Wednesday, December 14, 2011
1. Find a family that is struggling, ask around if you don't know of anyone personally. Drive to their home, and place a holiday card in their mailbox with a gift card tucked inside, anonymously, wishing them a wonderful season.
2. Let your children pick out some of their favorite toys or games from the store; drive all together to donate them to a women's shelter.
3. Include your children in a trip to the grocery store for the sole purpose of donating to the food collection barrels there. Buy only items for the food barrel, and let your children choose the non perishables they think children in other families would enjoy.
4. Rather than gifts, purchase an experience for your family: like tickets to a local production of A Christmas Carol.
5. Take a trip to a bookstore with everyone, choose a holiday chapter book there. Read a chapter a night, together, as a family. Write the date on the inside cover, and have everyone sign their names and write a short message. You've just created a keepsake.
6. Sit and share stories with your family about some of your favorite past holidays. Tell them why you remember the ones that you do, and what made it so special. Ask them about theirs.
7. Go for a night drive, or a night walk; soak in how pretty all the holiday lights look. Enjoy being together.
8. Check out a colorful holiday recipes book from your library, one with lots of pictures. Spend time poring over the pages, and choose a recipe that you can make as a new family favorite for your big dinner.
9. Rather than dinner one night, make several holiday appetizers: serve them all on round platters, along with small appetizer plates. I found some plates at WalMart for a dollar each.
10. Have a dinner by candle light during their winter break. Not just one candle holder, but many, many votives scattered all about the kitchen or dining room. Talk about the happiness you feel in having everyone home with you.
11.Come home from the craft store with an armful of those fun paint it yourself ornaments. I have found them for less than a dollar each. Spread out an old shower curtain and paint away.
12. Rent a holiday movie and have a movie night. Declare this THE must watch every holiday season for your family. For us, it's Elf.
13. Really: this one. Make a gingerbread house. You can buy the kits for $9.99 now. With everything you need. Have little cups around of cut up red licorice, skittles, raisins, gum drops, pretzel sticks, to decorate. SO MUCH FUN.
14. Don't kill yourself over the holiday cookie bake. You can buy already made rolls that you just slice and they're just as delicious as the hand rolled out ones. Always fun to decorate and frost.
15. Remind your children that the joy of the season is in thinking of our fellow man. Present options to them in how they'd like to give to help those with less. This year, my children chose to donate two hours of their time gift wrapping angel tree gifts for a women's shelter. My youngest went caroling at a nursing home.
Let your family, and yourself, feel the joy in giving. When you hear them say, "that was fun, mom, and it felt good," you will then have the magic of the holiday season restored in your heart.
Glitter and all.
*Happy Holidays to all of you, the best people on the planet. I love you.