Most children are out of school for the next two weeks. I used to fear that time because I had no idea how to keep them busy while I was trying to finish up my plans for the holidays. And then I had a mind-switch. My children were the priority, not the upcoming holiday parties. So I really attempt to get all my Christmas shopping and decorating done before school lets out. Then I am free to have fun with them, some serious mommy-daughter time. We create memories the best we can.
Together, we developed a list of things to do and we work on getting around to doing many of them. Here goes:
Go to a Nutcracker performance
This is a tradition that we have had for years. We are lucky to have an incredible ballet company in Salt Lake City. But even local Nutcracker productions, even if it’s from an elementary school, really get us in the spirit of the holidays. And I love the costumes. They are dreamy.
Hit up local Holiday concerts
I don’t know about your town, but where we live, there is some kind of holidays concert almost every night of the week—at high schools, civic centers, churches… We hit up several each season.
Go to the symphony
Yesterday, my parents took my daughters to a 45-minute Christmas symphony that was especially for children. Santa was there and the symphony played to the backdrop of Frosty the Snowman. Even my daughters, who far prefer hip-hop, loved it.
Listen to Holiday music
I almost exclusively listen to a radio station that only plays holiday tunes. My daughters get tired of it but it reminds me that it is Christmas time!
Hit up the theater and movie binge
There are so many great movies out that we are known to go to not just one, but two, back-to-back movies just to keep up. It’s relaxing and a great excuse to gorge on popcorn (hey, at least it’s not sweets!).
Have a Mommy-kid lunch
Sometimes just going out to an impromptu lunch is fun. It gives us time to chat without distractions and relax. I let them pick the restaurant (most of the time).
Go sledding / skiing
If you have snow nearby, go sledding. If you have a ski resort nearby, this one is even better. I usually put my daughters in ski school the first few times of the season. It gives me time to catch up on my skills, they meet new friends, and we catch up at lunch. We always have fun stories to tell of our ski adventures (usually involving lots of falling).
Go ice skating
Honestly, ice skates hurt my ankles so I’ve given up. But my daughters love to ice skate and I stick around and watch, sipping hot chocolate or coffee. I even take a book, bundle up, and relax.
Drive and look at holiday lights
In the evenings, we love to drive around neighborhoods known to have spectacular light displays.
Sing carols at a retirement community
We try to give back in some way over the holidays. You need not spend much money. Try going to a retirement community and singing Christmas carols. That small gesture lightens up so many lives.
Host a cookie exchange
I love cookie exchanges. Everyone brings 24 home-baked cookies and, at the end of the event, everyone leaves with 24 different cookies. Yum! Consider inviting your daughters’ friends and neighbors.
Bake for the neighbors
Have a baking night. When you’re done, give them to your neighbors as a holiday greeting.
Have an indoor moving binge night
Sometimes staying indoors and watching TV is just what the doctor ordered. Rest, relaxation, snuggled up with the family dog. My rule is: all electronics are put away. It’s our time!
Don’t overschedule. My children are super sleep deprived so I allow lots of rest time. I think it’s their favorite activity, actually.
Go to church services
If you’re a church-going person, or even if you go just a few times per year, many churches have spectacular services that are well-worth your time. It might even be fun to attend a church you’ve never been to. You might like it and you’ll probably learn something new.