Photo credit: Leah Gemmati
With the holiday season being the hectic time of the year that it is, finding a few moments to relax and enjoy your family can be tough. You may feel guilty setting aside specific times in your booked schedule to watch a movie with your child or do one of those cliché, yet beloved, holiday crafts. You may feel as though “setting aside” time shouldn’t be how it is when it comes to family. You may think it isn’t fair to your little one to “schedule” them in.
Though it may not always seem fair, sometimes you do have to schedule in time in order to create memories with your children amidst the holiday chaos.
Leah Gemmati, a mother of two from Western New York, took the Advent calendar to a whole new, creative level for her family. “Each day I would plan something for us to get excited about or to do together and it's just grown as we've gotten older and started having kids,” explains Leah.
Craft Ideas That Keep the Holidays Magical
Photo credit: Leah Gemmati
“I start by laying out the whole month. Add in the dates I know we have things going on that can be added to the countdown. Then fill in the blanks with other stuff,” Leah states. “Then I also look at our traditions and fill in days where we will continue a tradition. Such as making an ornament for the tree, doing handprints around our tree skirt, make our own wrapping paper.”
For those who may need a creative push to start their own calendar, below are some of the craft ideas Leah has interwoven into her activity schedule.
- Decorate the House: Spend the evening playing holiday music and decorating together as a family. If anything, this activity will give the parents a few extra hands when it comes to searching for those boxes hidden in the back of the closet. While it sometimes seems a bit stressful for adults to clean and decorate, kids often see it as simple, innocent fun.
- Candy Cane Hunt: “We hide a bunch of mini candy canes around the house then try to find them,” Leah explains. This could even be done numerous times over the month and the candy canes could be exchanged for other holiday treats.
- Christmas Tree Campout: Grab those sleeping bags, find all the pillows in the house, and bring those holiday books to the tree. Spending the night under the Christmas tree lights is a fun family activity and a relaxing way to get your little one to fall asleep.
- Act of Kindness: There are many different ways to help out other families during the holidays. Include your children on a heart-warming adventure - whether it is “adopting a local family” for the holidays or donating clothes to a shelter, doing something for others is always a great.
- The Cliché Crafts (That Never Get Old): Some popular favorite crafts include making ornaments, baking cookies, making wrapping paper, creating a countdown chain of linked paper, making salt-dough decorations, building a snowman family, and personalizing the Christmas tree skirt.
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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