1. Vote on a favorite Christmas movie, and then add a holiday movie night to your calendar.
Make it a special "event" with your family (i.e. It's Grinch night! etc), and consider serving special snacks or drinks that fit with the movie. Our family loves to watch Home Alone and eat macaroni and cheese and "rubbish" ice cream sundaes, right along with Kevin!
2. Create a hot cocoa station in your home!
Gather up your favorite festive mugs and hot cocoa toppings into one area on a kitchen countertop, buffet table, hutch... or anywhere you can find in your home. Our kids LOVE easy access to hot cocoa all season long, and its fun to share with friends when they come over as well! We even purchased an electric kettle that makes it easy for our kids to warm their water without needing to use the stovetop! This simple setup increases the "special" factor for the holidays and helps us embrace the cold temperatures outside.
Take it a step further by making your own homemade hot cocoa... keep a large jar for your own home, and then fill a few smaller jars for neighbor gifts! Sprinkle some crushed peppermint and mini marshmallows on top of each jar before adding their lids, and you have just killed two birds with one stone! Now when you deliver Christmas cards to friends or neighbors, you'll have a festive jar of hot cocoa to accompany it!
3. Set up a Christmas book basket.
Our kids enjoy when the special Christmas book basket comes out each year; it's such a simple way to usher in the season and make special memories reading together. As a Christian family, we make sure that some of our Christmas books help us to focus our hearts on the true meaning of Christmas- the birth of Christ-, and the spirit of love, giving, and servanthood that Jesus shows us.
4. Family tree decorating!
Decorating your tree for Christmas is likely a task that you already do every year. We love to make this a special family project as we kick off the holiday season! Some ideas to make this happen:
- Gift one new ornament to each family member, representing something special about that year.
- Take turns allowing each family member to choose an ornament; reminisce about the story behind each one as you hang them on the tree.
- Listen to your favorite Christmas songs.
- Pop some popcorn and enjoy simple snacks as you decorate away!
5. Read the Christmas story from the Bible.
Our family chooses to do this on Christmas morning, before we open gifts. It's an easy way to build in another reminder of why we celebrate, and keep our hearts in check before we begin opening presents!
That wasn't so hard was it? Literally- if our family only completes these five traditions, I am calling it a success and celebrating the simplicity of a holiday free of too much added stress trying to do it all. Let me know if you are joining in with our family in any of these activities this year- we would love to know who is aiming for a "Charlie Brown kinda Christmas" with us this year! Happy simplifying, friend!