Monday, December 7, 2020

List: Ten holiday season activities to do this year as a family.

 There may be a pandemic happening which limits some of our favorite holiday season activities, but that doesn't mean that we have to ignore it.  It just means that we have to get creative!

The holiday season is about being with our loved ones and sharing the magic of this special time.  That can still be done, even if it means doing it with a mask on or limiting attendance to just your immediate family.  Life is too short to let anything go by unacknowledged or uncelebrated, so let's brainstorm ways to make the best of this year's holiday season while still remaining safe.  And, who knows?  Maybe we'll start new traditions that will last a lifetime!

things to do this holiday season that are safe

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Ten holiday season activities to do this year.

1.  Attend a fire house Christmas parade.
One thing that the kids look forward to every year is seeing Santa Claus drive by while waving from the top of a fire truck!  While he may not be able to get out and hug every child this year, it's safe to wave, take a selfie with Santa in the background, and yell out wishes for a very merry Christmas.  Contact your local fire house for a copy of their route and approximate time of arrival so you don't miss it.

Idea:  Be a little extra and make an afternoon of this!  Have the kiddies make a Christmas wish list collage by cutting out pictures of their favorite items.  Then have them write a note to Santa and list 5 reasons why they believe they deserve a gift this year.  If Santa isn't able to take the note, tell them that you're going to mail the letter to him direct so that the big guy doesn't lose it in the fire truck.

2.  Have an at home holiday photoshoot.
As explained in detail in this post, this fun idea eliminates the need for expensive professional photoshoots and overpriced holiday cards!

3.  Get creative with your Elf on the Shelf.
Our Elf on the Shelf game is super lame.  We're lucky enough if we remember to move Elfie from one spot to the next before the kiddies wake up.  This year you can get a little creative.  Last year, my friend had their Elf sit next to a bowl filled with a Jiffy Pop, two large candy bars, and a note to watch a holiday favorite film.  Totally stealing her idea..

4.  Attend a local light show.
Growing up, we used to love driving through the large Jones Beach parking lot and seeing all the different lights on display.  At the end, you were able to purchase hot chocolate and congregate around some festive backdrops to drink it.  Last year we attended the light show at the Bronx Zoo instead, which was fabulous!  With the pandemic still in full force, I would imagine that the drive through light shows will be even more popular this year.

Idea:  If you don't have a local light show in your area, make your own!  Do some research and drive by homemade displays throughout your own neighborhood.

5.  String popcorn and cranberries to decorate the outdoors.
Did you know that birds like popcorn and it's actually good for them?  Assuming that it's unsalted and butter free, of course!  Pop a few bowls of popcorn and have the kids string them.  Don't forget to serve peppermint hot chocolate and have holiday music playing in the background so they can get into the spirit!  Once done, display your new edible decor on your bushes and trees.  You'll have fun making it, and the birdies will be extra grateful for it during the Winter months.

6.  Attend a tree lighting ceremony.
Every year, many towns will have a festive ceremony to light their giant evergreen in the town square.  Get out and fight the cold so you can participate in the festivities.  Besides, belting out Christmas carols as a community is a great way to warm up!  My daughter's dance school usually has one class do a holiday performance before the tree is lit.  See what your town does and research how you can get involved.

7.  Participate in a local charity event.
It could be something as simple as participating in the local Giving Tree to fulfill an underprivileged child's holiday wish.  It could be something more complicated as well like organizing a coat drive through your local church or library.  You could also volunteer your time and help out in a local soup kitchen or shelter.  This is a great way to teach your children to give back.  Growing up, I participated in weekly events in our local youth group.  We would sing Christmas carols in nursing homes, organize plant sales, and volunteer time to clean or decorate community centers.  Whatever it is, get involved!

8  Have a window shopping scavenger hunt.
One of the best parts of living in New York, is how breathtakingly beautiful it is during the Christmas time.  Whether you visit your local city or take a stroll through your local town, take an hour for a brisk walk and enjoy all the gorgeous window displays.

Idea:  The kids may think window shopping is boring.  To make it more fun for them and to keep them engaged, turn it into a scavenger hunt.  Since I plan on doing this with my children, I already created one that you're totally good to steal!  I'll be posting my scavenger hunt sheet on Wednesday.

9.  Make homemade holiday cookies.
One of my absolute favorite holiday season activities is to spend the day making goodies to gift friends and family.  Additionally, we always save a few to put on a plate with a glass of milk for Santa Claus himself!  Now, if only we can get Santa to clean up his crumbs..  We make endless batches of ricotta cookies and red velvet cheesecake brownies.  You can find our ricotta cookie recipe here.

10.  Have a holiday bon fire with friends.
December may be a little chilly for most outdoor activities, but I think that we can make this one work.  Prep some festive treats, make some homemade hot cocoa, and gather around the fire for some Christmas stories.  Some of our favorites are The Polar Express and  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  This is a fun and festive way to get into the holiday spirit with your friends or family!

Idea:  Be a little extra and make a red and green fire that will leave the kiddies super impressed!  We use this product called Magical Flames that magically changes the fire into bright, bold colors.

What will you do this holiday season?


  1. Thanks for the cool activity ideas for the Christmas holidays, Jax. Our family this year celebrates Christmas at home, singing and taking pictures without any activity outside the home.
    Happy preparing for Christmas. Regards

    1. This will definitely be a different type of year, for sure!

  2. Rules here forbid more than five people gathering in a house, so no family celebrations this year in my country. But beside the Winter Fair at the city square we usually have nothing special to remind us it is Christmas as my people celebrate Christmas in January, my city is the only one that celebrates the Catholic one. I will decorate my office and my royal chambers maybe a few days before Christmas Eve. Our sister Theresa celebrates birthday then, so I usually make a wish for the wellbeing of her and her family.

    1. We are doing it by zones over year. Depending on the cases in the area determines the zone of your town. Fingers crossed, my town stays low since the burrows around us are skyrocketing! The Winter Fair sounds so magical, like something from a movie. You must take a video one of these days so we can experience with you. That's the sweetest thing ever. How do you make the wish?

    2. I've posted photos of it every year, it is just a bunch of small wooden stalls made in the form of festive houses in which vendors sell their goods, nothing special compared to the wonders that German cities have, but it does create the Christmas atmosphere as it is in the city's main square and you go through it to get to the other side of the centre. The one in our capital Novi Sad is bigger and better.

    3. Yes, but we want to see videos so that we can pretend we're walking through a town square as well. We don't have such things here so to us it's like a fantasy!

  3. Great ideas, Jax. Our town always does the Christmas parade on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Santa shows up at the end on the fire truck and then there’s a tree lighting ceremony in the square. My girls were often in the parade when they were in Girl Scouts. Great memories! This year, they canceled the parade, but did fireworks instead at 6 pm and Santa talked to the kids on an FM station and played Xmas music. The fireworks in my latest post were from that.

    We are trying to make gluten and dairy free cookies this year. Not as good, but since I don’t even know if anyone else can come, I guess it doesn’t matter. We are definitely going to spend some evenings hunting down lights!

    1. Our parade is next weekend. Luciana's bus driver is in the fire department so we get a special stop by every year. This year she said the stop will have to be a selfie with Santa in the background, which is totally OK. I saw a Pinterest page for gluten free cookies that looked delicious!! I was going to link it for you, but just saw that there's dairy in them so that's a fail. You'll have to share the recipe when you find a good one. My aunt with celiacs is always looking for new ones.

  4. We just made some, but haven’t tasted yet. I will message you if they are any good.

  5. There's nothing going on in our area. The tree lighting downtown raffled tickets since only 150 were permitted to attend this year. I didn't bother as I thought families with small children should get to experience it more than me.

    I did take my two besties out with my Christmas truck and did family photo shoots for them. I will do my own family once the snow hits.

    We will bake cookies and watch holiday movies together. I'm trying to keep it low key this year since it's been such a stressful one. Jason, Allison and my birthday all fall the week of Christmas, so I really want to have a stress-free holiday this year. That's the one good thing to come out of this pandemic. People are more forgiving when you tell them you just need a break.

    1. I saw the picture of The Grinch driving the truck on Facebook. That looks like so much fun! lol Aren't holiday movies the best?? They remind me of when I was younger, my grandmother and I would spend an entire Sunday watching The Love Saga on the Hallmark channel! They would make the laziest, most relaxing Sundays.

    2. Hallmark holiday movies for the win. I'm parking my butt on the couch this weekend and binge watching as many as I can.

  6. Great ideas. I have been clearing out Russian Olives that grow along the border of the pasture and woods and maybe I should convert that into a massive bonfire for the season!

    1. Ohh that sounds like a great way to enjoy while getting rid of your garbage. Happy holidays!

  7. Sure plenty of windows there to see things and scavenger hunt away. Neat idea indeed. Pffft bonfires in the cold? Pffft lol Still say that elf is just a cash grab, but the kiddos like it.


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