For many, December is a much awaited time of the year. While the holidays can issue in a frenzy of shopping and preparations, extended time away from school and work provide the prefect opportunity to relax and catch up with loved ones. Beyond the presents that may be given or the lights that may decorate our homes, fellowship with family, friends, and neighbors is what renews us during the holidays.
For me, the holidays have always been a time of celebration shared between the generations of my family. As a child I looked forward to going to my great-grandmother’s house. Preparing for the yearly family gathering, I would watch her whip up marvelous holiday delights. I would listen to her stories about Christmas when she was a girl. Once aunts, uncles, and cousins arrived, I loved the hum of the house filled with conversation and holiday cheer. It is the traditions shared with me in my youth that I still look forward to as an adult.
Keeping in mind what makes the season bright for you and finding fun ways to share time with others will surely make this the most meaningful and memorable holiday yet.
5 Activities to Try This Holiday Season
- Family book club: This year, select a book for the whole family to read over the holiday. Meeting weekly to discuss the plot, character development, and personal feelings about the story will not only help bring everyone together, but also help the kids (and adults!) keep their reading and critical thinking skills sharp over the break. Time spent discussing readings with family is also a special way to learn new things about each other.
- Holiday letter-writing: Nothing brightens a person’s spirits like receiving a hand written letter. Share season’s greetings by sending warm holiday messages to your neighbors, friends, or family members. Additionally, have the kids handwrite a letter to Santa Claus, send thank you cards for gifts received, or keep a holiday journal. These are all great ways to practice writing skills over the break.
- Christmas Caroling: Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a caroler in years! However, nothing makes me happier than to join-in (albeit off key) songs like Silent Night and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Revive the holiday tradition this year by starting a caroling circle of your own.
- Community service: Because the holidays are not only about what we receive, but what we give back, experiences such as working at a local food bank or collecting donations for less fortunate families provide the opportunity to build a stronger sense of community. Embrace the spirit of the holidays through volunteer work.
- Start a new tradition: Traditions provide a sense of closeness with your family and inclusion in a wider community, both contributing to developing a positive self-identity. This year I am happily starting a new holiday tradition with my siblings. Since Christmas is now one of the rare occasions we are all home together, we decided to make each other ornaments for our Christmas trees. Find a new family activity that will allow you to learn from and about those close to you.
This holiday season don’t just catch up on your Netflix list. Whether getting out to ice skate, reading in front of the fire, or helping a neighbor out, make this a meaningful time by celebrating what matter the most: love shared and good will exhibited.