Family Traditions are created, passed down from parents, blending new and old traditions together and most importantly celebrated with the most important people in your lives.
Here are 10 things to do on Christmas Eve.
1. Drink Hot Chocolate- Make it special, after making a batch let the kids create their own topping. You can have whipped cream or Cool Whip (I prefer it frozen still, takes less time to melt in the cup) then provide some red or green sugar sprinkles or rainbow sprinkles to add a shake or two on top to make it festive. Tell stories as you sit around the table about favorite Christmas presents you received in years past.
2. Play cards or a board game by the fire. This is something I remember fondly from my childhood. It was a simple act, but anytime I see the card game UNO, I think of my family sitting by the fire playing the card game by the fire. You can choose any game you like, good classic family games are Monopoly, Boggle, Payday, Life, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland. Cards are fun for all, teach them how to play Blackjack, Poker, Spades, Hearts, Gin Rummy, even solitaire. Take the time to teach them, they will remember. New games that are enjoyable for the family are Zingo! (a young child’s Bingo), Apples to Apples, Operation, Trivial Pursuit, Uno, Clue and even the new Scene It games on DVD.
3. Take a Christmas Lights tour around your city. Go online or check your local newspaper for Christmas Light Displays and map out a route, tell the kids to get dressed in their pajamas and your taking a Christmas Light Tour! Bring some snacks and maybe some hot chocolate in the coffee type sippy cups. Have everyone choose their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Bring a camera.
4. Go Caroling. Yes this will seem crazy these days, but the look on people’s faces when they realize your caroling in this day and age is rather delightful. Print out 3 songs that you think your kids know well and then rehearse them. Bundle them up and take them around the neighborhood for just an hour, it will be a memorable experience.
5. Make Paper Snowflakes. You can fold a white paper up and then cut out portions of it, open it up and you have snowflakes and no two are alike!. After your done cutting, use glue sticks to add silver glitter to them. Take some white string or thread and link them together to hang on your tree or fireplace. Have each child write their name and year on them. You can keep them each year and see how much better each child gets at mastering the craft of snowflake maker.
6. Make Christmas Crafts. Go online and search under Christmas Crafts. There are hundreds of ideas for decorations, ornaments, homemade gifts, centerpieces etc. Spend the evening making a special one for your family each year. One year we used Styrofoam balls to create a snowman family out the Styrofoam, toothpicks and we cut out material to use as scarves and hats and put the names of each person on the block foundation. Paint it, color it with markers, put it in a plastic keepsake enclosure to treasure for Christmas’ to come.
7. Bake Christmas Cookies- Choose a rewarding cookie recipe or candy recipe that can involve everyone. Pick a new cookie recipe each year or stick with a beloved family favorite. It is very likely that when your child grows up, making this cookie on Christmas Eve will be something that is passed on to your grandchildren.
8. Teach your children a new skill. One that is hard to master and may take all night. Such as Backgammon, Chess, sewing, calligraphy, one that will be remembered and that may normally never be taught anymore.
9. Visit an orphanage, a senior citizen’s home, a homeless soup kitchen or shelter. Call and see if you can volunteer to sing Christmas songs, bring presents, perform a talent show. Brighten the lives of those who are less fortunate than you.
10. Create a Christmas Play. Help your children create a play or a skit about Christmas. Work first on writing a script, casting your characters, creating silly costumes, setting up a video camera to preserve the “film” but actually preserving precious memories. Rehearse and then direct your kids in a Christmas Play. Perform the play for grandparents or Mom or Dad on Opening Night without your direction. Have them perform at a local Senior Community.
One of my favorite sights to see in life is the reflection of Christmas Lights on a Christmas tree in a child’s eyes. Something about all the wonder and magic that I see in that reflection gives me a glorious happy comforting feeling that I can remember and enjoy years after I no longer am that child. I try to hold on to the spirit and excitement in their eyes, when I see the colorful lights glimmer and shine I know that many years from now, my grandchildren will experience that warmth and my children will hold those special memories that I helped create in the reflection of Christmas lights in their children’s eyes.