Monday, December 2, 2019

List: Twelve holiday season activities to enjoy as a family this year.

While the first day of Winter isn't until December 21st, it's officially the start of the holiday season.  Where I'm from, the holidays are the unofficial fifth season of the year.  There's something magical about this brief, unofficial season.  ...and because I love being extra, I have to celebrate every moment of it...  I'm looking forward to a festive month ahead and hope that you are too!

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Twelve holiday season activities to do this year.

1.  Go for a real life Polar Express adventure.
I haven't done this with the kiddies yet, but I hope to once they get a little older.  First hand accounts tell me that it's a fabulous experience.  You hop on the train in your pajamas and get a golden ticket for the ride.  Actors reenact different scenes from the childhood classic while you sip on hot chocolate.  The highlight of the trip is going to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus himself.

Idea:  If you want to be a little extra because who doesn't, surprise your baby with this authentic polar express sleigh bell with a certificate of authenticity.  Imagine your kid's face after finding this nestled beneath the tree a few week's after going on this magnificent experience!

2.  Visit your local holiday light show.
We have quite a few near me, but my favorite is the Jones Beach light show.  The display is absolutely beautiful and takes a solid 45 minutes to drive through.  It's a fun, easy way to get into the holiday spirit.

Idea: Take a drive through your neighborhood for a free and personalized light show.

3.  Venture out to a local craft fair.
This is a great way to get out of the house and support your local community.  Many vendors are your neighbors and will appreciate the support.  You may score a great find for your yourself or someone on your gift list!

4.  Attend a local tree lighting ceremony.
The tree lighting ceremonies around here are usually loads of fun!  The ceremony starts with a parade, hot chocolate vendors, and a local artist's performance.  The grand finale is the lighting of the Christmas tree as the community cheers.  Who needs Rockefeller Center when the local event has accessible bathrooms and parking?!

5.  Host or attend a gingerbread house party.
My babies and their friends love to have their annual gingerbread house extravaganza!  It's a great way to be creative, reconnect with friends, and come home with an edible holiday decor.'s also an excuse for the mommies and daddies to indulge in a nice bottle of moscato...

Idea:  Be a little extra with a themed set.  My kiddies especially love the themed sets such as this Frozen themed one or Mickey Mouse's house.

6.  Volunteer to make someone else's holiday enjoyable.
You can go caroling at a church, nursing home, or hospital to put a smile on someone's face.  You can adopt a family and prepare appropriate presents for each member.  You can make homemade Christmas cards for your local charity.  You can start or participate in a mitten tree to ensure that all local families are warm this Winter.  You can volunteer to read a holiday story to children that can't read themselves.  You can volunteer at a local charity to prepare a holiday celebration for those in need.  There are many ways to get involved for holiday memories that feel good.

7.  Designate a day to devote to Christmas baking.
Every year we pick a day to dedicate to Christmas baking as a family.  We have lots of fun making homemade ricotta cookies (click link for best recipe, ever!) and red velvet cheesecake brownies.
Idea: Make extra goodies and purchase inexpensive holiday cookie boxes like these to give away to some special people!

8.  Have an ugly sweater, Hallmark movie marathon, egg nog, holiday party.
Combine all of your favorite holiday things for one inexpensive and fabulous party!  Except I'll swap the egg nog for a hot mint chocolate beverage, please.

9.  Have breakfast with Santa Claus.
Every year we go to church for breakfast with Santa Claus.  We get to eat a yummy breakfast, meet Santa, take a picture, and sing along with Mrs. Claus.  The best part is that the proceeds of all this fun is to benefit a really good cause.

10.  Go window shopping to see the beautiful displays.
While I prefer the suburbs of Long Island to the city, the holidays in the city is a sight to see.  It's worth the trip just to see window displays and light shows on the buildings.  The Macy's on 34th street is famous for a reason and deserves all the credit it gets!

11.  Attend a holiday show.
Whether it's a local school performing The Nutcracker or Radio City to see the Rockettes, just go!  Many libraries, churches, and community buildings have some sort of show to go see for free.  They are fun to watch and the performers will appreciate the support.

12.  Have lots of fun with The Elf on the Shelf!
My daughter talks about Elfie all year long and really looks forward to his return!  I wonder how many are named Elfie by unoriginal parents everywhere...  She still remembers the year that Elfie fell causing a pile of pots to crash on the tile floor.  It was the morning after Thanksgiving so that pot avalanche was definitely an unforgettable return!

Why do you love the holidays?


  1. Elfie sure must have been having fun to knock all those pots over haha It would probably be torture if I volunteered to go caroling. Ugg to those Hallmark movies. The same friggin thing over and over and over again. Sure lots to do indeed. The Polar Express one sounds interesting.

    1. Lol - can you please go caroling and take a video?? It would make for some fabulous blogging material! I love the cheesiness of the Hallmark movies, even if I know exactly how they will end. :)

    2. lol one thing you'd have to pay me a ton to do.

  2. What? In pyjamas? As if suffering other people on the train isn't enough I have to suffer them in their pyjamas???
    I don't have an ugly sweater, everything I own is perdy, but I do have a brand new festive sweatshirt in red colour with little snowflakes and other holiday symbols on it.

    1. Lol, well I won’t be able to tell you how it is just yet bc my son has to be at least two years old to ride. Womp womp... would you wear pajamas on a train if it meant hot coa coa? I would let you into my ugly sweater party with your festive gear. Just saying :)

    2. I don't drink dairy so no coa coa for me, sadly. I'd probably wear a fancy sweatsuit on that train and a hooded cape made of a blanket.

  3. I bet many Elfs have some awful names, one of the ones in the local family was horrid. I'd prefer Elfie

  4. We did the Polar Express twice with our kids. Tickets go fast! It is an amazing experience and best around ages 5-9 I would say. When we pulled up to the North Pole....omg! Ours was on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park scenic railroad.

    I love to make cookies and go see lights, but it's not easy to find neighborhoods that do much in the way of displays here. Of course, candlelight Xmas eve service is a highlight.

    1. That sounds absolutely lovely!! I’m going to try to get tickets next year. We have a few homes that decorate with lights that coordinate with music on an AM radio station. That’s pretty fun to watch with the kiddies.

  5. I miss doing all of those fun things with my girls, but they just aren't interested in getting in their jammies and riding the Polar Express these days (teens!). Now, I will patiently await grandkids. We do love to buy a hot mug of cocoa then go driving around looking at holiday lights. We'll have a family Christmas breakfast with the extended family closer to Christmas that I am looking forward to.

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