Most likely some of your most vivid childhood memories center around the holidays. Christmas time truly can be the most wonderful time of the year for kids. But, the holidays tend to get really busy and overscheduled for us all. This year, do a little planning early in the season to insure that you don’t get too busy to create some magical memories for the kids!
12 Days of Christmas Fun
For this year’s advent calendar, start a fun new tradition: 12 Days of Christmas Fun. For the twelve days leading up to Christmas, have your children open a small themed box that will have a few Christmas items and a list of fun activities for the day. Some different themed days include: Santa Claus Day, Gingerbread Man Day, Grinch Day, Snowman Day, Nativity Day, Candy Cane Day, Christmas Tree Day, Rudolph Day, and Elf Day.
Another box theme idea could be to have a Polar Express Day. Fill the box with the Polar Express book, train shaped candy, small train toys, “coal” candy, and hot cocoa mix. Some of the activities for that day could be to watch the Polar Express movie, read Polar Express, have a hot cocoa tasting activity, and make candy trains.
You can download free printables to go along with this activity here.
Another way to create a special holiday memory is to recruit kids to help bake Christmas goodies. One simple recipe they can prepare in under an hour is Gingerbread Pretzel Mix. This recipe makes a great little treat to set out during a party or have kids help package up some to give as a gift for neighbors.
Gingerbread Pretzel Mix
1 16 oz. bag mini pretzels
⅔ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ bag mini gingerbread men cookies
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix oil, sugar , ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour pretzels into a large bowl and pour spice mixture over pretzels. Stir, then pour pretzels onto a large baking sheet or roasting pan. Bake pretzels for 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat, cool. After pretzels have cooled, stir together with mini gingerbread men cookies. Pretzel mix will keep for about one week in a sealed container.
It’s no secret that kids love to get Christmas gifts! However, they can enjoy gift giving just as much, especially when they get involved in little acts of kindness. One activity would be to have kids get involved in making a special package for a relative or friend who lives far away. For example, if giving a gift for a preschooler, purchase a Christmas DVD from their favorite television show. Add a few little matching toys and treats and place the items in a decorated box for the recipient. Have kids take the box into the post office for mailing. Also take a few treats for the postal workers when they go. Kids will love mailing their package and handing out candy to the workers.
Another idea would be to have kids make a box of snacks for firemen, policemen or hospital workers. These workers do not have the luxury of taking time off during the holidays. You can show your appreciation by taking them snacks and treats to enjoy during the holidays!