Monday, December 21, 2015

Making the Most of Christmas Day

*Post originally published on 12/8/15

I recently heard a blogger comment that each Christmas seems the same. Overeating, filling, opening gifts, and rushing on with life. Each year, year after year, the same people and no closer than they were the year before.

With all the preparation that so many of us put into this day, it's sad to think that we've already got it all figured out before it even starts. We walk into this day with so many hopes for deepening relationships and yet, we have no plan to get there. We have plans for completing our shopping, completing our baking, completing our decorations. And no plan for how to make the most of Christmas Day with our family.

I confess I'm as guilty as anyone. After our marriage we decided to split the holidays between our two families, each living in opposite directions of our home. So although I see my mom often, it's a rarity to spend time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. In fact, due to Baby Girl's Dec 21st birthday, this will be the first time in four years that I'll be home for Christmas.

In an effort to plan, here are some ideas for mixing up the family and getting everyone talking:
*Board Games--I remember as a young teen getting these out with my cousins and there are so many to please a variety of ages. Shoots and Ladders, Candyland, Monopoly, Life, Sequence.
*Card Games--There's often a game of Rummy going on at my house on any given holiday. Again so many to choose from and card decks are easy to come by. Make it more interesting and play for M&M's, or leftover desert.
*Pirate Tree or White Elephant Gift Exchanges--There are so many variations of this game. Everyone knows the White Elephant, but have you ever been a Pirate? Look here for further directions. I've heard of further variations where the gifts had to be homemade or usable by the day's end (in the case of a game, Polaroid camera, or yummy goodies).
*Sledding--Come on! You know you want to get out there with the kids. And think of all the calories you'll be burning. Enough for an extra piece of pie! Then take a step back and grab the video camera while your uncle hits the slope.
*Target shooting--We are an outdoor family and there have been many a Christmas mornings where we've packed up Hot Chocolate and appetizers to target shoot while waiting for the turkey.
*Organize a musical competition or talent show--just hurry before the turkey kicks in. No drozy performers. No one in your family has any musical talent? Break out the Karaoke. Can you picture Grandma singing "I saw Mama kissin' Santa Clause?
*Offer to help with clean up--You wouldn't believe the bonding you can do with your sister in law while you're at a sink doing dishes.

Whatever you decide to do on Christmas day, remember to make it memorable. Go beyond the ordinary questions. Laugh, giggle with your children, and build memories. Mark this Christmas as different than the last.

For more Works for Me ideas, check out We Are THAT Family.

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