Updated: Dec 21, 2020
In a year completely devoid of normalcy, we decided to bring back our family tradition of 25 Days of Christmas! When the third baby came along, this activity was pushed to the wayside due to timing and just stress-level. Now that we have nowhere to be and nothing to do but stay home, this family fun is perfect for 2020. We even decided to start a little early, making it technically 28 days of Christmas but the name change is one change too many for me. So 25 Days of Christmas it is!!
What is it?
A fun, family activity every day as you countdown to Christmas. Days will surely be missed but for the most part, we stick to the daily activity pretty regularly. Some are educational, others simply yummy or entertaining but all will be fun family bonding.
Where to start...
Planning for this project can be completed in a single evening. You'll need a list of the activities you'd like to plan for the year. Our lists change a little each year, based on the ages of my kids and leaving out things that were NOT fun in years past. Some are just switched out to keep in fun.
*Personally, we don't do gingerbread houses every year simply because I find it rarely works and frustrations are high. So consider your family needs and make your list from the ideas below. *
How does it work?
Every day someone picks a piece of paper from our jar of activities to see what family fun we will be having that day. To account for some days being busier than others, I put all activities that require a lot more prep by me on green paper, while the majority of the activities are on red. That way I can easily tell the child picking from the jar to "only pick red" if that's all the time we have.
Certain days correlate with specific activities. Those don't get added to the jar. Add those Days to your calendar if you'd like and no one picks from the jar that day. If you don't include these days or don't care when they happen, toss them in or eliminate them altogether. For our family, The first day of Advent, the Feast of Saint Nicholas, Hanuhhak, and the Winter Solstice are all days we learn about on those specific days.
Making Your List
Browse the list below. Find some ideas you like and add a few of your own.
First Day of Advent - This includes the craft of making an Advent wreath out of construction paper. I've also seen using green playdoh and pink/purple birthday candles.
2. Hanukkah - Learning about other religions has always been important to me. Hanukkah is one of my favorite ways to remind my children that other people have other beliefs and those are beliefs we should be aware of and respect. We have a few children's books on the topic and we have a laminated Menora but there are some adorable ones sold as toys if you want to make this a tradition. Sometimes we even make Latkas, if I'm feeling Extra EXTRA!
3. The Feast of Saint Nicholas - Setting your shoes out and reading about Saint Nicholas, the real Santa Claus, is a wonderful tradition. We love this book!
4. Santa Lucia Feast Day
Swedish meatballs and Pepparkakor (thin ginger snap cookies) are enough to make my mouth water every December 13. We learn about Saint Lucy and Christmas in Sweden. You can also have the children decorate your tree with candles made of construction paper.
5. Winter Solstice
"Shortest Day of the Year" is a phrase that will always confuse me. Yes, I'm aware of its meaning but all days are 24 hrs...nevermind... Celebrate the darkest day of the year by having dinner by candlelight only, or making a fire or flashlight tag inside. Find a way to make this day different because it's darker than every other day in the year.
Add in from activities that include watching your favorite Christmas movies. Combine new and classics to make sure your family experiences a well-rounded Christmas. Add 5 or 6 of these to your jar.
6. Home Alone
7. Charlie Brown Christmas
9. Christmas Chronicles
10. Ernest Saves Christmas
11. A Christmas Story
Some things are just good ole standbys. You were probably going to do these things already so add them to your jar and make it part of your Christmas fun!
12. Decorating the Tree. If you are like me, I don't enjoy decorating the tree with little helpers. My kids have their own mini-tree they decorate with all the ornaments they make at school. They love the freedom to do what they want and I enjoy still having a grown-up tree in the living room.
13. Letters to Santa
14. Gingerbread Houses
15. Looking at Christmas Lights
Crafts and Games
Click the pictures/links to get instructions for each adorable craft idea.
18. paper snowflakes
19. Indoor Snowball Fight- which is really just throwing balled-up white socks at each other. We like to do this as a surprise to my husband as he comes home from work. Just leave him a pile of socks and a note as we are armed and ready for him. It's a fun start to the evening. Have Alexa set a timer and see who gets hit the fewest times. CAUTION: You will probably find a rogue sock sometime in February.
20. Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt- This is fun to be done inside or outside in the snow. Just remember to count the number you have hidden.
21. Oven Mitten Games- This game is perfect for older kids. All you need is a few dummy gift boxes and be ready to laugh.
Make a day of baking treats. Have the ingredients on hand so you are ready for any activity they pull from the jar.
23. Peppermint Bark
26. Popcorn balls
Just like movies bring everyone together, few things compare to a good book while cuddled by a fire drinking hot cocoa. As our children got older, we passed this task on to them and called it EDUCATIONAL! Add your favorite books combine it with a snack.
27. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
28. The Polar Express
29. Construction Site on Christmas Night
30. Twas the Night Before Christmas
31. Read the story of the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:1-20
32. Graham Cracker Nativity Scene
33. Act out the Birth of Jesus using your child's Nativity Scene
34. Watch The Star
Acts of Service
35. Note for your Mail carrier
36. Mailing Christmas notes to Grandparents
37. Giving Tree- If your school or Church has a giving tree, consider this as a wonderful idea for an act of service to show your children that this is the time of giving.
38. Shopping for a Christmas gift for kids to exchange
39. Donate Winter gear
40. Delivering cookies or treats to neighbors
No matter what you do this Christmas, make it memorable and give your family some much-needed positivity during 2020. Wishing you a wonderful December and a blessed Christmas during this crazy year.