For many, December is a month of celebrations. Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just enjoys celebrating winter with festive traditions, there are lots of ways to include children in the celebrations. Below are some ideas for making holiday memories that are kid-friendly and bring the whole family together.
Decorations are a wonderful way to include children in the holiday celebrations. Choose decorations that are unbreakable and allow children to help set them out. Things like natural decor, stockings, and non-breakable Christmas tree ornaments are all great decorations for children to help with.
You could even take a shopping trip to select a special new decoration together. Children will feel a sense of ownership over a decoration they picked out themselves and will remember the special time they spent with their loved ones when choosing that decoration. This doesn’t have to be a financial investment: many thrift stores are overflowing with second-hand Christmas decorations.
Hand-made decorations are another fun way to include kids this holiday season! This list has 52 ideas of DIY decoration crafts kids can do. Many of them require inexpensive supplies and produce decorations you’ll actually want to hang up in the house. Things like hand-made ornaments will be loved for years.
The winter holidays are synonymous with food. And cooking together with kids is a great way to create some wonderful memories. Whether you’re baking Christmas cookies or latkes for Hanukkah, the food you make together will always be special.
Get kids in the kitchen by giving them the tools they need to help. Pull up a chair or a counter-height stool and make sure they are included in the process. Young children can stir, add ingredients, taste-test, crack eggs, and decorate baked goods. They can even practice chopping with kid-safe knives.
Set an intention to be patient when working with kids in the kitchen. Plan for a time when you are not rushed and can work at the child’s pace. Don’t try to do too much. Choose simple recipes that are easy to make and let the kids help as much as possible.
So much to watch, read, and see
Snuggling up for a holiday movie or reading holiday books at bedtime is an easy way to include kids in the festivities. Make movie night special by enjoying holiday treats like cookies, hot cocoa, or apple cider.
You can also stock up on holiday books to read by taking a special trip to the library, then go home and enjoy the books. Your public library should have festive books to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. If you need inspiration, check out these holiday booklists from Book Riot, Brightly, and We Are Teachers.
Another fun thing to do in December is to take a drive and enjoy the holiday lights in your neighborhood. This can be especially fun if you pack hot chocolate and wear festive pajamas as a family! There are also light displays in the Phoenix area your family can enjoy.
Many children are excited about receiving gifts during the holidays, so it’s also a great time to teach them about giving gifts to others. Choose a few family members (depending on the size of your immediate family) for the child to give gifts. Then, help them determine what that person might want or need by talking about the recipient’s hobbies and interests. This will help them select a personalized gift
Older kids can also consider their budget. Help them determine how much they can spend on each person and take them shopping, pointing out what items cost and if they can afford them.
Homemade gifts are also wonderful, especially for older family members. Help the child determine if their homemade item is right for the recipient. For example, the child could make an ornament for their grandparents while baking their sibling’s favorite treat.
Another important element of the holiday season is remembering to give back to others. Children can learn this lesson early on through acts of service. While there are many ways to help others, there are a few things unique to the holidays that can have a big impact.
Try participating in a toy drive. There are many wonderful organizations in Phoenix collecting toys this December. If you can find one that allows your child to buy a gift requested by a specific child, such as Arizona’s Family Christmas Angel program, it can be even more meaningful. Make a trip to the store to purchase the requested toy and talk about how special it will be for the recipient to open their gift.
Similarly, donating food to your local food pantry is a great way to teach your child to help others. Find out what items the pantry needs and take your child grocery shopping for the food. Talk about why families might need this food.
If your child will enjoy gifts and festive foods this holiday season, giving back to others can help them realize that not everyone will be able to celebrate in the same way. Talk to your child about how special these traditions are to them, and show them that by donating toys or food, you’re helping other families enjoy their holiday as well.