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Countdown to Christmas Family Activities

IMG_0542Traditional Advent calendars help kids count down to Christmas one day at a time by opening a window in an intricate house or eating a piece of chocolate (a source of contention for families with more than one child). Why not create new family traditions by counting down to Christmas with special family activities. Below is a list of possibilities. Use these ideas or create your own. The important thing is to build anticipation for something other than gift getting and to make memories together along the way.

  • Borrow a copy of The Gift of the Magi from the library and read it together. Use the story as a catalyst for discussing what giving should look like.
  • Make Christmas ornaments. These could range from cutting paper snowflakes to twisting pipe cleaners into candy canes to something more elaborate. Put the year somewhere on the ornament for future reference.
  • Decorate the tree together.
  • Lay under the Christmas tree with the lights on and listen to Christmas music.
  • Make Christmas cards to send to a military service member.
  • Build a nativity scene out of Legos and Lincoln Logs.
  • Have a snowball fight. (If your location doesn’t allow for that, have a paper towel snowball fight.)
  • Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies.
  • Invite another family over for cookies and hot beverages (hot cocoa, cider, tea, coffee).
  • Be a drive-thru angel. Pay for the order of the car behind you in the drive-thru line, just because.
  • Use your smart phone to make a music video of your favorite Christmas song.
  • Buy gifts for a child or family in need and donate them.
  • Create a “Best Christmas Lights” Award. Drive around town looking at Christmas lights and leave the award in the mailbox of the home you think deserves it.
  • Read about the first Christmas. (It can be found in Luke 2 of the Bible.)
  • Make an Elf Yourself video online and post it on social media.
  • Borrow a copy of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever from the library and read it together. Talk about what Christmas means to you.
  • Have a red and green night. Everybody wears red and green, the food you eat for dinner has to be red or green (spaghetti and salad is an easy solution), and you eat on red and green plates. Invite a neighbor over to make it even more festive.
  • Play Stick the Nose on the Snowman. It’s like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, except each person gets a carrot nose instead of a donkey tail. Have the kids create the big snowman to hang on the wall to extend the activity.
  • Wear a Christmas hat to a store. Pass out candy canes and say, “Merry Christmas!” to everyone you see.
  • Take a family photo in pajamas in front of the tree.
  • Perform a random act of kindness for someone in the neighborhood. Shovel snow, rake leaves, make dinner, write a letter, sing Christmas carols, or something else you come up with as a family.

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