12 days of Christmas ideas will bring lots of joy into your family this holiday season. Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year, which makes it perfect for starting the 12 days of Christmas ideas list. Ideas that are entertaining and that will teach your kids to care for others.
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Before you start
I created a list with 12 wonderful Christmas ideas to start with your family this year. Before you start, keep a few things in mind:
- Make it exciting by telling your kids about these ideas a few days in advance
- Let your kid’s make some decisions along the way
- Stay warm. Pack mittens, hats, warm coats, and a spare outfit for the car. A car blanket is always a good idea as well.
- Pack plenty of snacks
- Invite the Grandparents or friends to participate in some of these fun activities if you like
- Don’t get upset if it doesn’t “go as planned” you all are together that’s all that matters
#1 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: See Local Christmas Lights
Seeing Christmas lights is one of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions that we do every single year. Without fail!
We have a local garden that hosts a Christmas light event every year. We walk around the garden and enjoy the different lights together and the best part is that at the end of the night the kids are ready to go to bed. The garden arranges the lights that it looks like different animals, rain clouds, and much more.
In addition, our local Zoo hosts a Christmas light event every year as well. Where families can see their Christmas lights and the animals at night.
If you can’t find any local Christmas light events, simply drive around your neighboorhood and enjoy the houses that decorated for Christmas. In fact, I do that with my children every year on top of the Garden and Zoo lights.
In addition, shopping malls decorate for the holidays. Simply visit them for dinner and enjoy their decorations at dusk.
Before you go to any of these events make sure you
- Check the weather and pick a “warmer night.”
- Make sure it is stroller-friendly if you have smaller kids.
- Pack a stroller footmuff or a warm blanket.
This activity will get you into the Christmas spirit for sure!!
#2 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Go and visit a local tree farm and pick your Christmas tree as a family. Then, cut it down yourself. If you have teenagers you can have them help you! Make sure to follow the safety instructions of the tree farm.
If you have animals and small children I recommend a smaller tree, perhaps a tree that you can put on a table, and anchor to the wall.
However, if you are looking for a smaller artificial tree that you can mount to the wall this might be a great option for you.
Whatever you decide on just make sure you include your kids into picking the Christmas tree they will be so proud!! And does it really matter if the tree isn’t all that perfect!?!?
Also, you can make as simple as possible by going to Home Depot and getting your tree there, which is a great alternative for families with smaller children. They even put and secure it onto your car for you.
#3 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Decorate the Christmas Tree together!
I know, I know… Decorating a Christmas tree with a toddler adds extra work. But it can be such a wonderful and fun way to bond with your child.
How to prepare:
- Every year, we turn on Christmas music and start singing to the songs
- I pour some hot chocolate for the kids and mulled wine (German Glühwein) for us adults.
- Then, my husband will put on the lights on the tree. Because I don’t want my kids to hold cords for safety reasons.
While Decorating The Tree
Now, that you created the right atmosphere let your kids help you to decorate the tree.
We use the Christmas tree decorations from my husband’s grandmother and this gives us the opportunity to share some stories about my husband’s grandparents.
I also share some fun stories from my childhood with my kids that include my family from overseas.
This is a wonderful way to positively remember the family members who will not be there for Christmas this year.
#4 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Bake For Other People
Did you know it only takes 15 minutes of uninterrupted time a day to truly bond with your child? Baking does take longer than 15 minutes, but it is such a wonderful thing to do with your children.
Before we start baking our cookies I let my kids decide who we should bake the cookies for. This could be anyone they want to show some gratitude to.
- Teachers or any other caregiver
While baking the cookies talk about the person or people your kids are baking for. Why they are so special to deserve some cookies.
Helping your children baking cookies for the important people in their lives will help them to learn more about caring and being thankful.
At the end of the day, we all wish that our children are appreciative of the people in their lives. Baking cookies together will teach this to your children. While you are spending quality time with them.
Egg-Free Cookie Recipe:
Here is a recipe that doesn’t include eggs so your child can make the dough without any worry.
- 7oz (7/8 cup) of butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1tbsp of milk or heavy cream
- 2 1/3 cups of flour
- Preheat the oven to 392 F.
- Add the butter into a mixing bowl and mix it until it becomes foamy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (sugar, milk or cream, and the flour).
- Now, form one inch balls and use a fork to push the balls down in the middle (like in the picture underneath). It creates a fun design.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
#5 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Pick Out A Toy For Charity
I used to volunteer for the local Children’s National Medical Center in DC and it is one of the best pediatric hospitals on the East Cost.
And they, like most other pediatric hospitals, are always in great need of donations. Since they provide great medical care to very sick children. The donations they are receiving has to be “new.”
Believe me, when I say that Children’s National has helped so many sick children in this country. Parents drive hours to ensure that their children get the best help they need.
A little back story:
Why do these donations make all the difference to these kids?
Because some of these children have to stay a long time in the hospital and their parents can’t be there around the clock. They have jobs, younger siblings to take care of, and/or live further away.
When I volunteered and a child was in distress due to a parent missing or a procedure that was done I was allowed to go to the “toy closet” and pick out a toy for that child.
Just imagine bringing in a brand new toy to a child who is so upset, while being very sick.
IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
For two reasons…
- They got a new toy.
- I spent hours playing with them with their brand new toy. That kid wasn’t alone anymore.
I just wanted you to have a little background information on what exactly happens to these toys. Because to most kids, these toys make all the difference and they provide “joy” during this life-changing time.
And you can’t imagine what it is like to these parents knowing there are volunteers playing with their children, while they HAVE to be at work. Believe me when I say they don’t want to be there but they need the money and the insurance.
Now, it is up to you how much you want to tell your children about the kids in pediatric hospitals. It is a tough topic to cover for sure.
Let Your Child Pick Out The Toy
Take your child to a toy store and let your child pick out a brand-new toy for the kids in the hospital. When you get home ask your child to write a special card to the kids in the hospital.
It will make someone’s day. I promise you that.
- Now, I’m not saying you have to spend a lot of money. UNO Cards are so popular and very affordable.
- Also, pick a hospital that “speaks” to you. Or you might have a personal connection with.
- Before you do all of that call that hospital of your choosing and ask if “they accept” gift donations. Just to make sure.
#6 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Christmas tree ornament with meaning!
Actually, my husband’s family started this tradition of gifting a special Christmas ornament to the kids.
For instance, Charlotte will receive a “ballerina” ornament this year because she started ballet this year after receiving a bilingual book about a ballerina.
This is a great way to point out your children’s accomplishments of the year.
However, if your child simply likes a movie character like Penelope who loves Moana it’s also a nice idea to gift just that.
This is also a great opportunity to highlight an accomplishment of your significant other. Maybe a promotion, getting healthy, accomplishing a special goal (running a 5K), etc. Everyone loves feeling proud of their accomplishments and more so when people around them notice the hard work they have put into them.
#7 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Go to a local tree lighting event, Washington DC Christmas
Local tree lighting events are so magical to children. Waiting for the Christmas tree to light up is just amazing to watch.
Simply find a tree lighting event on Facebook or through a google search and take your family.
Washington DC, for instance, has numerous tree lighting events. However, The National Tree Lighting Event is a lottery. Tickets cannot be purchased.
However, make sure you stay warm. I love these mittens for toddlers.
Not only will they keep your child warm they are also beautiful and very soft.
#8 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: DIY Christmas Gifts for Pets
My daughters helped me to make these special dog treats at the beginning of the year. I shared the story on my Instagram.
Recipe for Dogs
This is a simple recipe for children that is healthy for dogs to eat.
- 1/2 cup Apples
- 1/4 cup Blueberries
- 1 tsp of Peanut Butter (per muffin tin)
In case you want to use different fruit make sure to only use ingredients that are not harmful to dogs.
- Clean and cut your fruit into small pieces.
- Add the fruit to your forms (muffin tin, silicon shapes, etc.)
- Add 1 tsp of peanut butter to each form.
- Fill up the forms with water. Make sure you can safely transfer your forms to a freezer.
- Freeze until the water is solid.
I found the above silicon shapes for dogs. How adorable are they? Perfect for your kids to make a special present for your dog.
Now, this is suppose to be a special treat for your dog. I suggest 1-2 per week. Feeding this treat outside will avoid any messes.
#9 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Let your child be in charge of a side dish for the holidays
Yes, you heard me right… Let your child pick a side dish and help your child to cook it for the family.
I know it will add more work to your already busy schedule. But doing this with your child will help you to spend some special time with your kid. Plus, your child might eat more than just a roll for Christmas this year. 🙂
Examples of Simple Side Dishes
- Mac & Cheese
- A cheese plater
- Chocolate covered fruit
- Holiday Grill Cheese Sandwiches (bread, turkey slices, mozzarella cheese, and cranberry sauce)
#10 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: DIY Christmas Cards For Family
This is an adorable option for a Christmas Card that will be made by your kids for any or all family members.
Simply follow the instructions in the video below:
#11 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Christmas Gifts For Grandparents
These are some simple and yet beautiful Christmas Gifts for Grandparents. Both are made out of paper plates.
Instructions For Picture Frame:
- Spray paint the bow pasta. I used gold spray paint for under $5.
- Have your children paint and decorate the paper plate. My children used green paint and red/silver glitter.
- When dry add a picture of your choice.
- Hot glue the pasta to the frame.
Instructions for Christmas Star:
- Spray paint the bow pasta. I used gold spray paint for under $5.
- Then spray paint a paper plate as well.
- When the paper plate is dry cut it like a pizza. You will have three layers (bottom 4 pieces, middle 2 pieces, top 2 pieces).
- Glue the pieces all together.
- Hot glue the pasta to the paper place pieces.
#12 of 12 Days of Christmas Ideas For Family: Have an indoor snowball fight
Indoor Snowball Fight was one of our most popular activities on Instagram this year. This activity is so easy-to-setup and lots of fun.
All you need is:
- white paper
- 2-5 bowls
- Simply crumble up the paper into a “snowball.”
- Then, put 2-5 bowls in a straight line in front of you such as, in the picture above. We used 3 bowls (the last bowl isn’t in the picture) since my children are smaller. If you have older kids you can add more bowls to make it more challenging.
I hope you enjoyed this list.