Five Ways to Make This Christmas More Memorable

Filed under: Holidays

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, the holiday has officially begun. Whether you're working today, anticipating tomorrow's fun, or you already have a houseful of company, Christmas Eve is the kick-off for what is probably your kids' (and maybe your own) favorite day of the year.

For children, Christmas is all about Santa and toys, toys, toys, but whether they realize it or not, it's also about family togetherness. Make this Christmas especially memorable with one of these five holiday activities.

Start a new tradition: When I was little, my dad always read The Night Before Christmas to us before my mom tucked us into bed on Christmas Eve. When my kids were born, I pulled the book out so that my husband could do the same for our kids.

But I find us adding new traditions as well: A letter left for Santa next to the cookies, one last look outside to see if we can spot him before bed, and hopefully, in a few years when my kids are a little older, the 11 P.M. candlelight service at church.

Traditions are a huge part of what makes a holiday special, and creating new ones as a family can make you feel even closer.

Make a family growth chart: It might not seem like it now, but those cousins gathered around the Christmas tree are all going to grow at least a couple of inches by next year. Gather them all up for an annual photo so that you can see how much they've changed when next year comes around. An album of these photos would make a great gift for a graduating senior or a grandma, as well.

Go caroling: Is it old fashioned? Yes. Does it make you feel a little silly? Certainly. But only for the first song or two. If you've got a big group gathered for Christmas, spend some time spreading cheer in your neighborhood. Your neighbors will love it, I promise, and the kids won't want to stop. Can't think of any carols? I've got just the place for you.

Check out the lights: This is by far one of my own children's favorite holiday traditions. Our local paper lists the winners of the city's "best of holiday lights" contest every year. Paper in hand, we head out on the night before Christmas Eve and check them all out ... ooohing and ahhing all the way. Then we come home, make some hot cocoa, and vote on our favorites.

Giving back: Christmas is a time of giving, the perfect time to teach kids about helping out their neighbors. Make it a tradition to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, fulfilling the wish list of your local Humane Society, or just helping out nearby neighbors who are elderly or shut-in.

What's your favorite holiday tradition?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.