Written by Sue Kirchner
When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year. My brother and I couldn't wait until 5 p.m. when the relatives came over so we could exchange gifts and spend time playing with our cousins. I'm sure this was the longest day ever for my parents too, only for different reasons. We drove them crazy! "Are they here yet?" "Can't I have another cookie?" "I'm bored!"
Well, what goes around comes around and my kids are just as anxious on Christmas Eve. To be a little smarter this year, I wanted to come up with a few ideas to not only keep the kids amused but also to take a break from all of the preparations and spend some precious time together having fun and making memories. With all of the tragic news lately, it's so important to remember tha the Holidays are all about family. Who knows one of these ideas may become a new family tradition.
1. Make Reindeer Food. I found a fun site called Homemaking Fun and I liked their idea for making Magical Reindeer Food to sprinkle in the snow. The food is supposed to help guide the reindeer to your house and give them a snack while waiting for Santa to do his job. It’s easy and fun.
2. Visit Santa Online. Check out all of the Christmas creatures stirring on the computer with the kids. First head on over toReindeerCam.com to see the live feed of Santa’s reindeers. If you watch for a while you’ll even see Santa come out. Then, in today’s day and age of GPS and microchip tracking technology, you’ll be glad to know that even Santa can’t stay off of the grid. Have fun with your kids tracking Santa as he makes his way across the globe at Norad Santa. You can play games online and even check the weather at the North Pole. Speaking of North Pole, visitNorthpole.com for all kinds of Christmas games and activities for kids. Finally, Claus.com has some cute games like the Toy Making Machine. Most of these sites have Mobile App versions so if you are driving to someone else’s house on Christmas Eve the kids can still have some cyber-fun.
3. Play Games. Grab some board games and have fun together. We like to set up a game by our Christmas tree to admire the ornaments while we play. You can give away prizes for the winners – candy canes, tiny stockings, or “coupons” to go shopping with Mom, get out of the dishes, or be the first to open gifts on Christmas Eve. Make it a tradition to play the same game or a new game every year. Here are some of my family’s favorite games. Or this site has some super fun Christmas Themed Minute to Win It Game Ideas, if you want to be more active.
4. Go for a Walk. There is no better way to distress and enjoy time talking than to go for a walk, or hike outdoors. If you have snow on the ground, try snowshoeing. Bring your dog. Bring birdseed covered pinecones to leave a gift for the birds. Here’s a cute tutorial for a snowy birdfeeder. The fresh air will help reduce stress and clear your head and give you some much needed exercise before the Christmas cookie eating frenzy begins.
5. Read Christmas Stories. To get a little quiet and snuggly before the crazy hustle and bustle of the Christmas Eve celebration, why not spend some time on the couch near the tree reading your favorite Christmas stories? Here are 5 Fun Christmas Children’s Books to get everyone in the Holiday mood.
What do you like to do on Christmas Eve to have some fun with your family?
I wish you all a Happy Holidays filled with lots of special family moments! To inspire you more, I've got plenty more ideas for family holiday traditions on my blog as well as my Christmas Fun board on Pinterest. Check them out and have a Happy Holiday Season with your family.
Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.