Between shopping, get-togethers and travel, the holidays can easily be one of the busiest times of year. But at the end of the season, what you'll remember most is the time spent with family. To make even more wonderful memories, plan a new tradition this year, one that you and your family can do together. Here are just five ideas to do something meaningful and memorable this holiday season.
Writing and addressing cards can be a time-consuming process; make it a fun one by getting the whole family involved. Start by making the cards yourself. Little ones can decorate with stickers and markers, while teens and adults can do some of the writing. If you write a letter about what the family has been up to, everyone can write his or her own little portion—and the littlest of the family can dictate what they'd like to include! Don't forget packaging up all those cards, including putting on a stamp and return address. It can be an assembly line of sorts, and before you know it those thoughtful and unique holiday cards will be in the mail.
Once you receive your holiday cards too, the family can help decorate a spot in the house with them. After the holidays, it's time to make the holiday cards into something new: Cut out rectangles and use them as to/from gift markers the following holiday season!
Volunteer For A Charity
Celebrate the true reason for the season by giving back. This day of family volunteering can be done in all sorts of ways: Work together in a food kitchen, visit a retirement home to sing Christmas carols or help out a local animal shelter. You can even create a different kind of Secret Santa gift exchange where everyone draws the name of a charity to donate a gift to. Some great ones include Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.
Read Holiday Classics Together
When it comes to the holidays, there are so many different books to read to get the family into the holiday spirit. Leading up to the holiday, take turns picking books and reading them out loud to each other; or if they're longer books—like "Little Women"—read a chapter a night. "The Night Before Christmas" is one you might want to reserve until Christmas Eve, naturally, but others like "Frosty the Snowman," "Polar Express" or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" can be read anytime to get into the holiday spirit.
While there's plenty of excitement the day of the holiday—or days, if you celebrate Chanukah—make it even more special by giving the gift of pajamas (matching each other, optional). For Christmas, have the kids open their PJ gifts on Christmas Eve so they can go to bed and wake up in their newest sleepwear. When celebrating Chanukah, perhaps start off the eight nights with the pajamas! When you take photos of the kids opening their holiday gifts, they'll all be in the pajamas you gave them—and it may even make it easier to remember which year is which as time goes on!
Countdown To The Holidays With Crafts
Sure, you can buy an advent calendar at the store, but why not get crafty and make your own? Plus, it will keep the little ones busy by encouraging them to make the craft with you. Create stockings made with felt or parchment paper and stuffed with candy canes for each day of December, or cards that have a different holiday activity on them for each day leading up the holiday.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.
for more features.