Outdoor Family Fun To Wrap Up The Christmas Season
During the winter it’s easy to hole up inside like a pack of bears hibernating. However, humans are not bears and there’s a lot of fun to be had outside. This Christmas season, take your family outdoors, get some sunshine and have some good old-fashioned family fun. Here are five ways to have outdoor family fun this Christmas.
Have a phenomenal game of touch or tackle football in the snow. If you have enough friends together to have eleven people on each team, great. If not, divide the group you have evenly. Dig out the end zones and use cones to mark the corners. It might help to have scarves or hats that are the same color so you can tell who’s on your team, but it’s not a requirement. Hit the snowy gridiron and have some fun!
Sledding is fun for all ages and you don’t even need a fancy sled. Plastic disc and toboggan style sleds are available inexpensively but you can also use the lid of a garbage can or a cardboard box in a pinch.Find the biggest, fastest hill you can get to and enjoy a day of rip-roaring fun!
#3 Build a family snowman
This is a great outdoor activity for kids of all ages. Everybody loves to make snowmen. Adults and older children can help pushing the snowball around when it gets too large for the little ones to manage. Young children can be tasked with finding items to adorn the snowman with.
#4 Snow forts and snow angels
Who doesn’t like to make a snow angel or build a fort? If you live in a snowy area it’s almost a required outdoor activity. Depending on how much snow has fallen, you can dig down to create a trench and use the snow you’ve excavated to help build your fortress walls. You can pack the snow by hand or use plastic storage boxes to create snow bricks of different sizes. Sandwich boxes, quart boxes and diaper wipe boxes are great options for making snow bricks or you can go to the toy store and buy snow brick makers.
#5 Snowy obstacle course
Build ramps, hurdles and other obstacles in the snow and challenge each other to run the course. The fastest time wins. The great thing about doing it in the snow is that if you fall, you’ve got a lovely cold cushion to crash onto.
#6 Snowboarding, skiing and tubing
If you have the time and a resort nearby, you can have a great day of family fun out on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding are great exercise and a lot of wintry fun. A more family-oriented activity on the slopes is to go snow tubing. The tubes are available in single and group-sized. Sledding down the slopes in your snow tube is a great day with friends and family.
#7 Ice Skating
If you have a local pond that has frozen over, ice skating is an age-old way to have fun. People have been skating for winter entertainment for centuries. It’s quite relaxing to glide around dancing on the ice with your loved ones.
Other fun things to do
You can also simply enjoy a hike, walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the Christmas lights or sing carols to your neighbors.
There are a number of outdoor activities to enjoy during the Christmas season. Find one that’s right for your family. Create new family traditions, enjoy spending time together and make it a Christmas to remember.
If you’re entertaining for family and friends tonight, you’ve got a lot of options for a marvelous year-end wingding. You’re going to want to determine if you’re planning to have a supper or just appetizers and drinks. If you’re having a supper, are you providing all the food or are you having a potluck? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
If you’re planning to have a supper, then your appetizer count should be about 4-5 per guest. If you’re just doing finger foods and drinks, you’re going to want to allow for at least 12-15 per guest. With a sit-down option, you can provide appetizers that can be eaten with a fork. If it’s a standing mingle, you’ll need to stick to finger foods. Likewise, if you’re having a formal get-together you’re going to want to avoid sticky or heavily sauced items that can get on nice dresses and suits. If you’re having a casual affair, messy snacks are perfectly appropriate but be sure to provide a lot of napkins so they won’t be tempted to wipe fingers on your furniture.
Another key point for a wonderful party is providing a variety of drinks. Providing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is key. New Year’s Eve is commonly associated with excessive drinking, but keep the kids and the designated drivers in mind. Cocktails and mocktails can be prepared to give a broad selection of flavor profiles. Mocktails are the non-alcoholic versions of their spiked counterparts. Pina Coladas, Margaritas and Daiquiris can be just as delicious without the booze but be sure to make it obvious which is which so the designated drivers and teetotalers don’t get an unfortunate surprise.
Holding a potluck dinner is a great way for family and friends to bond as the year draws to a close. Guests can bring their favorite foods to share with everyone and create an awesome year-end feast. This kind of comfort food can serve as a marvelous backdrop to a happy gathering. It also takes a lot of the stress off of the hosts both financially and in consideration of time and preparation.
However, if you insist on being the hostess with the mostest, you might opt to prepare all the food for the feast. If you are a hardcore foodie, this might be therapy for you. Some people absolutely love cooking and preparing food for others and this can be an excellent expression of your fondness for your guests. If you’re just a masochistic control freak, this could lead to a lot of stress just before the end of the year. Be kind to yourself. If you love cooking for your loved ones, by all means, go for it. If you’re just feeling like you need to pull out all the stops to keep up with the Joneses, do yourself and your guests a favor and just don’t. You should be getting together to have fun as you wrap up the year. Getting stressed out of your brain is going to make you an awful host and the butt of a lot of jokes in the coming weeks.
When it comes right down to it, as long as you are with your favorite people on this final night of the year it doesn’t much matter what you prepare to eat and drink. Dollar store soda and generic chips & dip are going to be just as memorable as a five-course meal and exotic cocktails if you’re having fun. What really matters is ringing in the new year with your loved ones. End the year on a high note and don’t stress about the victuals.
There is an outfit on FaceBook called TXT Stories and they’ve made a number of interesting stories for the holidays that I’d like to share with you. Today, being Christmas Eve, I’d like to share this one. It’s an exchange between a desperate mother and a Santa her son saw at their local shopping mall.
How’s that for a surprise ending? I’ve got some more to share in the coming days. Some are helpful and some are just silly.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a clever way of telling a story. Technology is definitely having a wonderful effect on our culture. The ability to tell a story in the form of a simulated text exchange is something quite new and innovative. It’s an interesting spin on the slice of life skits you see in high school and youth group amateur theatrics taken to a new level with computer animation. The folks at TXT Stories are quite creative as you’ll see in the coming days. Stay tuned!
Some folks look at it as a time to be sad. Loved ones we miss or even those who we lost during the holidays can bring a melancholy over the whole holiday season. Those who are alone in this world can view the holidays with a jaundiced eye. Some people whose political views see the holidays as a celebration of the worst excesses of capitalism can become quite miserable during the last month or two of each year.
On the other hand, there are some people who are so into it. The holidays are replete with opportunities for happiness, fun, love and togetherness. Family get-togethers, office parties, gift exchanges with friends or just hanging out with the people you enjoy sharing time with watching Christmas movies are all very excellent ways to share the magic of the holidays. Baking cookies for your family, friends, the neighborhood or even for sharing with people you don’t even know is a great way to share the Christmas Spirit. Some people like to decorate their houses for their own enjoyment while others like to decorate their homes and yards with lights that could very well be seen from space.
However you choose to celebrate the holidays or to leave them pass you by, we wish you the peace and joy that the best Christmas carols speak of.
Every holiday season, many of us look forward to eating special treats made using long-held and cherished family recipes. Many families have holiday food traditions they hold dear. I simply cannot imagine a holiday without Nana’s plum pudding or Mom’s thimble cookies. Year after year, we enjoy these treats and use them as a way to stay connected with our families and the Christmas spirit. Keeping track of your favorite holiday treats will help things go more smoothly.
You can create that special holiday feeling each year by returning to your favorites in due course. The easiest way to do this is to have them stored in a coherent fashion. Here are some excellent ways to store your recipes:
5 x 7 Cards – Many people still like keeping 5 x 7 cards in a box to save their recipes. It’s a good approach because you can take the cards out and use them while you’re cooking. Some people like to laminate the cards to keep the recipes from smudging.
Cookbooks – There will often be only a handful of recipes you like or cook out of any given cookbook. A great way to store these is to mark the pages that have the recipes you like and keep them on a bookshelf in your kitchen. In the table of contents, highlight the recipes you like best so that you don’t have to leaf through the entire cookbook all the time. It’s also worthwhile marking any recipes that you’ve tried and didn’t like. Highlighting the good recipes and the not-so-good will save you a lot of time searching through your cookbooks.
Electronically – Another way to keep your recipes is in soft copy. There is software for recipe databases that you can use on your computer, or you can just use the filing system and folders already available on your computer. For recipe-keeping software, try Big Oven. I’ve included a Holiday Meal Planner sheet and list sheet for your Favorite Christmas Recipes.
Online – Sites like Just a Pinch offer ways to save recipes and add your own original recipes and pictures. Just a Pinch additionally lets you print out your own cookbook based on the recipes you have created.
Photos – Another good way to keep a recipe is to take a photo with your phone of the dish, print it out, and then glue or write the recipe on the back of the photo. That way they know what it’s supposed to look like when they’ve made it.
Recipe Book – Get a notebook or scrapbook with clear sleeves, then just put the recipes inside. You can put magazine recipes, recipes printed out from the computer, your 5 x 7 cards, and even recipes written on the back of Christmas paper inside this notebook. It’s a great way to keep them.
A great idea regardless of how you save your recipes is to make a note if you altered them. The holiday food traditions we look forward to are the byproducts of experimentation by previous generations. The creators of the original dishes may have never intended to make them again. They just happened to feel like doing something different or adding something new to the holiday table. When you tweak a recipe and it turns out great, making a note of it allows you to repeat it next time. This way, it becomes part of your family heritage and people can remember your contribution with as much nostalgia as you hold for your own ancestors’ recipes.
More than mere sustenance, the family traditions we enjoy year after year are a source of pride and lead to conversations about family members and fond memories of holidays past. Traditional family foods can be one of the most important parts of the holiday season for many people.
There was once, however, a time in each and every family history before those recipes existed. Mom had to make those thimble cookies for the first time. When she did, she may have placed them right next to chocolate chip cookies made with her Grandma’s secret recipe, having no idea they would become such an integral part of the holiday. She simply hoped that she could add a little bit to the holiday by trying something different. Our holiday food traditions are special to us, and it is wonderful to experience those comforting recipes each and every holiday. It’s important to remember how those traditions began. Taking the source of those traditions into account, we can be spurred to create our own.
This holiday season, consider doing something new. Think about adding a different plate to the dinner or treat table. Make a side dish not generally found on your holiday table or try a new cookie recipe. Try a few new ideas and see what happens.
Some of the new options may not be very well received and others may be enjoyed, but not nearly as much as your family’s holiday classics. However, one might receive such rave reviews that you decide to try it again next year. In years to come, that simple decision to experiment may turn into part of your family’s traditional holiday table. The new cookie recipe you find in a holiday recipe collection this year may eventually become a staple item that your great-grandchildren cannot imagine missing.
Traditions are an important and wonderful part of the essence of one’s family. Wouldn’t it be nice to add your generation’s recipes to the holiday traditions you all hold so dear? Inventing new holiday traditions has no precise formula. One cannot really intentionally “design” a new holiday food tradition. They tend to grow over time. New traditions do require a willingness to prepare an inventive new dish. This holiday season, consider your potential role as a creator of a meaningful holiday tradition and add something new to the holiday feast.
Everybody loves an Advent Calendar. Opening the little doors each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas to see a fancy picture or perhaps even a bit of chocolate. Great holiday fun.
Well, I was at the Family Dollar and I saw this adorable elf mailbox. At that moment, I got the idea for a new twist on the Advent Calendar. What if I made little letters for the kids for each of the 24 days of December leading up to Christmas Day? All great ideas need a little try and a little umph in order to achieve triumph!
So, I went to the Walmart and found these gift tags that look like little Christmas cards. Bingo! The perfect thing to go in to the Elf Mailbox. I have four kids and 24 days ’til Christmas, so I needed to get 96 gift tags! These came in packs of 16, so I got 6 packs and I’m good to go. I got a variety of them so each day would be a colorful holiday celebration
Next, we needed something to put in the cards. I did a bit of research and it turns out that the weeks of Advent are thematically tied to the following ideas:
I think my kids are really going to enjoy this special, customized Advent Calendar. It’s a great opportunity to give them a special, personalized holiday experience and something special to look forward to on a daily basis leading up to Christmas Day.
Until you can get to the store and get your supplies, here’s a free Advent Calendar app for this year that you might enjoy.
This is a famous line from one of the most beloved Christmas songs. Everyone who celebrates Christmas knows all about Santa’s good and naughty lists. Most people do their best to stay off of Santa’s naughty list. While the concept of Santa’s lists is a fun way to convince children to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, the concept of a list should one that all Christmas shoppers depend on while they are doing their Christmas shopping. In fact, your Christmas shopping should be filled with a variety of lists. You can create lists for everyone you plan to give gifts to this year. You should make lists of potential gift ideas and narrow them down to the actual gifts you’ll buy. All of this list making may sound tedious but we’ll see how all of these lists can be very helpful.
Making a list of everyone you plan to give a Christmas present to should be the first step in any Christmas shopping expedition. This list is important because it gives you a handy reference to all the people you want to surprise with a holiday treat while you are shopping. It also gives you a tally of the number of people on your Christmas list. Knowing how many people are on your list is important for setting a budget. Determine how much money you can afford to spend and divide this amount by the number of people on your list and this will give you an idea of how much you can spend on each person on your Christmas list.
After you make this list and set your budget, it is a good idea to make a new list of potential gift ideas for each person on your Christmas gift list. It’s a good idea to brainstorm and come up with a couple of viable gift ideas for each person on your first list. When you are out Christmas shopping, it will help you to know where to start your search. You’ll have a few choices on hand if you are having difficulty finding just the right presents for someone. You may find items that are not on your list but are perfect for the person you are shopping for. It’s okay to buy gifts that are not on the list as long as you stick to your budget. Your list of gift ideas is just a point of departure. If you find a more appropriate gift that is not on your list, go ahead and roll with it.
When Christmas shopping, you should also keep a list of the items you actually purchase. This is particularly helpful if you have a very long list. You might have difficulty remembering all the items you already bought if you don’t mark them down. Keeping an updated list will minimize this problem. This list also comes in handy when it is time to start wrapping all the Christmas gifts you’ve purchased. If you have a closet full of gifts, you may have trouble remembering which one goes to whom. However, if you kept an accurate list while you shopped, this should not be a problem.
Setting a Budget for Christmas Shopping
It is never too early to start thinking about setting a budget for Christmas shopping. As much as we would like to be able to purchase anything and everything we want for our friends and relatives, most of us have to budget carefully to be able to get Christmas gifts for all of our friends and relatives withouth breaking the bank. As such, it is very important to set a budget for Christmas shopping and to do your best to really stick to it.
Other people take a different approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping. They do this by shopping throughout the year and incorporating their spending for Christmas presents into their monthly budgets. These individuals may designate a percentage of their monthly income to Christmas gift giving. They might either purchase the gifts on a monthly basis or simply set aside the money for a Christmas shopping spree later in the year. Those who spread out the Christmas shopping by doing a little bit of shopping each month not only keep their budget in control but they also eliminate a great deal of the stress which often accompanies last minute Christmas shopping.
Another interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping is waiting for an end of year bonanza. Those who typically receive a financial bonus at work around Christmas time may base their budget on the amount of money they are awarded in this bonus. This strategy may work out well since it does not cause them to alter their normal monthly spending. These bonuses are independent of their regular monthly budgeting. However, unless these bonuses are guaranteed annually, there is some risk involved. Often, annual bonuses are awarded based on criteria such as the company’s earnings and the individual employee’s contributions to the success of the company. The company may not enjoy financial success or the contributions of the employee may not be highly valued. There may be either no bonus or a bonus much lower than expected. When this happens, those who count on bonuses for Christmas shopping may find themselves in a pinch with no recourse but to stack up debt on their credit cards instead.
Budgeting for Christmas shopping is especially important for those who plan to use credit cards to make their purchases. In the case of credit card purchases, it would be worthwhile to spread the Christmas shopping out over the entire year in order to repay the debts associated with the shopping on a monthly basis. This will help to prevent carrying a huge balance and being charged interest on that balance each month. However, if must do all of your Christmas shopping at one time, it’s best to save up during the year instead of running up your cards. Before you begin shopping, evaluate the amount of money you have saved and set the budget for your Christmas shopping. This way even though you are using a credit card and will receive a large bill the following month, you will already have enough money to pay the bill in its entirety and avoid paying interest on the debt.
Even those with the best of intentions can find themselves going over their Christmas shoppingbudget. When this happens, it’s important to keep your generosity under control and avoid going too far over budget. You may spend too much on one or two people on your Christmas list but you can offset this by purchasing less expensive gifts for a few other people to stay within the overall budget.
We hope this has helped you keep a bit of a tight rein on your shopping forays. Be kind and courteous to family and friends, but be kind to yourself by not burying yourself in debt.
What would Christmas be without parents? As much as Christmas has become a child-focused affair, it really depends on the parents to bring the magic to the holiday. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I can say this is completely true.
My parents did such a wonderful job of making Christmastime special for my sister and me. My mother spent weeks ahead of the big day baking cookies. It was a great time for togetherness. She put on the Bing Crosby album and stacked up the Chipmunks behind it and we began making and baking the cookies that would go into Tupperware containers until family and friends came by. My father got out the electric racetrack and we raced our little cars for hours on end. We all sat together and watched Christmas specials and holiday movies on TV. We all got together and played board games and cards. Weather permitting, we went out and had snowball fights and built forts. It was such a wonderful experience and gave me a lifelong love for the holiday season.
On the flip side, as a parent I get no greater joy than burying my wife and kids in presents and watching holiday movies together. Creating a place where my kids can enjoy the magic of the holidays is an annual challenge and goal for me. If you’re anything like me, the thrill of finding a 24×7 Christmas music station is a harbinger of marvelous things to come. I’m no Clark Griswold, but I do like things to be a bit over the top for the holidays. I like having decorations in every corner of the house. I like having all the tastes and smells of the season available throughout the month of December and even the weeks before and after.
Honestly, I miss the days of counting down the days until Christmas and having a mountain of presents mysteriously appear beneath the tree. That was a real treat. It made the holidays genuinely magical for me. That being said, I never cease to be amazed at just how the magic continues to apply. As the parents, it is our job to make those presents mysteriously appear for Christmas morning. The amazing thing is that we actually put it together. Having slowly gathered and wrapped the presents for our munchkins, we tuck them away to await the big reveal. Stepping back from our late night Santa stand-in, we’re nearly just as thrilled and amazed as if we were the ones receiving the presents. It is a truly enchanting sight. The twinkling lights of the tree cast a special glow over the stack of presents we’ve assembled for the kids. It’s enough to give me a chill of delight just looking at it.
I’m so pleased to have shared this week of Christmas Heroes with you. Thank you for following our series. For the Twelve Days of Christmas this year, I have assembled a variety of obscure yuletide entertainments. I hope you will enjoy them as much as you have our Christmas Heroes and Historical Grinches.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Something we like to do for the holidays is to decorate the trees outside with items that are edible to birds such as dried berries, cheerios, peanut butter, bird seed. Here are some ideas you can try to make a bird-friendly garland for your non-migratory birds.
Whipped Cream Day
Whipped Cream, also known as Snow Cream, was first mentioned in 1673. Early versions were sweetened and flavored with such things as vanilla, chocolate, orange, rose and coffee. They also used the term Chantilly Creme for these dessert treats.
The reason today is Whipped Cream Day is to celebrate the birthday of Reddi-wip creator, Aaron “Bunny” Lapin. He came up with the canned cream treat in 1948. Some people prefer the canned treat to the scoop-able stuff. Some people prefer whipping heavy cream by hand. Some people just eat it straight from the tub or nibble it off of a loved one (say no more, let’s keep this PG here). No matter how you take it, whipped cream is a tasty addition to any sundae, pie or whatever you’re hungry for.
Christmastime is quickly slipping away and we’ve only got a little bit of the magic left to share. So, why not sit the family down around a bowl of spaghetti and play some trivia games?
Spaghetti is a wonderful comfort food for the chillier times of the year. You can enjoy the usual tomato sauce, alfredo sauce or garlic butter depending on your mood. You can also add proteins such as meatballs, shrimp, sausage or langostinos to fortify the dish. If you’re into vegetables, you can use a light broth and make a wonderful pasta primavera.
There are unresolved issues about the origin of spaghetti. Some say that it was created in Ancient Greece and others hold that Marco Polo brought it back from the East after dining on it at the court of Kublai Khan. Whatever the truth is, we’re glad we have this versatile dish to keep us warm and nourished.
Is there anything more enjoyable for a family to enjoy than an evening playing a trivia game? From the classic Trivial Pursuit and all of its specialty variations (we really enjoy Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit) to the latest craze in trivia games, trivia games test your memory and teach you things you might not have known before.
If you want to tackle the latest trivia games, I’ve located 119 amazing facts that could help you in your next trivia challenge.
Click on this game to get your copy
Click on this game to get your copy
Click on this game to get your copy
It’s the Eleventh Day of Christmas and not a moment too soon. Who doesn’t love a band of pipers?