This post is sponsored by Upparent but the opinions are my own.
My favorite thing about the holidays is having the chance to spend time with loved ones and create family traditions together. But this time of year can also get busy and go by fast, so to make sure we really enjoy the holidays and have lots of family fun, I like to make a list of ideas of activities that I’d like to do before the new year. And this year I incorporated the list into our advent calendar. If you don’t do advent calendars you can just call it a countdown to Christmas or Hanukkah or winter solstice or whatever your family celebrates. Here are some of my favorite ideas for family fun this holiday season, which you can tailor depending on which holidays you celebrate, where you live, and your favorite family traditions. For inspiration on local holiday events happening near you, check out Upparent, a great new resource for parents that shares conversations about family-friendly products, destinations, and events — all in one place. And don’t miss their fun giveaway at the bottom of the post.
1. Go see a local production of The Nutcracker.
2. Make an ornament to hang on your Christmas tree, and then decorate the tree as a family.
3. Have a family gelt hunt and share the story of Hanukkah.
4. Make hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows or go out for hot cocoa at your favorite local coffee shop.
5. Take the kiddos to sit on Santa’s lap (we always went to see the same Santa at the Grove when we lived in Los Angeles, so we’re still looking for our new local Santa tradition here in Columbus and hoping Upparent can hook us up with a good option.)
6. Watch a favorite holiday movie or show your kids one of the holiday cartoons you grew up with like Frosty the Snowman or A Charlie Brown Christmas.
7. Start an ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tradition.
8. Make holiday cookies together – even the littlest hands can help. Bonus points for delivering them to a neighbor or someone who could use a little holiday cheer.
9. Download a favorite holiday song and have a family sing-a-long or dance party. Our family’s favorite is Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.
10. Go to the movies (The Grinch is a great kid-friendly holiday movie this year!)
11. Make gifts or handmade cards for teachers, your mail carrier, neighbors, dog walkers, or anyone you want to say an extra “thank you” to.
12. Walk or drive around to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
13. Have each of your children choose one of his or her toys to donate to a less fortunate child or go shopping to buy a toy to donate to Toys for Tots.
14. Sit around the fireplace and share your favorite family memories from the year or favorite holiday memories from past years.
15. Make a popcorn garland together.
16. Read your favorite holiday story (like The Night Before Christmas) as a family.
17. Go ice skating, or if you’re lucky enough to get snow, make a snowman, go sledding, or have a snowball fight (or all of the above!)
18. Go to a nearby amusement park or zoo to see the holiday decorations. In Los Angeles, we went to Disneyland at Christmastime each year. Our new tradition here in Columbus is to go see Zoo Lights at the Columbus Zoo. They put on such a great light show and have other fun holiday events and activities. We even got to meet Rudolph, we drank hot cocoa, and it is definitely our new favorite family-friendly holiday tradition in Columbus.
19. Get matching holiday pajamas each year and wear them on Christmas Eve.
20. Give back as a family: participate in a toy or coat drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or ring the Salvation Army bell.
21. Write a letter to Santa with your child.
22. Host a Christmukkah party for family and friends: candy canes and cocoa, latkes, and other mixed traditions can be incorporated.
23. Go to a nearby Tree Farm and choose a beautiful real Christmas tree together and chop it down.
24. Get a family photo together during the holiday season: by the Christmas tree, wearing ugly sweaters, playing in the snow.
25. Make a gingerbread house with your family.
If you are looking for more family-friendly ideas, activities and local events near you, Upparent is a great source for inspiration. Since we are newer to Columbus this is how I have found lots of the fun local things we have done as a family. If you aren’t yet familiar with it, Upparent is the new online destination for parents seeking inspiration from other parents about family-friendly recommendations. It is like having a conversation with your mom friends about things to do, places to go, and products to try, but it is online all in one place so it is easy to browse and find new inspiration. You can recommend your own favorites as well!
And Upparent wants to give your family $500 to make your holiday season brighter and help you have even more fun. Enter below to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card!
What are your favorite holiday family fun ideas? What will you be doing with your family this holiday season?
This post is sponsored by Upparent.