Counting down to Christmas Day means many different things to people around the world. Although families likely have several different traditions they anticipate each year, it can be fun to incorporate some new merrymakers into the festivities. Here are some festive ideas to include in the days leading up to Christmas — a special family calendar of fun finds.
1. Annual memento: Have the kids or adults make one new handmade ornament each year. This way the tree is always evolving, and everyone can track milestones.
2. Cookie day: Devote one day to making Christmas cookies. Invite friends or family members over. Distribute some cookies to elderly neighbors.
3. Holiday classic: Spend a night in and watch a classic Christmas flick you’ve never seen before. Streaming movie services often put classics and obscure titles into rotation during the holiday season.
4. Christmas concert: Host a gathering of children where they can sing or perform their favorite tunes for an audience. Take it on the road to a nearby nursing home.
5. Dine out: Take a break from cooking, shopping and hosting and stop into a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Keep it local to support nearby businesses.
6. Adopt a child/family: Volunteer with a charitable organization that provides for less fortunate families. Answer the Christmas desires of a needy child or family by purchasing an item on their wish lists.
7. See the sights: Pack the children into the family car to tour nearby areas and
look at Christmas lights displays. Bring along cookies and hot chocolate.
8. Trim a tree: Get together with adult friends at a tree-trimming party. Rotate the hosting house each year.
9. Pets need presents too: Get Fido or Fluffy their own stockings and buy treats to fill it.
10. Wilderness walk: Enjoy the crisp air and snow and see a local park from a winter perspective.
11. Acts of kindness: Choose any act of kindness and make it happen this Christmas. It can include feeding the hungry or helping a disabled person shop for the season.
12. Kids’ Secret Santa: Spread the joy of giving by having the kids choose a sibling or friend’s name from a hat and purchasing or making a gift for that person.
13. Hand out hot chocolate: Make a big thermos of hot chocolate and give it out to shoppers or workers who have been out in the cold.
14. Read the story of Jesus’ birth: Understand the true meaning of the season by reading Biblical passages.
15. Camp-in: The first night the tree is decorated, allow the kids to sleep beside it under the glow of Christmas lights.
16. Scavenger hunt: Plan holiday-themed trivia questions and hide small trinkets for children to find.
17. Surprise box: Put a gender and age nonspecific gift into a box. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the person who finds a hidden gift tag under their chair at dinner gets to open the box.
18. Family portrait: Wear your holiday best and pose for a portrait that actually will be printed and framed.