Involving the Kids in Winter Holidays

Children's fond memories can be of working together -- cooking and decorating for the holidays, as well as enjoying the fruits of their labors.

What's important?
Make sure children are aware of the reasons for, and the primary message of each holiday you celebrate. Receiving gifts may be the child's focus until you explain the origin and broader meaning of the holiday. Lights (stars, lamps, candles), foods, and gifts often play a central role in winter holidays.

Greet the holidays as joyous family events For every holiday task, try to engage the entire family. Turn tasks into fun family events. For example, enjoy a family-wide card sending event. While adults write, young children color on Print & Color holiday cards to include in the envelopes.

Reindeer Gift Wrapping
Chanukah Menorah
Chanukah Celebration
Kwanzaa Celebrations

Brainstorm the shopping list as a family. Children often have perfect ideas for gifts for relatives and family friends. Cook together. Each family member can help in the kitchen, from chopping to washing. Hold a whole family cookie-baking event, or experiment with different latke recipes and have the family vote at a tasting party. Wrap it up together. Sing along with seasonal music while everyone helps tie the ribbons and make the gift tags. When you share lively conversation, the packages are ready in no time.

Keep the kids busy with holiday fun
When kids are out of school for the holiday break, keep them busy. Less sibling arguments occur when kids are engaged in fun activities. Quiet quarrels and lessen stress by suggesting the following activities to your kids:

Send Card Creator Thank You notes
Make holiday scrapbooks
Practice some math activities or make print and play games
Write a holiday story and submit to Books and Beyond
Celebrate nature by dancing with the first snow flakes. Create snow related crafts.
Think offbeat and fun.

Create family traditions
Join hands and hearts among generations by holding on to traditions that are dear. Start some new too, to carry into the future. Have the kids write or E-mail grandparents and relatives to plan some traditions that may surprise you.

Play and sing together
Make a dreidel. Teach family members and friends how to play this traditional game.
Serenade people who will appreciate your holiday cheer.
Share your seasonal celebrations with others who are interested in learning about others' traditions.

Treasure today for tomorrow
Take photos and create drawings of your celebrations to save priceless memories. Create a holiday scrapbook with the children illustrating memorable events of this year's celebrations.

Herald the new year.
Count down the hours until the new year starts with several generations of family and friends. Create an impromptu skit-about the past year or the future. Make costumes and masks using Crayola markers and crayons.
Fill a family time capsule with children's drawings, news articles, and other artifacts.