Friday, December 9, 2011

Family Fun Night

So Much To Do, So Little Time

With all the activities that go on at this time of year I hardly feel the need to write about family fun nights. So I thought I would take a different approach on this topic. Let's not over schedule ourselves, or our little ones, but make a long term plan instead.

The first thing is to ask yourself some defining questions like these:

  1. What did I most enjoy doing during the holidays while growing up? 
  2. What's appropriate for my children's ages?
  3. What's going on in my community?
  4. What do I realistically have time for?
  5. What is the underlying message I want my kids to hear concerning the holidays?
What gives the holidays meaning is different for every family, so don't feel bad about the things you can't do. One of my most memorable traditions growing up was helping my mom bake and deliver Christmas cookies for all our neighbors. Part of this fun was seeing how the neighbors had decorated their houses, and receiving goodies they had prepared for us in return.

The other favorites were Christmas stories, movies & TV shows, and just enjoying the holiday atmosphere at home. Asking "Where do you think mom hid the presents this time?" while snooping around and shaking boxes when mom & dad weren't looking. Every year mom & dad would also take us for a drive one Sunday night, to look at the most spectacular light decorations. They seemed to always know where these would be.

Simple pleasures & spending quality time together often mean more than rushing to lots of exciting events. However, as our children grow up they may become more interested in events happening at school and in the community. Sometimes they'll hear about something exciting a friend's family did, or they may be involved in school performances. By the time they become a teen they'll be getting invited to parties. So it's a good idea to decide ahead of time the kind of traditions & culture you want your kid's to learn as you celebrate the holidays.

Sitting on Santa's lap is often scary for babies and little children, and then it becomes a disappointment for the parents. Shopping with little children during the holidays can be a real challenge, as well as taking them to any large event, and often results in a lot of crying or even tantrums. Babies and small children can feel very insecure in large crowds and may not enjoy holiday events of this nature at all. While your kids are little, small home based activities are best.

There will be plenty of time in upper elementary school, middle school, and high school for activities like caroling, hay rides, attending a Christmas pageant, seeing the Nutcracker on stage, and whatever else might be going on around town. Regardless of what activities you decide to participate in, remember it's the relationships that make life & the holidays most meaningful. Also remember to schedule in down time, the time that your family can enjoy the peace of being at home together.

Have a happy holiday memory? Share it by leaving a comment. 


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  2. My kids enjoy making cookies the best. When they were little, I measured everything and split it into three bowls, I have three kids. Then they would do all of the stirring.


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