5 Holiday Activities for Kids

The holidays are a joyous time, especially for kids. Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate the season with little ones (and keep them busy while school is out)!

Cut down your own Christmas tree. Usually for about $10, you can obtain a Christmas Tree Permit from the U.S. Forest Service. If you don’t have a National Forest nearby, go to a Christmas tree farm in your area. Pack a lunch, Tervis water bottles filled with hot chocolate, and (if you live in snow country) your snowshoes or cross-country skis. And don’t forget a saw! Invite other families to join you and when the adventure is over, follow up with a chili and corn bread potluck for all to enjoy and reminisce about the day’s events. One caveat — a tree looks a lot smaller in the forest! You might find that your tree is taller than your ceiling, so be prepared to cut a few inches off the bottom so that it can stand upright in your home.

Bake Christmas cookies together. Let each child choose his or her favorite cookie recipe. Be sure you have all ingredients on hand, plenty of cookie cutters and a festive cookie tin for each. If you have a large group with varying ages, enlist additional adults to help. Play Christmas carols in the background, dunk cookies in your favorite Tervis holiday mug full of milk and have so much fun just being together!

Spread Christmas cheer. The holidays are about giving — not just material goods, but your time, giving joy! Take the children to visit area nursing homes and assisted living facilities to cheer up the residents by singing Christmas carols. The children can even share some of their homemade cookies! For some residents, this might be the only visitors they have during the holidays.

Start your own annual Christmas tradition. We have 10 grandchildren ranging in ages from 2 to 25. We started a Christmas program approximately 20 years ago when the older children were just toddlers. It has evolved over the years to be quite a production! We gather together on Christmas Eve for some heritage food (Swedish and German) and an evening of entertainment. Some play instruments (trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, cello, accordion and piano). Some read, write and recite stories and poems. Others sing solos, duets, trios and quartets. We end the program with each family having a verse from the 12 Days of Christmas!

Make a Christmas “countdown” chain. If your children are too young to draw, cut out holiday scenes from magazines or print out a scene from the computer. Glue it to a sheet of red or green construction paper, cut red and green strips, glue or tape them into rings, then string them together to make a chain of the days leading up to Christmas. Each morning when your child wakes up, have him/her tear off a ring from the chain. It’s a good visual reminder of how many days are left ‘til Christmas!

– Judi Bauer