In our last post, we gave a few suggestions for simplifying the Christmas season with young children in the house. Today, I want to follow that up with some ideas that are fun, simple, require very little expense or preparation, and build loads of fun traditions and memories.
1. Do some form of Advent with them. I realize this is the third time (at least!) I’ve mentioned Advent this season, but it is so essential for keeping the season in perspective. We’ve given several suggestions on our Advent post. Maybe you have young toddlers or even babies in your home. I recently heard a fantastic suggestion for Advent-ing even with them! Take a couple minutes each night and sing simple Christmas carols, such as Away in a Manger or Silent Night. This can slip right in to a bed-time routine, but keeps the Christmas Story in front of them.
2. Have a special baking day. If you have little ones that are old enough (personally, I feel like the 3 1/2-4 year old range really opens up options for activities together), set aside a day to tackle one or two special baking activities. If you need something similar, why not create little Christmas baskets for your neighbors with packets of hot cocoa, disposable hot drink cups, wrapped candy canes, etc.? — all things little hands can easily put in a basket.
3. Decorate a small tree with them — just for their room. There are some adorable little Christmas trees out there. My boys had SO much fun picking out a blue tinsel tree this year, choosing a few non-breakable ornaments, and decorating their tree. It’s a fun time to relax a little bit on your perfect Christmas tree decoration standards and just enjoy watching them go to town on their little tree.
4. Set aside an evening to look at Christmas lights. You can definitely go for a drive in nearby neighborhoods to look at lights, but I’d also suggest just strolling through your own neighborhood… This might be a great alternative for youngsters who don’t do well in the car or for those kiddos who are still rear-facing in their car seat.
5. Plan a family Christmas movie night! Plan a fun meal (pizza, anyone?) or snack (popcorn and hot chocolate?) and choose a movie to watch a family. Some fun suggestions are Polar Express, Arthur Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or It’s a Wonderful Life. (Just a tip- keep your children’s ages and attention spans in mind when you pick out the movie.)
6. Go caroling to your neighbors. We caroled with my in-laws last Christmas season… just a few neighbors on their street. It’s a fun evening and people really do appreciate you taking a moment to make them feel special.
7. Christmas PJs! One of our favorite little traditions is to choose new pajamas for our kids to give them on Christmas Eve. (You could give their PJs to them earlier in the season, too.) This doesn’t have to be overcomplicated or expensive…. This year our boys are getting matching pajama sets…. that I bought during a “buy one, get one” sale.
8. Collect a stash of Christmas books. We have a small stack of Christmas books that we have out only during December. Some families wrap their Christmas books, unwrapping one each day leading up to Christmas. I love that idea, but this year we’re choosing to keep our books available in a special “Christmas book basket” for simplicity. Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive! All except a couple of our books were purchased at Half Price Books. They have a special holidays shelf in the children’s section, which makes finding great Christmas books easy and inexpensive. Since we intentionally do an Advent program with our boys, most of our Christmas books are purely festive. Some of our favorites are Little Blue Truck’s Christmas, Bear Stays Up for Christmas, Fa La La, and the classic Caldecott medal-winning Polar Express.
Leave a comment below and share your favorite Christmas tradition with your youngsters!
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