What’s your favorite holiday memory? Most of us think back to our childhood. It’s funny how you can’t remember those gifts you begged Santa for, but you can remember all the good times you spent as a family.
Lots of parents worry about making the holidays special when they’re on a tight budget. Just remember, it’s the little things you do every year that come to mean “Christmas” for your children. To help, we’ve gathered ten tiny ideas sure to create merry moments today…and favorite holiday memories tomorrow. Try one or all of these fun ideas.
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- Sneak cheery notes or small treats into your children’s mittens or coat pockets for them to discover. Then give them some mini cards and treats so that they can do the same for friends, family and neighbors throughout the holidays.
- Ask your kids to help you personalize gifts to friends and family by using a photo of them with the gift recipient as the gift tag. (Kids will have fun sorting through old photos to find the perfect pic.)
- Make a little scrapbook together this year recalling the history of the ornaments on your tree. Take pictures of the most memorable ornaments and write a sentence or two about each one—like its significance, the year you received it, who gave it to you, and so on. Learn how to make an ornament book.
- Ask school-age children to read a few pages from holiday stories every evening after dinner or at bedtime. Find some holiday book and movie classics to add to your bookshelf—they may become new family favorites!
- Play a game! Put a variety of objects in a Christmas stocking. Each player gets a turn at digging into the stocking to feel what’s inside. No peeking! Whoever can name the most objects inside wins. Check out more fun games to play.
- Ask kids to recall their best memories from previous holidays and share some of yours. If any of them can be re-created, make sure to add them to your holiday to-do list for this year—they’ll be easy traditions to maintain if they’re already family favorites.
- Take a walk after dark to see the neighbors’ decorations. Warm up afterwards with a cup of hot chocolate and a bowl of freshly popped popcorn or reindeer crunch. Yum!
- Spend an afternoon baking holiday cookies or making decorations to take to nursing home residents.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle together while watching a holiday movie. (It will give you all a chance to put the gadgets down.) And for car rides, give kids some printable Christmas games to do while you’re running errands or heading to Grandma’s house.
- Involve your children in a charity you can help with as a family or let them come up with their own ways of giving—wrapping gifts for younger siblings, or raking leaves for neighbors.