The Christmas period can be so hectic that it’s easy to get to January and realise you’ve been rushing around so much that you didn’t spend any quality time together as a family. It’s true that there’s a lot to do over Christmas and New Year, to the point where you might be focused solely on getting through the ordeal. However, the season is also a golden opportunity to spend some time as a family and do some things together that you wouldn’t normally do.
Set aside some time over Christmas and give these ideas a go.
Make Things Together
While it’s not every parent’s idea of a fun time, kids love to use their creativity – whether they’re any good at it or not. Fortunately, when you make homemade cards and decorations, no one’s expecting your child to be the next Rembrandt. If it’s a relative who has over-zealous expectations, perhaps buy them one from the shop instead, but many people will be charmed to receive homemade cards.
Don’t just set the kids off on their creative adventure and leave them to it. Get involved and get messy together with their favourite arts and crafts toys. You’ll make more memories by doing that than spending another evening trying to perfectly wrap that present that simply can’t be perfectly wrapped.
You might want every last detail of Christmas to be perfect for your kids, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, as much as they love their presents and as nice as the Christmas dinner might be, you won’t make memories by not doing things together during the festivities.
Spend Evenings Together
While the run up to Christmas can get a little crazy, the period between Christmas and New Year signals a little lull in many families. This is the time to grab the kids and encourage them to spend some time with you during the long winter evening.
The way you go about this obviously depends on you and your kids. However, if you’re struggling for ideas, you can always fall back on the idea of a film night with popcorn and hot chocolate. There are also some more activities that can really bring you closer as a family.
Spend an evening talking about the new year ahead and what you all want to achieve is a great way to get ready for 2019. Again, don’t just leave it to the kids to make their wishes. Be honest with them in terms they’ll understand about what you want from the next year, whether it’s something as big as changing your job or something as small as planting new seeds in the garden. Sharing these kinds of dreams will help to bring you closer as a family – plus you then have something to aim for.
Take a Journey into the Past
Christmas and the end of the year is a natural time to think about the past, especially Christmases you’ve spent with other loved ones. Bringing these thoughts out into the open and talking through them with your kids is a great way of bonding and introducing them to things about your family and heritage that they may not know.
An effective way of doing this is to create a scrapbook or photograph album together. If you’re worried about original family photographs getting damaged, it’s easy enough to get copies. Then sit down together and tell them a bit about the people in the photographs as you help them create their own little family album. No doubt you’ll remember things you’d forgotten as you go through it all, making this activity as much of an adventure for you as it is for them.
Stay on their Level
One problem that many families have is the perceived gap between adults and kids, with adults preferring (we use that term lightly) to do grown-up things like washing up and vacuuming while kids play on games consoles or with toys in their rooms.
Why not use Christmas to bridge that gap and bob down to their level for a little while? For lots of families, this is only one of a few opportunities per year to spend time together. If you try spending it together while reinforcing the rules of separatism within the house, you won’t be doing any of you any good. You certainly won’t be bringing the family together.
So, instead of carrying on with business as usual, put the vacuum away for a little while and go sit with them on their bedroom floor to play their games. As we’ve already mentioned, kids are very creative, and you’ll often find yourself in a race between their favourite diecast cars
and Noddy toys
. Even though this may never happen, you've just got to get to the line as quick as possible!
If they enjoy games, try pitching in. It doesn’t matter if you’re rubbish – in fact, the kids will probably prefer it if you are. The key thing is to go down to their level and stay there while you make some family memories. Those are the reasons you’ll all remember this Christmas.
A Bonus Tip
Everything we’ve mentioned above involves staying in the warmth of home. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for getting outside during the festive period, and if these are of interest to you and your kids, go for it. Just remember that bringing the family together and making memories is the aim. So, while it might be nice to visit a play area and let them run riot, do something together while you’re out as well.
It could be as simple as visiting a park for a snowball fight or going for a drive to have a picnic in the car. While these things are rarely as idyllic in real life as they are in films, you’ll make memories to treasure and grow closer as a result.
What traditions do you have as a family over Christmas? We'd love to hear them in the comments box below...