(Sponsored by The Star in Theaters November 17)
Friends, I can’t believe the holidays are upon us. Wasn’t it just summer? Kids have a way of making time fly faster than normal, right?
This Christmas season, our family wants to be intentional about spending time with each other. Our girls are 9 and 7 (I know) and the baby just turned 8 months old! We’ve been running around this year and haven’t spent enough time focusing on just the five of us. We’re hoping to recharge our crew over the next few weeks with these family-friendly activities! Hopefully this will give your family a few ideas too!
We’ve teamed up with Her View From Home bloggers (thanks ladies!) and the Sony Pictures Animation new movie THE STAR movie, to bring you 11 Christmas traditions you can start in your home this season!
We love movie nights. When my husband and I were just married, movies were about the only thing we could afford. A date night out consisted of a movie with popcorn. It was just our thing. Once our girls came along, they fell in love with our taste for the cinema too. My birthday falls in December, so each year we choose at least one family-friendly film to watch with our girls. This year, we’ll be watching THE STAR.
Guys, this movie looks so cute.
In THE STAR, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.
They have an awesome cast (Steven Yeun, Kelly Clarkson, Oprah Winfrey, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and more!) and the soundtrack is apparently amazing with songs from Mariah Carey, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Fifth Harmony and more. But guys, the really great part about this film? It’s an inspirational story of the first Christmas. Pretty cool to see Hollywood share the true meaning of Christmas. We’ll most definitely watch this one!
Acts of Kindness (Leah Peterson)
After our first daughter was born, we decided that each Christmas we would perform an act of kindness anonymously in our community. We talk to our children about Jesus loving all and carrying out that love through doing something for those in need.
Last year we decorated our home and invited people to drive by and see our lights and leave a food pantry donation. We used the power of social media to let everyone know we were collecting two separate nights. We then used the Salvation Army to identify two families in need. We purchased additional gifts for them to go with the food and delivered them to the doorsteps on Christmas Eve.
Both of us were raised to practice charity by our parents. We are grateful for those lessons and the opportunity to teach our own girls while having a lot of fun along the way. We plan to do our light display and food pantry collection again in December!
Pocket Change (Amanda Wells)
One thing we started doing years ago was letting our kids earn change for chores. They’d save throughout the year and in December, they’d pool their money and choose gifts from the Samaritan’s purse gift guide for kids in other countries in need. My husband and I match whatever they save and together we choose from Bibles, story books, stuffed lambs, chickens, goats, hot meals, and more. It’s become a wonderful tradition and our family looks forward to it every year. Even our extended family has started doing this. (And you can give a gift in honor of a loved one who’s passed away so we do that for my mom.)
Cross-Country Skiing (Leann Clarke)
We began the tradition of cross-country skiing when our first baby was three months old. While we love having a freshly cut, decorated tree in our home, bundling up, strapping on skis, and experiencing the beauty and scent of unadulterated snow-covered pines in all their wintry glory is a gift that we hope to continue unwrapping for many Christmases to come.
Photo Cards! (Jodie Utter)
We take the photos from all the Christmas cards we get each year and put them under glass on our dining room table. Not only do these photos and memories bless our own family all year long, but this is a conversation starter like you would not believe. As friends and family sit down to our table all year long, they get to reminisce about this family or that kid or that event or that vacation and it’s especially fun when we realize connections as a result of friends noticing other friends on the table. We add to the pictures under the glass every year instead of swapping them out so that we can see how families grow and evolve and so that the cumulative effect is many, many years of memories all at one table for every meal.
Progressive Dinner (Jordan Marie Pederson)
We do a progressive dinner every year. Four homes out of our family host. After evening church service on Christmas Eve, we have appetizers at one home, soup and salads at another, main course at the third home and desserts at the last home. At each home we open gifts so as to avoid loading and hauling gifts!
A Big Tip! (Tavia Smith)
When I was in middle school my parents began the tradition of not getting my three siblings and I gifts. Instead, we would each receive a $100 bill. Then, sometime around the holidays, we would take our $100, and go shopping together at the mall. After shopping we would go out to eat. My parents would use their $100 bill to leave a $100 tip for our waiter or waitress. The only rules were that we had to get out of the restaurant before they saw it. We always so badly wanted to stay around and see their reaction, but that wasn’t the point! We also always gave the tip even if our waiter or waitress wasn’t so great. My parents always said the ones who weren’t so friendly probably needed it more than us.
The Christmas Story (Lindsay Stauffer)
Every year since I was a little girl, my grandpa would sit on the floor in front of the Christmas tree surrounded by all of his grandchildren and read a Christmas story. Year after year, his audience grew as we added spouses and eventually great-grandchildren. Even though most of the grandchildren are now in their 30s and (almost) 40s, we still look forward to plopping ourselves on the floor, snuggling our children on our laps and losing ourselves in a magical Christmas story.
Holiday Baking! (Desiree Fortin)
Like a lot of families, one of my favorite traditions is Christmas baking. It is something we have been doing for as long as I can remember. We bake over 25 different batches of cookies and make platters to deliver to our families and friends. We eat cookies all day long. There are so many memories made, flour and sugar all over the floor, and the smell of freshly baked yummies everywhere. Now I am a mom to 2-year-old triplets and we are starting the same traditions with them too.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? We would love to hear!