Seattle's Child

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Holiday ideas

Holiday idea: Get those lights and that tree up early. (Yes, today!)

25 ways to make the holidays a little EXTRA

How to sneak more sparkle, more cheer into the season now — while staying home

Holiday tips: By now we shouldn’t be surprised that 2020 has thrown us for another loop. With new stay-at-home orders in place affecting the holiday season, families try to make this winter a little extra … extra fun, extra cheerful and extra bearable without our usual trips, traditions or family visits. 

Households across the Seattle area have their Halloween decor up (even in November), while others have transitioned to twinkling lights, holiday music and treats. Things that they would normally do, just a lot earlier, since this is 2020. 

If you’re looking to make your holidays a little “extra,” here are 25 ways to start:  

1) Put your holiday decorations up early. Lights, candy canes, reindeer, large blow-up snowmen, a turkey! Put them all out and make your yard look extra festive. Keep your decorations up through March!

2) Decorate the inside of your home and display your tree. Kids will love lights in their room or garland around their doors. Have them make a paper garland to count down the days to winter break or the new year! 

3) Start reserving your holiday books from the library or pull out the ones that you already have. Let your kids read about your own holiday celebrations and explore other holidays of the season too (Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Dongzhi Festival and Christmas).

4) Start your day off with holiday music. Have a daily dance party or wiggle it out to your favorite holiday song at bedtime. Get your group together to sing carols!

5) Cartoons, movies and the Hallmark Channel! Indulge in weekly (or daily – no judgment!) movies. For the kids or for yourself, holiday movies can lift your mood and put you in the holiday spirit.

6) Communicate with your family. It’s a difficult time of year when friends and family can’t get together. The next best thing: Use a digital platform to stay in touch with Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins. Friends too! Some families have taken it to the next level and planned nightly story times. Have a loved one read a picture book to your little one remotely. They’ll cherish these moments for years to come.

7) Bake! Bread, cookies, cake, candy – just bake. A stress reliever for some, baking lets you get creative, while the kids get to have fun mixing, cracking eggs and decorating. Too many cookies? Wrap them up and drop them off at a friend’s house. Take it a step further and have relatives bake with you over Zoom or FaceTime.

8) This year we’ll miss the theater. If that’s something that you love, make a day of it at home and purchase the digital options for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” or ACT’s “A Christmas Carol.”

9) Make a holiday bucket list: What would you and your family like to do this holiday season? Start crossing things off the list.

10) Advent calendars: A plethora of options are out there to purchase. You can buy one for each family member and choose a time to reveal the little treat inside for each day. Create your own Advent calendar for your family to use year after year.

11) Along with having lights and holiday decorations up, keep your house smelling like hot apple cider, candy canes or pine! Holiday tip: Make it a full sensory experience.

12) Craft with kids. Choose a craft to do with your child each day of the week. Holiday tip: Send homemade ornaments, cards, collages and more to friends and family! Make a wreath out of collected greens and pine cones. 

13) Pass on a tradition: Share and teach someone your favorite holiday recipe.

14) Been wanting to add to your traditions? Maybe this is the year to try out an Elf on the Shelf — or to forget about all the gifts and do a family outing or local trip instead.

15) Get outdoors! Plan an outdoor adventure for each week until the end of the year. Hiking? Biking? Snowshoeing? There are plenty of places open for outdoor activities.

16) Santa might be a “no show” this year and it might not be time to tell your kids the truth. New holiday tip: Instead, rent a suit and play the role. Your kids just can’t miss a visit with the big guy!

17) Some businesses are closed for Santa visits this year, but if you book an appointment early, you can catch Santa (at a safe distance) at any one of these places: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Westfield Southcenter, Bellevue Square, Redmond Town Center, Everett Mall, The Commons at Federal Way and University Village. Or have your kids write a letter. (Santa stationery is available at your local post office). 

18) Volunteer. Some options: Adopt a family. Donate food. Make packs of essentials for people experiencing homelessness. Pack a Thanksgiving meal for a person in need. 

19) Snowstorm a neighbor’s house! Make it festive by cutting out snowflakes and taping them to a friend’s door.

20) Visit a light show! Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLanterns, Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo, Redmond Lights, Woodinville Winterfest 2020 and several neighborhood light shows make it a special treat to get into the holiday spirit. 

21) Gingerbread houses. Make your own gingerbread or purchase a village at your local grocery store. Start building early!

22) Puzzled? Choose a 500- or 1,000-piece puzzle and have the family help put it together. It’s a great way to catch up with older kids and check in from time to time as the puzzle gets built.

23) Make it a fancy dinner! Kids love to dress up and it doesn’t have to be for a holiday. Get dressed up and cook your favorite foods, or shop local and purchase a meal. Put on some fancy music and have fun with the idea of going out — while staying in.

24) Game night: Turn one day of the week into game night. Play charades with a holiday theme or make up a game of your own. You can also just play board games.

25) Listen to your kids and find out what they really want. More than anything, parents, try to be in tune with your child’s emotional needs in this difficult year.

More Holiday Things to Do

Adopt a family holiday programs around Seattle, 2020

The Playlist: Activities for kids that are all about teaching gratitude

 

 

About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is an Eastside mom of two boys and enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.