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5 Christmas Activities to Share With Your Kids

Updated on November 30, 2011

Fun Christmas Traditions for Parents and Kids

I love Christmas and almost everything about it. But the most fun part of it now that I'm a parent is seeing it again through the eyes of my children. I remember when I was young how the month of December seemed to last F-O-R-E-V-E-R and how I looked forward to watching all the TV specials, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. On Christmas Eve, we'd always sneak downstairs and try to catch Santa, but we always fell asleep, and he always managed to bring our presents while we were snoozing. My parents have some great photos of me and all my stuffed animals crashed on the floor by the tree in my failed Santa-catching mission.

Those years went by much too quickly for me, but now I try to make those precious memories last for my kids. Here are some things we do at our house. I hope a few of these will inspire you to come up with your own traditions and activities.

5 Traditions from Our House

  1. TV and Hot Cocoa - You gotta love the DVR. It has made it possible to record and watch practically every Christmas special ever televised. And that's what we do at our house. A few weeks before December, I start looking for any shows with words like Santa, reindeer, elf, Christmas, snowman, etc., and then I set the DVR to record them all. Then every night in December, we make hot cocoa, turn off the lights and watch one Christmas special together. We've discovered some great new specials this way (such as Disney's Prep and Landing last year) and some not so great shows.
  2. Christmas Light Walk - Starting the first week of December, I bundle the kids up and take them for a walk (almost) every night once it gets dark so we can "ooh" and "ahh" at all the neighborhood Christmas decorations. Granted, we live in northern California, where "bundling up" has a much different meaning than in parts of the country where it REALLY gets cold. So if you live in a colder clime, you might want to drive. We also jump in the car once during this period to drive to another section of town known for its great light display and walk that neighborhood.
  3. Daily Advent Calendar - Every year I buy my kids a chocolate-filled Advent calendar from Trader Joe's. They love opening the little windows every day, and I love seeing the smiles on their faces. It's also a great way to deal with the question, "How many more days until Santa comes"?
  4. Letters to and from Santa - Even before my son was old enough to write to Santa, St. Nick started writing Santa letters to him - with a little help from me, of course! Now he's old enough to write his own letters, and it's fun to see what he says. This year I'm going to encourage my four-year-old to "write" a letter to Santa by telling me what she wants to say and I'll write it for her. Then I'll make sure Santa writes them both back. I always send my letters to get an official North Pole postmark, and it's fun to see them come back in the mail with this special mark. The kids love it!
  5. Easy Christmas Crafts or Cooking - I'm not Martha, but I know kids love to do crafts and cooking projects. So at my house we try to do projects that I dub "easy enough for Mom" such as clothespin reindeer crafts and snowman soup (yeah, I know, snowman soup isn't exactly a craft, but when you're craft-challenged like I am, you throw ALL activities into the mix). We also make cookies or easy candies during the holidays.

So there's my list of holiday traditions I share with my kids. I know these precious innocent years won't last long, and the time is already flying by so quickly, but I hope they'll keep these traditions in their heart and perhaps some day share them with their own kids.


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