Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Fun for the Family!

By Misti Sandefur

Christmas only comes once a year, so why not turn it into a memorable event your whole family will cherish. There are a number of things you can do with your family to make this year's Christmas celebration a memorable one!

First, put up the Christmas tree. Grab the tree from storage and assemble it together as a family. Alternatively, if you prefer a real tree, load the family in the car and begin your search for the most beautiful tree you can find.

Once you have your tree set up, and you've placed the lights and rope on the tree, pull out the box of ornaments and let the kids start hanging them on the tree. As you go through the ornaments, tell a story about each one. For example, if you have a homemade ornament tell which child made it, when they made it and how old they were. You'll all enjoy the memories from the stories that each ornament may hold. While trimming your tree, pop a Christmas CD into the stereo and sing along. This will keep everyone in the Christmas spirit!

After the tree has been decorated, mix up a batch of Christmas cookies together. Then, when the cookies are done and ready to eat, enjoy them around the Christmas tree. You can even sit down around the tree and share Christmas stories with one another; this makes for great Christmas fun!

Load into the family car and take a trip to the movie store. Once there, make it known that the only movies everyone can pick out is Christmas movies. Christmas movies at home with the family will keep you in good sprits, and you'll hardly be able to wait for Christmas to arrive. Don't forget to pop-up some popcorn to enjoy during movie time! Furthermore, a delicious cup of hot coco will go well with movie time too!

Christmas fun isn't complete without Christmas crafts! So, enjoy more time with your family by decorating your home. Start your Christmas fun arts and crafts time by making paper chains and hanging them around the house, or wrapping them around the Christmas tree. A paper chain is a decoration that even the smallest children can make. To begin, gather up red and green construction paper. Next, cut the paper into strips. (Adults, you can cut the paper into strips so the children don't cut themselves.) As you're cutting the paper have the children make one strip into the shape of a circle, then using a glue stick, have them glue the two ends together to hold the circular shape. Using another strip of paper (this time use the other color) make another circle, only this time overlap the second circle with the first. Repeat the process -- alternating between colors -- until the chain is the length you want it to be. You can make as many paper chains as you like so you can decorate many areas of your home and your tree too.

You could also use an old holiday tradition by stringing popcorn to use as garland. Using a tapestry needle, string the popcorn onto thin string (dental floss, strong thread, or etc.). Not only will you and the kids enjoy stringing popcorn, but you'll also have a ball as you eat the popcorn along the way. Just be sure to pop enough popcorn to string and enough to eat.

What decoration does everyone need at Christmas time? You guessed it, a Christmas wreath. This year you can make your wreath special by making your own from a wire coat hanger. First, shape the hanger into a circle (leave the hook untouched, you will need it later for hanging the wreath). Second, gather approximately 200 sandwich bags (not the ziplock kind), and then using scissors, cut down the sides of the bags. Or, for the younger kids, if they're real careful they can tear, along the seams, down the sides of the bag. Third, tie the sandwich bags around the circle until it's full -- pushing the bags together as you go along. Once the circle is full, glue a big red bow at the top (centered). If desired, you can also glue small embellishments onto the wreath. Once finished, hang it, and you'll have a decoration that will last for years.

Finally, you'll need some ornaments for the Christmas tree. Start with lids from canning jars. Wrap red, green, or any color yarn you desire around the entire lid. Cut a small piece of yarn and tie it around the top of the lid for hanging on the tree. For the finishing touch, decorate your wreath ornaments by gluing small embellishments onto the wreath.

Christmas fun doesn't just have to take place indoors... it can also take place outdoors. An activity my family and I make an annual tradition is driving around town looking at Christmas lights. Adults and kids will love it!

During the daytime hours, gather all your outdoor directions and extra Christmas lights. Then brainstorm outdoor decorating ideas together and put your plans into action! By decorating the outside of your home, you'll provide other families with Christmas lights to enjoy, and the entire activity will be Christmas fun for your family.

The entire family can enjoy all of the Christmas fun activities above, and what makes them even better is kids of any age group can participate. So gather your entire family, tell them it's time for some Christmas fun, and have a "holly jolly" goodtime!

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