A reader asks:
Thinking about Christmas this year and I’m trying to minimize as much as possible. Growing up, christmas was spent in a pile of presents. Since my kids won’t necessarily have that, do you have suggestions of traditions and activities for Christmas Day that will make memories and help us to not miss those wrapping-filled Christmas mornings?
Good news! Christmas doesn’t have to be about gifts.
It’s about spending time with those we love. There are families that have even given up gift-giving altogether and have made it a day of celebrating relationships.
To not have gifts, Christmas day may look like this:
- Wake up, enjoy a favorite breakfast together.
- Pull out some paper and scissors and cut out snowflakes- hang them on the tree or in the windows.
- Build your own pizza for lunch, everyone’s in the kitchen.
- Play a game of monopoly, put a puzzle together to build a Lego castle.
- Eat a picnic dinner of finger foods on the living room floor.
- Light a candle, turn out the lights and sing Christmas carols.
To get the holidays that we all really long for:
- Turn Off The Electronic Devices. I know this is hard, especially if there are sports fans and there is always a game going. Kids really want to spend time with their parents, they don’t want to share them with electronic devices. So turn off the phones, close up the TV cabinet and just be present. A nervous twitch might appear with severe addicts- don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal and they’ll live through it. 😉
- Play A Game. It’s simple, and I know many adults don’t enjoy playing board games and card games, but kids need to have that interaction and they need to see their parents having fun. This really can be any number of things, as long as it’s a game. If you really truly can’t stand “games”, try a puzzle, or build a structure with blocks.
- Cook Together. You can have the kids help with breakfast and start the day with a fruit candy cane. Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be a turkey or ham- you can have a build-your-own-pizza party, it’s a fun activity, and it’s great to do it when you have a full day that is not rushed.
- Have a Craft Time. Kids need to see adults having fun and being creative. Why not sit around and cut out snowflakes? Or make some paper chain people?
- Be Together. For little ones- read books together, color a picture, listen to their stories. For older kids, play Risk or Monopoly, teach them how to bake a pie, play mad libs.
Kids are always trying to talk to us, truly listening is a wonderful gift.
What if you weren’t home on Christmas Day?
There is also a growing number of families who no longer spend Christmas at home doing “traditional” Christmas things. Instead, they use that winter break to vacation and experience things with their family. The holidays are spent playing in the warm sands of a tropical beach, or swimming in a motel swimming pool and sightseeing.
You can make your days special without opening gifts. Your children can grow up with Christmas meaning fun, exploration and time together as a family.