How to Spend the Holidays at Home
Every year, it starts innocently enough. You accept the invitation to your child’s class stocking exchange party. Reserve an entire Saturday for driving three hours to and from the nearest Christmas tree farm. Bring your kids caroling at the local nursing home, sign your whole family up for your church’s living nativity, and spend a Sunday morning at the “Breakfast With Santa” school fundraiser. Meanwhile, you’re scouring Pinterest for holiday card inspo, sugar cookie tutorials, and new ways your resident Elf on the Shelf can get into mischief while your kids sleep. Why? Because it’s “tradition.” Sure, it’s exhausting—but you’re making memories for your kids and that’s all that matters. Well this year, Christmas memories will have nothing to do with being busy 24/7? This year, we will all make memories while staying home, slowing down, and simplifying! It probably sounds impossible: when you spend year after year racing from one Santa-themed, sugar-loaded activity to the next, you start thinking all that busyness is mandatory to memory-making. But this year is different, with a little creativity (and a lot of Christmas magic), you can make spending Saturdays at home in flannel pajamas just as fun as going out. Here’s how.
Holiday movie night If you have a favorite family-friendly Christmas movie, now’s the time to introduce it to your kids. Grab some blankets, turn on your Christmas lights, and snuggle up. To make this an extra special event for your kids, you can splurge on a new pair of fuzzy socks for everyone or set up a hot chocolate bar filled with candy canes, marshmallows, cinnamon, and whipped cream. Tree trimming craftstravaganza
Never underestimate how much fun it is for kids to string popcorn or cereal onto yarn for homemade tree garland. And that’s just the beginning: you can make popsicle stick reindeer, cupcake liner trees, jingle bell wreaths. Yes, you’ll end up with a huge mess—but your kids will be entertained for hours and you’ll have plenty of homemade keepsakes to trim your tree with (or pass out to the grandparents).
Christmas song karaoke Even the most black-hearted grinches have a hard time resisting the urge to belt out “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” For a family with older kids, like those aged 8-14, a karaoke night themed around Christmas songs is a definite crowd-pleaser. You can rent a karaoke machine, download a karaoke program or app, or just hit up YouTube for instrumental versions of songs with video lyrics. Gingerbread house contest If making a gingerbread house from scratch is your thing, great…but if you’re short on time, patience, or baking skills, buy a premade gingerbread house kit for each member of the family and see who can make the best one. The winning house can be the biggest, the sweetest, the most colorful—the criteria is totally up to you. When the judging is over, dig in!
With a little creativity (and a lot of Christmas magic), you can make spending Saturdays at home in flannel pajamas just as fun as going out.
Christmas tree campout Is there a cooler way to end a day spent picking out and decorating your Christmas tree than to “camp out” in the living room next to all those twinkly lights? This is one of those activities that requires little effort on your part, but is exactly the kind of super special, only-once-a-year thing that creates lasting memories for your kids. Assemble “Secret Santa” care packages
To get your kids focused on giving and receiving for the holidays, spend an afternoon putting together care packages for friends, family, and neighbors to be delivered in secret. A trip to your local dollar store and a basic assembly line at your kitchen table makes this an easy way to spread a little holiday cheer to your favorite people. Stuff gift bags with holiday goodies like hot chocolate, candy canes, chapstick, and small ornaments, then drive around ringing doorbells and dashing.