As crazy as the days leading up to Christmas can be, it’s easy to let the time slip away without capitalizing on all the extra hours with your children. Simply keeping your kids busy while you work at home may be one important goal, but these ideas will help you also get the most out of your Christmas break and allow you to make some memories along the way.
01 of 19
Deck the Halls
No one is as enthusiastic about holiday decorating as kids are! Channel their up-for-anything attitude and enlist them to help you deck the halls in time for December 25. Be sure to task them with something fun but not fragile, like cutting out paper snowflakes or hanging up window decals. You can also invite them to craft up their own Christmas decorations like paper chains to hang atop your mantel or down your banister.
02 of 19
Showcase Your Talents
Encourage your kid's creativity—and perhaps discover the next musical superstar—with a family talent show. This fun activity is great for all ages—you can either encourage your kids to practice themselves and then perform for you after dinner or get in on the fun yourselves with your own acts. From karaoke and lip-syncing to dancing and juggling, anything goes!
Your family talent show can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. This might mean sets, costumes, an original script, and live music—or none of that at all. If your kids aren’t born performers, encourage those with stage fright to direct, built a set, or choose costumes.
03 of 19
Bake up Some Goodies
From toddlers to teenagers, kids love mixing and measuring—but most of all, they'll love the treats at the end. To include your children in baking tasks without causing chaos, tailor each holiday baking projects to your kids’ abilities and ages. Add activities to keep little kids engaged (like frosting cookies) while you do more complicated baking tasks or challenge older children with recipes where they can take the lead on their own.
04 of 19
DIY Thoughtful Gifts
Homemade gifts are a kid specialty. They love to make them; parents, grandparents, and loved ones adore getting them. Encourage your children to craft up some DIY gifts tailored to their skill level and watch their creativity blossom.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
05 of 19
There's no better way to spend the holidays than taking advantage of all the festivities your area has to offer. Pack up the kids and drive through the lighting displays around town, see a Christmas show at your local theater, or go caroling in the town center. There are countless special events during the holidays and many of them only come around once a year, so don’t let Christmas break slip by without visiting a few.
06 of 19
"Haven’t I done enough shopping already?” you say. Maybe—but involving your children in the typical holiday chore is sure to make it more fun. You could also wait until after Christmas to have your kids tag along—even children who think shopping is torture change their tune when they have gift cards or cash they received as presents to spend.
07 of 19
Take in a Movie
Keeping kids from watching too much television over Christmas break is always a challenge, but not all TV is bad—especially if you watch it together. Binge a bunch of old holiday classics, invite each family member to select a flick, or choose something you want to watch and use this as an opportunity to share your interests and knowledge with your kids.
08 of 19
Try Out a Winter Sport
Ice skating, skiing, sledding, and snow tubing are great sports to enjoy during the winter, and an even better way to get your kids up and outdoors during their holiday break. Many cities have indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks around the Christmas season, so bundle up, pack a thermos of hot chocolate and get moving!Continue to 9 of 19 below.
09 of 19
Have a Friendly Competition
If you have older kids, why not challenge them to a friendly showdown during their holiday break? Teenagers especially love showing up their parents, so hit up a ping pong or pool table and show them who's boss. If you don't have a table at home, look into a local sports club, activity center, or YMCA that sells day passes.
10 of 19
Organize Your Home
Getting kids' rooms clean before Christmas may help when it comes to stowing new presents later. Even before Christmas break begins, assess what your children may be willing to donate to charity, so you're ready to make a few suggestions of what might go and what should stay when you organize your child's room. In reality, this task may end up waiting until after Christmas, but either way, it's an important way for kids to take responsibility for their own playthings.
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Do Some Good
Of course, volunteering is a great thing to do at any time of year, but during the holidays there are even more opportunities for kids to donate their time. Look into spending an afternoon at a local soup kitchen, ring a bell in honor of the Salvation Army, or adopt a family to gift on Christmas day.
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Art is one of those wonderful activities that can be scaled to almost every age and ability level. Buy yourself some time if you need to work at home (or just do some holiday prep) by tasking your kids with a fun holiday art project. The end results can even become gifts for relatives or decorations for your house.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
13 of 19
Visit a Museum
This is the fun kind of learning, we promise! Many museums count on Christmas break for a big surge of visitors, so don’t expect to be the only ones there. You may even find your local spot has a slew of special programs for kids around the holiday season, so plan ahead if you want to take advantage.
14 of 19
Finish Up School Work
No one said these were all going to be fun things to do. Much to your kid's dismay, many teachers assign homework or projects to do over the Christmas break. Take advantage of additional face-to-face time with your children to assist on any projects they have to complete or simply help with homework.
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Read a Book
Even if you regularly read together, change things up a little during Christmas break. Choose something different from your ordinary reading material so it stands out as a holiday tradition, like a book of Christmas poems or a classic novel read in daily installments. If reading together is not already part of your routine, the holiday season is a great opportunity to start.
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Write a Story
Penning a story alongside your child can be a great memento of your holiday break. Younger children can contribute to a group story, while older kids can either write their own or illustrate for the family. Bind or laminate your book to keep as a memory of the season and revisit each year (and add to your collection!).Continue to 17 of 19 below.
17 of 19
Have a Staycation
A trip to grandma’s house may already be on the schedule for Christmas break, but why not also include a vacation in your plans for an added bit of fun. Before you think you have to plan an elaborate trip to Disney World, we're here to tell you that staycations totally count, too. Spend a day exploring a neighboring town or travel one state over for a weekend of unexpected adventure.
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Check off Appointments
If you're taking time off work during the holidays, then it's also a great time to think about lightening your load in the coming months. Use your time off to take care of any necessary doctor's appointments that often end up filling your afternoons, evenings or weekends.
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Play With New Toys
One thing that is universal is that kids like it when their parents get on the ground and play with them. Spend some time exploring your kid's new toys with them, whether that means getting schooled in video games by your teen or teaching your little one to play Candy Land.