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Celebrating the Season as a Family

As we enter the month of December, it's easy for parents and families to be pulled into the rush of the Holidays.

Christmas programs, holiday parties and long “to-do” lists can add up to full calendars and busy days. In an attempt to slow down and enjoy this special season with our loved ones, we’d like to offer some suggestions of meaningful activities to enjoy together.

We’ve compiled a list of kid-friendly activities to keep the little ones involved this winter – and reasons to take pictures and make memories for years to come. Our list is separated into two categories, At-Home and Out of The House.

“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”

- Fred Rogers

At Home

Let’s start with setting the mood in our own homes for the rest of the holidays.  Some families enjoy making a Christmas music playlist, a movie watchlist, decorating the house, and even a list of Christmas cookies to bake.  You can get your kids involved by asking them what their favorite Holiday music is and making a playlist, or, have them help you choose one from your favorite streaming service.

If you grew up watching certain Christmas movies as a family tradition, add them to your list to watch with your kiddos. Maybe they have a friend who told them about a new movie that they want to share with you! 

Make a plan to choose and bring home a live Christmas tree from a nearby farm, or set a date to pull yours out of the attic.  Even if you don’t venture out into the cold to hunt down the perfect tree, working together as a family to decorate it provides a great opportunity to reminisce about where and when you collected the family’s favorite ornaments.

  • Christmas playlist

  • Movie watchlist

  • Cookie baking list

  • Set up decorations

  • Christmas giving list

  • Plan a Christmas party

  • Go through old toys and make space for new ones

  • Set up a Nativity

These are all great ways to start the decorating prep early and extend the joy of the holidays, as well as get the kids involved. Our blog, “Choosing the Right Gift for Your Child’s Personality”, mentions that Visionary-type kids are especially good at planning and organizing. However, no matter the age of your child, having gift-giving helpers is always a fun way to keep everyone involved.

Something we love to do is set up a Nativity scene. Families have different traditions when it comes to this, such as revealing one piece per day throughout December, or hiding baby Jesus until Christmas Eve. Some local churches might have a live-action Nativity you can visit, in honor of the first scene, which originated in 1223 by Catholic monk St Francis. 

Another helpful activity for families to tackle together is cleaning out old toys to make room for new ones your children might receive as gifts.  Once you know what is leaving your home, have your kids help you donate them. Check out our blog “Tips For Keeping Toys Tidy” to help you and your kiddos keep a tidy space year-round. 

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality.”

- Washington Irving

Out of the House

The holiday season is a wonderful time to enjoy community events and local activities.  Take an evening walk and find some neighborhood Christmas lights to admire!  Or – this blog by Discover Lancaster has a great list of light shows happening right here in Lancaster, PA.

A fun thing to do with the kids is to visit a local toy store and let their imaginations run wild. Then, visit the library and search for some new Christmas picture books to enjoy while snuggled up together. 

Teach your children the beautiful gift of generosity by asking for their help in choosing gifts for others.  Kids love to find treasures for grandparents, teachers and siblings, and you’ll love to see their faces light up when they see the joy their gifts bring to others!

For an extra-special outing, why not attend a  Christmas play or recital performance as a family? Local theaters will be showcasing Christmas stories throughout December and make a great evening out for young and old alike. Some of our favorite shows include White Christmas, The Nutcracker, and Live Nativity Pageants. 

  • Christmas Market

  • Visit the Library 

  • Gift shopping together

  • Donate hats & gloves for a giving tree

  • Volunteer at a charity or community center

  • Drive through Nativity

  • Walk through Christmas light display

  • Christmas trains in Strasburg, PA

  • Visit a Toy Store 

 

Whatever activities and traditions you decide to plan with your kids this holiday season, our hope is that you are able to slow down and savor making memories together. 

May the joy of Christmas last in your hearts all winter long!

“We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”

- Laura Ingalls Wilder