Eighty percent of those who celebrated Christmas in 2012 opened their presents on Christmas Day whereas, 19 percent opened their gifts on Christmas Eve. The time you open presents is probably mainly due to family tradition. Family traditions are one of the greatest things about Christmas. Make your child’s Christmas even more memorable by integrating some of the traditions and activities below.
Have a Cookie Exchange Party
Cookie exchange parties are a great way to start the holiday season. Have everyone bring his or her favorite cookies to share at a pre-holiday cookie party. Let your children help you make your favorite cookies. Take this idea one step further and have a cookie baking party. At the end of the day, each baker gets a basket full of cookies. If you have several children at your gathering, bake sugar cookies in advance and let them decorate the cookies to take home.
White Elephant Exchange
Have all the children sit in a circle on the floor. Each child holds a gift. One family member sits in the middle of the circle and reads a Christmas story like “The Night Before Christmas.” Each time the storyteller reads the word ‘the,’ pass the gifts to the right and each time the storyteller reads the word ‘and,’ pass the presents to the left. Once the reading of the book is complete, everyone opens the gift he or she is holding.
Elf on a Shelf
Elf on the Shelf image by mbaylor via Flickr.
Purchase a stuffed elf to place on a shelf (you can purchase an elf made for this purpose). Elf on the Shelf elves generally have a book with them that explains who the elf is. The elf is meant to remind your children that Santa is always watching them. Your children will love looking for Santa’s little helper to see where he ends up every day. Once Santa visits, your elf goes back to the North Pole with him, only to return on Dec. 1 the next year.
Make your cards extra special this year by creating unique Christmas cards. Use a recent photo of your family or take a funny Christmas picture to use. Examples include having the entire family visibly argue with Santa for getting coal in their stockings (scolding him, folding arms or looking at him with distaste) or have everyone dress up like an enormous Christmas gift. Kids will love incorporating their ideas into this project.
Take the time to make ornaments together.
•Use crushed hard candy as the ornaments on a Christmas tree cookie. Place the crushed candy on the cookies before you bake them. Place the candy in an opening on the cookie to give it a stained glass window effect, says SimplyRecipes.com.
•Once you bake your gingerbread men, decorate them using glitter glue and markers.
•You can also make ornament dough, just remember to make a decent sized hole in your cookies before you bake them. The baking process will cause the hole to shrink, so the hole should be about the size of a paper punch.
•After you complete decorating your ornaments, use a permanent marker to write who made the ornament and what year he or she made it on the back.
•Use spray polyurethane to preserve your cookie ornaments.
•Make sure you put these ornaments high on your tree. They look so real, little ones may try to eat them!