One thing we always strive for, especially this time of year, is family connection. With extracurricular activities, work commitments, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, sometimes we can forget the most important thing: family. Finding ways to connect and bond as a family is so important, but it’s not always easy. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of 10 ways you can carve out some dedicated family time. Some take planning, others are easy to implement in the moment. Try them all, try a few, or make your own list.
Make Homemade Gifts
Creating something with your hands to give to another member of your family is one great way to connect. You have to think about what the other person might want and spend time creating it. These gifts don’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as a handmade card with a lovely note inside telling them how special they are.
Build Gingerbread Houses
You can make your own gingerbread from scratch (we like Martha Stewart’s recipe and templates), or buy a kit from the grocery store. Spending an afternoon creating something fun will always bring a family together. Don’t aim for perfection here – it’s memories you are making! Besides, the gingerbread house will still taste the same even if the roof is on backward.
Pick One Fabulous Holiday Event to Attend Together
Hitting up every holiday event can get pretty pricey and time-consuming, so pick one and make a day or night of it with your family. By focusing your attention (and cash) on just one event it will feel that much more special.
Start a New Holiday Tradition
Try starting a new holiday tradition with your family. It can be anything you want. Maybe it’s wearing matching family pajamas, maybe it’s handmade gifts, special decorations that you pick out together or add to each year. It could be something as simple as heading to the local ice rink for an afternoon family skate or walking around your neighbourhood to see all of the holiday decorations.
With holiday parties, gatherings, community events, and church events, it’s easy to get to the end of the holiday season and not have had a single moment of downtime, which can be draining. This year, try saying ‘no’ to a few of those invites. You don’t have to do everything. Instead, spend that time with your family, reading, watching a favourite movie, or wrapping gifts together.
Reading stories together before bedtime is a wonderful way to bond. Take turns reading books out loud to one another. Or if your kids aren’t quite reading yet, encourage them to make up their own story to tell the rest of the family.
Put that phone down, turn off the tablets, and hide the remotes. To truly connect as a family it’s best if there isn’t a screen between your faces. Commit to having tech-free evenings, or focus on one day of technology-free bonding.
Silliness and playfulness are natural for kids. It’s how they bond and build friendships. They will love it when you join in on a goofy moment. Try dusting off some old knock-knock jokes. Dress up. Make up a silly walk. Dance like you mean it. Let your inner child shine!
Let Your Kids be Boss for the Day
Kids can sometimes feel they just are along for the ride, getting dragged to and fro. Put them in the driver’s seat (not literally!) and have them plan a day of family fun.
Try Family Appreciation at Dinner
Start small with this one; try saying one thing you appreciate about one family member at the dinner table. Encourage the rest of the family to join in.
These ideas work no matter your family makeup – two parent or single parent households, families with older kids or younger kids, extended family nearby, extended family far away — it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we all take the time to create lasting memories this holiday season. They are the best gift of all.