Each year we sit down as a family to plan fun activities that we can do together during the Christmas season. There are some traditions that we want to do each year–like decorating a tree. Other items on our list may come from our Boston Bucket List, our children’s current interests, or our family’s priorities (getting out into nature, being unplugged, etc.).
I generally display the list on our refrigerator (mostly because the Type A part of me likes to check things off….) so that we can plan our weekends. It’s fun to make memories together while we are intentional about the time we spend together.
Our Family’s 2018 Christmas Fun List
1. Choose and Decorate a Tree
We have found a lovely farm near us in Boston where we go to choose our Christmas tree. Then we make a day of it by coming home and decorating with Christmas music playing in the background. Afterward, we sit and drink hot chocolate by the glow of the lights. A simple but memorable day!
2. Participate in the Church Christmas Play
This year all of our children are involved in the church Christmas play. Andrew will be Joseph, Elizabeth will play one of the wisemen, and George is a shepherd. The play is performed after the Vesperal Liturgy on Christmas Eve, so my in-laws will be here to watch. The kids are really looking forward to it!
3. Bake Cookies and Go Caroling
Last year we started a new tradition: we made a big batch of cookies, decorated them, and delivered them to neighbors. We even sang a few Christmas carols when they opened the door. This was one of our kids’ favorite memories from last year, so we will definitely be repeating it!
4. Go to the Nutcracker
Ella has been very interested in dance recently, so we decided to have a girls’ night out. Along with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, we will go watch the Boston Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker. I don’t think my daughter could be any more excited!
5. Watch several Christmas Movies
Favorites include: The Polar Express, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Elf. This year we will add Home Alone into the mix. When we really want to go all out and make an evening of it, we will make a batch of popcorn and some hot chocolate.
6. Decorate a Gingerbread House
Our church hosts an annual Gingerbread House decorating party complete with food, games, an ugly sweater contest, and plenty of fun to go around. The kids have fun using an excessive amount of candy on the house!
7. Attend Divine Liturgy
Each year we go to church on Christmas morning as a family to celebrate Christ’s birth and marvel at the Incarnation. The Liturgy is fairly early in the morning (8:30), so we have brunch and presents when we return.
8. Go Light-Watching in Downtown Boston
This year we would like to go downtown in the early evening–it gets dark here around 4:00 this time of year!–to see all of the lovely light displays. The Public Gardens, Boston Common, and other historic landmarks are decorated beautifully each year, and we want to take advantage as long as we are living here.
9. Read Christmas Books
One super simple way that we get prepared for Christmas is by reading books that we save just for this time of year. My recent post on 8 Children’s Books for the Nativity Fast shares a few of our favorites.
10. Host a Dessert Party
Finally, we are one of the few families who will be staying on campus (at Holy Cross Seminary), so we would like to invite the other families over to our house for a casual dessert party. I am thinking that the day after Christmas might be a nice time to have pie, cookies, and tea. The kids can play while the adults enjoy games and conversation.
What do you do as a family to celebrate Christmas?