, so make sure you read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible on Christmas Eve.
Kerrie McLoughlin shares her holiday adventures raising 5 kids at TheKerrieShow.com.