As much as this time of year is a joyous, fun filled time of family and festivities, it’s no secret that many parents have a sort of love-hate relationship with the holidays. So much to do… so little time. The kids are off school and wreaking havoc around the house, your relatives are in town (and potentially staying in the guest room) and it’s a FULL house. “Private time” seems like a novelty at this point, and you are beginning to steam from the ears. Well, you are not alone, and no, you are not a horrible person for feeling all bah-humbug-ish. Planning some fun activities for the whole family may seem like extra work, but getting everyone involved (and even tricking them into helping here and there) will actually keep everyone busy, ease that dreaded tinsel tension, and will teach your kids (and even the adults) to work as a team. This will keep everyone entertained and happy, and will offer some quality bonding time for you and your family. So, hold on to your sanity this holiday season and try out a few of these activities for some festive family fun this Christmas!
Get Outdoors and Explore.
Activities like Snow Shoeing, making Snow Angels or building a Snow Man offer a fun way to experience the winter wonderland that awaits you outdoors, and get in touch with your inner child. If you have somewhere up north to visit, removed from the hustle-bustle of the city, these activities are particularly enjoyable, with the vast plains of untouched snow and open land just waiting to be explored. These activities can still be fun in the city though, in your local park or even your own back yard. Just use your imagination! If you have older kids, add a little competition into the mix. Divide your family up and see which team makes the best snow man! Winner is on dishes.
Unfortunately, at least for us Canadians, the likelihood of having a white Christmas this year is looking slimmer and slimmer. If you don’t have a winter wonderland at your disposal, don’t fret. It’s also fun to play tourist in your own city! Pick a few staple attractions that no tourist would miss, and take the whole family. It’s easy to forget what our cities have to offer after living in them for a while! Plus, the unseasonably mild weather will make the experience that much more enjoyable. There are also the Christmas aftermath sales, which are usually pretty good if you’re a family that likes to shop.
You may not have done this since you were your kids’ age, but you’re never too old! If you do have some snow outside, bundle up, grab a few toboggans (or rent some if you don’t own any) and find your biggest local hill to slide down! You will no doubt take a couple of spills but seeing your kids giggle as you tumble will be well worth it. They’ll love that you’re getting involved and letting go of your inhibitions. If you have really young ones, you can take them down with you on the same sled. This is a way to include them in an activity that they might otherwise be too young for. It’s also a great way to get your kids outdoors and breathing some fresh air rather than playing Nintendo in the basement for their entire winter break.
Get Everyone Involved in the Kitchen.
Don’t try to do everything yourself! You’ll drive yourself bonkers. There’s lots of fun to be had in the kitchen as well. Kids love to eat cookies, so they’ll no doubt love helping you bake them! First, give everyone a task, this will keep things from getting chaotic and make them feel like they are part of the team. They’ll be helping you without even knowing it! This goes for your cooking as well. As long as everyone’s involved, they will want to be too. This is a great way to spend quality time together and also helps your kids develop essential team building skills. Oh, and it will help them fine tune their baking skills of course!
Play Charades and Other Interactive Games
Games like Charades and Clue are an awesome way to get the family laughing and playing together. Just make sure you adjust the difficulty level depending on the age group you’re playing with, it should be enjoyable for everyone involved. (That means Grandma and the little ones too!) Charades is a great way to force your kids out of their shell and even get a glimpse at their theatrical side. For a slightly older crowd, games like Clue are great for bringing out the Sherlock Holmes in us all. Solving mysteries and using your inner detective skills will no doubt get everyone passionately involved. Again, these activities are also great for team building, thinking creatively and developing communication skills.
Volunteer at the Local Soup Kitchen
What’s the holidays without a little philanthropy? It’s important to instill good values and the spirit of generosity in our children, especially during the holidays. Take the whole gamily down to the local soup kitchen and let your children get to know people from a different walk of life. This will be a rewarding experience for everyone, we could all use a little dose of perspective every now and then. Volunteering will allow your kids to develop a healthy perspective on life, and to feel gratitude for the blessings they have been given.
We hope that you and your family will enjoy at least a few of these activities, and that they help bring back some of that long lost Christmas spirit this Holiday Season!