Last year Boys Town put out some tips for Holiday fun that are cheap and easy and help kids keep their focus away from the presents and commercialization of Christmas and focus more on the family. I did these with my kids and they loved them! We started after thanksgiving and picked out our favorites then made it our Sunday night activity each week leading up to Christmas. Their favorite, of course was the kids cuisine. Lets just say it was interesting. Waffles, marshmallows, chocolate sauce, what could go wrong?
1. The Holiday Hat Game At your next family gathering, ask everyone to write down a favorite holiday memory on a slip of paper and then put the slips into a hat. Pass the hat around and have people pull out memories and try to guess which person wrote what.
2. Kids Cuisine If your children are old enough to be left alone in the kitchen, have them cook a holiday meal for the whole family. They can plan a menu, pick out ingredients and submit a shopping list for you to take to the store. Tell them that their only limit is their imaginations. Be aware that you may end up with ice cream and cookies for the main course…
3. Lighted Scavenger Hunt Spend an evening driving around to look at Christmas lights. Give everyone in the family the list of items that must be found before going home–items like a Santa Claus, a house with all blue lights, a Christmas tree, a menorah, etc. Come home to hot chocolate and take a vote on your favorite light display—and drop a note in that home’s mailbox to let them know how much you enjoy their decorations.
4. Sentence-at-a-Time Story Tell a story about the holidays… one sentence at a time. Have everyone sit in a circle, and start with a sentence about your favorite holiday memory. Then, have each member of the family chime in with the next line of the story. The goal is to get the story to be the most fun, unbelievable holiday memory ever.
5. Find the Holiday Alarm! If you have a smartphone that you can customize ringtones for, pick a holiday tune, set it as your alarm and then hide it somewhere in the house. Next, have your kids find the phone before the alarm sounds (5 minutes is a good place to start). If they can’t find it, your holiday alarm will start playing, leading everyone to the phone’s location!
6. The Holiday Time Capsule Get a box and have the whole family find items to put in it as part of a family time capsule. These could be anything—newspapers, pieces of clothing, photographs, notes… Then, in a special ceremony, seal up the box with a “do not open until…” note and place it somewhere safe and secure. This works great if you start when your kids are infants. Then, by the time they’re seven or eight, you can start opening time capsules as well as making them!
7. Holiday Movie Night! Designate a non-school night as “holiday movie night.” Let the kids choose the movie (or movies), make treats and snuggle under a blanket for the big show. This could even be one time where kids (and adults!) get to stay up as late as they want!