Activity

Family time over Christmas

To me, one of the highlights of  Christmas is time spent with people you care about, whether they are family or friends, we all tend to make time to catch up with people during December.

But what sorts of things can you do with your immediate family as Christmas activities? Or with a group you are catching up with?

Thanks to Clair’s comment about finding some family activities for Christmas somewhat challenging, I got inspired and am trying to give everyone lots of celebratory ideas!

Simple activities at home

There are many things you can do, of course, but here are a few categories and specific ideas to get you thinking about how to entertain the kids and family at home in the lead up to Christmas…

boy and two women cooking Christmas treats in Santa hats

Family cooking together is a lovely preparation for Christmas

Outings and other activities

Sometimes you just need to get out of the house or you want the excitement of doing something different, so I’ve also listed some Christmas activities you can visit…

  • walk around your area and check out the decorations and Christmas lights – or visit another area and check out their lights!
  • visit your closest city and admire the displays and activities – for instance, the Myer windows in Melbourne are a popular outings for families. What can you find in your city?
  • take a break and visit another city and check out all their Christmas attractions – don’t forget regional cities can be fun, too, so you can fit a trip into a day or a weekend
  • have a picnic in a park as an informal Christmas party – invite all your friends and tell them to bring their friends
  • get a group of kids together so they can all write Santa letters and Christmas cards together
  • find out where Santa is visiting in your area and go visit him, maybe even get your photo taken with him or some of his elves
  • go for a walk in the bush and see which trees would be good to decorate – or not!
  • look around for some celebrations of other cultures – maybe there is a display or event for Hannukkah, Eid-as_Adhe or Bodhi Day near you
  • deliver some Christmas items to a nursing home, hospital or charity
  • arrange to visit some people in a nursing home, community home, hospice or hospital – just a friendly chat will brighten them up, or you could perform some carols or a Christmas story for them

    Christmas in July displays in Maldon - Mrs Claus, carollers, wombats, kangaroo pulling a koala in a sleigh

    Some of the displays in historic Maldon were well worth the drive.

Add some excitement to your Christmas plans

Set up a family advent calendar where each day you select an activity (eg have them on pieces of paper in a jar – maybe have a weekend jar and a weekday jar though to allow for different amounts of time available) to do as a family.

As well as doing anything in the above lists, what else would your calendar could include?

 

* Images courtesy of 123rf & LoveSanta

Make Santa letters a family tradition

Boy writing letter to SantaWriting letters to Santa is a long standing tradition in many places around the world.

It is a lot of fun and has many benefits for children, but it can also be a family event that is lots of fun.

Writing letters as a family

So how can you make it a family activity?

Basically, you just have to make the time to sit down together and write letters to Santa. But to get you moving, here are a few tips…

  1. make a date and time to do this so it will happen. if you make a date like ‘the first Saturday in December’ or ‘the third Friday in November’ it is easier to become a tradition that will last for years with little effort.
  2. get things set up first – have paper, pencils, textas, crayons and even special things like glitter and stickers. Spread them out on a table, turn on some Christmas or other loved music, and maybe have a yummy snack on hand so the letter writing time can be truly dedicated to being creative.
  3. let everyone ‘write’ their own letter. For very young children, you may write the actual words, but let them draw and write on the letter as well, and make sure they tell you what to write rather than deciding what to write for them.
  4. have a rule that nobody has to share their letter as they write, although encouraging sharing the finished letters can lead to some lovely times together. If someone (usually an older child) wants to keep secrets, maybe they can just read out part of what they have written instead.
  5. let everyone be creative – kids can draw pictures and decorate the letter, anyone can use different coloured pens/pencils for each sentence or even each word, and so on. This is for Santa, not a bank manager or lawyer, so make the letter beautiful!
  6. remember to include something nice for Santa in the letter, it shouldn’t just be a list of gifts you want
  7. have everyone write a letter, not just the kids. Parents can have fun, too, and it may help tip kids towards gifts you want instead of another pair of socks!
Great tips on making writing Santa letters as a family activityClick To Tweet

Lessons to be learned

Smiling little girl writing a letter to Santa

Writing to Santa makes children happy! Writing with family is even better.

Writing Santa letters together has a number of advantages, including kids learning some useful lessons such as

  1. how to structure a letter!
  2. why it is nice to write letters and how people enjoy receiving letters. And in modern times, a letter takes more effort than an email or text so receiving a letter is even more valuable so it is a social gift to be able to write letters.
  3. practice writing, spelling and using grammar/punctuation.
  4. thinking about other members of the family – want they may want, what they think is important to tell Santa, and how they use their creativity
  5. using good manners (eg “Santa can I please have…” rather than “I want …”)
  6. Christmas and Santa – it is a great time to chat about what these things are and how your family celebrates them, and to answer any questions your children may have at that time of year.
  7. how to address and envelope and mail it – unless you leave the letters under the tree or in stockings instead of course!
  8. how to relax, have fun and enjoy tradition and magical moments. Remember the kids are given facts and goals all year so it is nice to have some magical and imaginative time, too (as stated by Michael Grose).
  9. having traditions like this help connect the family and set some rhythms that give kids certainty and security over time.

 

Has your family (present or in your childhood) ever written Santa letters together? Are they special memories?

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