Festive Family Fun - 10 Stress-free Christmas Traditions
Tree lights twinkling, Christmas tunes tinkling… it really is the most wonderful time of the year. But does it also sometimes feel like the most stressful time of the year? For those of us who are responsible for “making the Christmas magic happen”, this is often the case - and in 2020 more than ever, when we feel the pressure to make the holidays extra special after the strange year we’ve all had.
We’re here in this season to remind you to take a breath, and pause for a moment to think about what really matters over the holidays.
Yes, there are lists to make and gifts to wrap and cards to write and food to cook, and all of this is important. But nobody needs the added pressure of making everything perfect. All you really want for Christmas is time with your loved ones and a few special moments to tuck away in the memory bank.
Here are some fun family Christmas traditions that won’t add stress, but will help you spread the holiday cheer.
Check out your local light display
Pack up some hot chocolate in a flask (or hot wine for the adults!), and go as a family to see a beautiful light display in your town. Have each family member pick out their favourite light design and let child-like delight overwhelm you as you take it all in. Nothing gets us in the mood for Christmas like the magic of twinkling lights.
Delight your neighbours
Christmas is all about kindness and delight, so spread a little around. Pick a few of your neighbours to surprise with an anonymous Christmas treat, and during the month of December leave little trinkets for them to find on their doorsteps - home-made fudge, a tree ornament or perhaps a little Poinsettia plant. Your children will love the covert action of sneaking up with a gift in the dark, and the joy they get from a random act of kindness will teach them that giving really is better than receiving.
Crafts to keep
Our kids will love making salt dough ornaments for our tree each year, and marking them with the date. Mould their hand and foot prints when they’re little, or make a Christmas tree with sea glass you found during the summer… Each year you will take the ornaments out of the box and smile at the memories.
Find an easy salt dough recipe here.
Host a Christmas cookie exchange
During the month of December, treat yourself and your girlfriends to a coffee morning where everybody brings their favourite cookies to share. It’s a perfect excuse to connect with friends - which we don’t have time to do often enough. And everybody gets to go home with a box of assorted treats for the family, so a win all around.
Donate to your local food bank
Food banks need all the help they can get, and Christmas is a perfect time to offer it. Pack up a bag of non-perishables and drop it at your local food bank while you’re next running errands - and know that with relatively little effort, you’re making a big difference in the life of a stranger.
Have a family talent show
It doesn’t have to be fancy - you can just get together over pizza on a Friday night in December, and each family member gets to show off a talent. Don’t worry if you’re not Mozart or Baryshnikov - you can get as silly as you like with this one (walking on stilts anyone? Perhaps your talent is making cocktails or baking the fluffiest cupcakes…) - and the children love it when adults participate. After it’s over you can spend the next 12 months thinking about what you’ll do next year.
Visit a wishing tree
Most towns (or even some departments stores) have a “wishing tree” where they hang up information about families and children in need. Take your children to “pick a wish” and then choose the gift and wrap it up for that family.
Light a Christmas campfire
Make a fire in your fireplace at home, pile cushions on the floor, roast marshmallows and share your favourite Christmas memories. In the future, this might just become one of them.
Play a Secret Santa game on Christmas day
Ditch the pressure of extended family gifts this year in favour of a fun Secret Santa game with your Christmas dinner. Set a limit and have everybody bring one gift to put in the middle of the table. Each person draws a number and that’s the order in which they get to choose a gift. The person who goes next can either choose a new gift from the pile or steal somebody else’s. This hilarity and good-spirited competitiveness continues until everybody has had their gift stolen three times and the last gift is unwrapped. Because really, laughter is the best Christmas tradition of them all.
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