For kids who celebrate Christmas, the entire month of December is awash with anticipation and excitement. For adults, there seems to be a million things to do, making it easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the season. Slow down and take time to sit with your kids as the days lead up to Christmas by doing a Christmas-related activity or project.
Count Down to Christmas Day
Advent calendars are a terrific way to keep the Christmas excitement building while having fun. You can purchase a premade calendar at most arts-and-crafts stores, or make it a family craft project and create one of your own. Ideas for advent calendars can be found on many websites, such as Familyfun.go.com. Kids can celebrate each day by looking under the date and finding a special treat. For a more elaborate activity, tuck a note inside each pocket with a fun thing to do that day–perhaps a day where you make cookies or the kids write their letters to Santa Claus. The options are limitless; all it takes is your imagination, and you can start this wonderful tradition with your kids to do annually each year.
Creative Christmas Tree Decorations
It’s easy to hit the malls after Christmas to load up on clearance-priced decor for your tree next year, but it’s much more fun and creative to make your own tree ornaments and garland. For an easy-to-make garland with your preschool age child, buy a few boxes of Fruit Loops and let your child string them onto a vibrant-colored yarn using a dull tapestry needle. This is great fine motor practice for toddlers and preschoolers. For an older child, let her poke holes in fresh cranberries to string on some colorful embroidery thread. The cranberries can be interspersed with beads of her choosing. Christmas ornaments can be made out of anything: A pine cone decorated with glitter or gemstones glued onto each tip is simple and fun, or make a batch of ornaments from flour dough that the kids can paint and decorate. Great recipes can be found online at websites such as Creativekidsathome.com.
One-of-a-Kind Christmas Cards
Instead of sending out store-bought Christmas cards, surprise your friends and family with an original card designed and made by your child. Even if you have 100 people on your list, your child can still do this activity, and you don’t even have to get started in July. Kids of all ages can participate in this craft; all you have to do is decide on how elaborate you want the project to be. Smaller kids do well with prefolded note cards and stickers, stamps, markers and crayons. Older kids can cut out gingerbread or snowflake shapes and decorate with glitter, buttons, faux gemstones and paint. Your child can even glue a family photo on to the card stock and decorate a border around it. So that you don’t make yourself crazy and your child unhappy, it’s best to do this activity over a period of time. Start early in the month and tackle five or 10 cards a day to keep it easy and enjoyable.