I received this cry for help, “YIKES!! I need some family activities for a more meaningful Christmas!” So here you go! Just a few ideas from my bank of experiences. May they bless you and your family!
- Family Sharing: Think about the following reminders of Christmas and share two or three that have meaning for you this year and why. Help us to learn more about you and what is going on inside of you through this sharing.
- Angels (example: What is God speaking to you?)
- Bells (example: What rings true for you?)
- Star (example: What do you need some light shone on in your life right now?)
- Tree (example: What is God growing in you?)
- Hope (example: What are you hoping for?)
- Birth of Jesus (example:. What is God birthing in you?)
- Gift (example: What gift would you give the world? What Gifts are God asking you to use?)
- Joy (example:. Why are you feeling full of joy right now?)
- Lights (example: How is God asking you to brighten the world around you?)
- Poinsettia (example: How does beauty of the season touch you?)
- Manger scene (example: God has used ordinary people in extraordinary ways. How does He want to use you?)
- Teach them to Love Giving: Have a craft day in December and help the kids make gifts for relatives. Prepare ahead of time. Many craft stores have ready-made ideas you can use. Just buy the supplies, get the instructions and help your kids make the gifts. Help them wrap gifts and place in a pretty bag. On Christmas Day, let each child hand out their gifts one at a time and wait for the person to open the gift and express excitement at receiving the gift. This teaches your child to love giving!
My kids loved this so much that they wanted to do it before opening their own presents!
Another version of this is to give your kids special jobs to earn money. Make a list of people to buy gifts for. Talk about what each person might like then go with them to make some purchases. Help them wrap the presents. Give the presents one at a time at your gift-giving time. Help them recognize the special feeling of watching someone open what you have thoughtfully chosen for that person and show their appreciation to you.
- Light Night
Sometime during the holiday season plan a Light Night. Have an easy prepare dinner at home or to a family friendly place for dinner. Then drive around to see the pretty Christmas lights. Play Christmas music in the car and sing along between neighborhoods. Ask friends or Google your town and Christmas lights to find the best displays. When you get home have hot chocolate with marshmallows and talk about the favorite displays.
- Entertaining for a Gift: Okay….I just can’t resist including this one! When I was a little girl, my family spent Christmas Eve at my Aunt’s house. There were lots of cousins and relatives. The kids had to entertain to get their Christmas Eve gift. We would recite a poem, dance, sing, play an instrument, read a story we wrote, show a science project, share artwork or do a magic trick. Each year as we grew our talents and abilities were better expressed and we became more confident in our performance.
- Conversation Starters: I use conversation starters for adult get-togethers as well as holidays with just the family. This is a fun way to have meaningful conversation at the dinner table. Make a copy of the Conversation Starters. Cut them apart, fold them and place in a basket. Each person selects a piece of paper from the basket. One person starts, reads the question and gives their answer. Then go around the table and have each person share their own answer. Then go on to the next person and their question
- What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
- What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
- Jesus is a gift to us. Besides Jesus, what’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
- What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?
- What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
- Why do you think Jesus came to earth?
- What Christmas song do you love to listen to?
- What is one food you want to make sure we have during the Christmas season?
- What is something you’d like to do for someone else?
- Express appreciation: Look at the person to your right and tell them something you appreciate about them. The person receiving the appreciation must simply say, “Thank you.” Most of us have a difficult time receiving a compliment. And many times family members feel uncomfortable giving appreciation or a compliment to another family member. This is a good exercise to help them mature in this area.
- And here’s a tip if you are the person who stuffs the stockings. This can be one of the most difficult things on your to-do list. So each time you are out, pick up a couple items for each person.
- Check the sale items, clearance areas in stores like Sur La Table or Anthropologie or office stores, and pick up some dollar items at most pharmacies and discount stores.
- It’s FINE to include those everyday items like lip balm, toothpaste, body wash or fun nail files and polish.
- A $5 Starbucks card is a winner.
- Items for girls’ hair and a magazine for a guy.
- Pretty or classy pens, colored pencils, small note pad.
- Pocket game or deck of interesting cards.
Label bags for each family member and drop the items into the bag when you get home from the store. That way you can see who still needs more items.
Adapt these ideas to the age and stage of the people you are sharing Christmas with. They can also be adapted to many holidays. The important thing is to let this be a time your family grows closer together by engaging in meaningful Christmas activities.