Santa Claus isn’t the only game in town when it comes to building those holiday memories. Childhood is riddled with a mix of old and new as parents reinvent their favorite traditions from when they were kids, but add a hint of contemporary into their household.
We made a list of some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season. Don’t forget to check it twice, though, as the activities below will create an overwhelming joy and happiness along with a smidgen of work for the grown-ups on duty.
Deck the Halls
Some people spend the entire year waiting for the socially-accepted moment to bust out the decorations. You may suffer from a tad bit of Buddy the Elf syndrome if your house is aglow at the slightest hint of winter, yet nothing says it’s the most wonderful time of the year like the scent of a Douglas fir.
Get the littles involved by letting them express their own unique styles for their rooms. From choices of the colors to the decorations for the mini-trees, their imaginations should run wild (within budget, of course).
Who Forgot to Move the Elf?!
Pinterest is abuzz with creativity as parents outdo each other with the latest craze on the scene—Elf on the Shelf. The original gangster Chippy has disbursed his new millennium friends from the North Pole to be Santa’s eyes and ears for building the nice list. That means parents find inventive ways for the elf to make its grand entrance each morning. Plus, the added fun is picking a new name for these miniature scouts each year.
WARNING: You will forget to move the elf on occasion. Between life happening and the day-to-day hustle, it happens. Prepare ahead of time for this crisis by having a well-thought-out list of excuses to answer the 101 questions you will face. Are you smarter than a first grader?
Of course, there must be a countdown. You cannot prepare for the biggest holiday of the year without some situational awareness of how much time you have left to shop…or procrastinate. Ahem, you mean how much time you have until Santa shows up. The options are endless.
Ashley’s family uses a traditional advent calendar like this one from Pottery Barn. It lets you hide little treats or notes inside as the days dwindle down. Another option is to create a daily routine that lets each child take a turn. When Jayme was a kid, she had a Christmas countdown mouse and they would move it every morning before school.
Is there anything cuter than seeing the whole family in coordinating pjs? Extra points will be awarded for footie pajamas. The good news is matching doesn’t have to be so literal. The littles can be festive in these Christmas Tree Jammies, and mom and dad can find a coordinating checkered print.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
As the days get closer to Christmas morning, the anticipation of seeing what Santa’s bringing is O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-I-N-G. This holiday tradition is a precursor of what’s to come. On Christmas Eve, each member of the family gets to pick one present to open—that happens to be chosen strategically by you. Think book or small toy, like this Wooden Handmade Stacker that comes in pink or mint.
There are unlimited ways to create everlasting holiday traditions that far surpass the bright lights of the Griswolds. And the beauty of this time of year is that there are activities that transcend every stage of childhood from infants to teens. Just be careful not to shoot your eye out, kids.