Wednesday, December 11, 2019

At Least 17 Fun Family Ideas for December!

Every year I make a batch of caramel corn around Christmas time. One year when my kids were twelve, eight, days away from being eight, and three, I had it ready when we decorated the tree, so we all snacked on it. The next year the kids asked me if we could have caramel corn while we decorated the tree, so sure, I made some. The year after that they said, "We always have caramel corn when we decorate the Christmas tree!" And, lo, a tradition was born.

We have lots of fun family traditions surrounding the Christmas season. It's just such a good time for traditions and and other fun family times. I have some suggestions for fun for your family from our family and the families of friends of mine.

Marilyn, one friend told me that each quarter of the year they decided to do something as a family from each of these categories: spiritual, educational, physical, and fun. Spiritual could be a Christ-centered Christmas concert. Since they were near Moody Bible Institute they would go to the Candlelight Carols concert and get there early so they could sit in the front row, allowing their children to feel the "palpable blast of the orchestra music". Singing carols to shut ins could be another idea in the "spiritual" category. When our kids got bigger, we suggested that some write a short devotional to read on Christmas day from the point of view of one of the characters in the first Christmas. That turned out to be thought provoking.

Michelle and Emily have advent events. Emily's family does it with several other families and they rotate homes so each Sunday evening they are in someone else's house enjoying a meal, singing carols, listening to a devotion, having dessert, and focusing on Christ's coming, why He came, and His second coming in the future.

We always took baked goods to our neighbors and often included a tract or small booklet explaining the meaning of Christmas as a way to witness to them. Now we take our next door neighbors to a Christian Christmas concert every year and have them back to the house for dessert.

In the educational category, Marilyn said they would sometimes go to an art museum that had a special exhibition of Christmas related art through the ages to see how different artists interpreted the Nativity. Cassie, combines educational with spiritual by having a "Treat Jeopardy" game. She makes up twenty-four bags of treats for each child with a Christ-related question attached. Each night from December 1 to 24 each child can choose a bag, but has to answer the question to win the treat. If they don't know they answer they look it up in the Bible. She sounds like one creative and organized mom! 

I would count going to a performance of Handel's Messiah in this category. Or how about inviting a family with traditions from another culture over and ask them to bring one of their favorite Christmas foods and tell you about how Christmas is celebrated in their country.

Our kids grew up in Bogota, Colombia, so no snow, sledding, snow-shoeing, or any of those kinds of "healthy" activities. But one of our annual activities was a bike ride along paths in the city from a park to the airport--about five miles each way. When we got to the airport we found a place to lock up the bikes and went to the food court, which was outside security, and ordered a pizza (so much for healthy!) Sometimes we brought along a game to play while we waited. My husband and sons are especially interested in airplanes, so they loved watching planes take off and land before we headed home. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to do a bike ride, but any kind of outdoor activity you can do is fun and healthy!

Many friends said for fun they piled into the car (sometimes with hot chocolate) and drove around to see the Christmas lights. Sometimes the newspaper or a website will tell you where the best streets are in your area. In our town a charity puts up thousands of lights in one of the city parks. You pay an entrance fee to be able to drive through the wonderland of lights. Another neighborhood puts miles of luminaries along the roads on Christmas evening and we like to drive through taking it all in.

A variation of this is to check out the decorations in various stores and malls. This was one of our activities in South America. The malls actually had a competition for best decorations so it was fun to go around each one. It was also a chance to buy Christmas presents and, always, get some kind of special treat to eat.

There is often a Christmas movie that is worth taking the family to. One year we were walking through a town plaza and came across an outdoor screening of Elf. We bought some popcorn and sat and watched this movie we hadn't seen yet. I think it is one of my favorite movies because of the memory of watching it under the trees in that plaza with the whole family. 

Another way to watch a movie is at home with as many friends as you can gather. Ask everyone to bring snacks, dress comfortably and just enjoy the season together.

Whatever your December looks like, don't forget to make it fun and a memorable time for your family.

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  1. Hello Sharon and happy holidays. I'm coming to you today from the GRAND Social. Thanks for the reminder that the Christmas season is about togetherness and enjoying fun times together. My husband and I took two of our children and four grandchildren to see a Christmas play last night. We had sooo much fun together!

    1. I'm so glad you had that fun, Christie. This Thursday one of my dil's is having a cookie making party for everyone in the family. It'll be noisy and messy, but a lot of fun!



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