Fun Family Bonding Ideas

Family on beach

The holidays are all about spending quality time together as a family, but that message can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. This year, don’t let the days fly by without scheduling some special activities. Not only will it make the season more special, but you’ll also create traditions for years to come.

1. Make handmade gifts.
Shift the focus away from big-ticket presents by agreeing to give each other only homemade gifts. Have a large clan? Try drawing names. You can decide as a family what the criteria are for making the gifts, like only using items found in the home or spending less than $10 on the materials.

2. Play games.
When the whole gang’s in town, make one evening “game night.” There’s something about sitting around a table with a board game that brings out the laughter, talking and family bonding.

3. Start a memory jar.
Label an opaque container “Merry Memory Jar,” and place cut-up strips of paper next to it. Tell everyone to write down their favorite memories from past holiday seasons, or the past year, and place them in the jar. Then sit down as a family read the strips one by one. Just have a box of tissues on hand to dry up those sentimental tears.

4. Check out the festive lights.
Most kids love seeing holiday decorations twinkling at night. Pack cookies and hot chocolate or cider in the car, and take a tour through your town’s festive streets. When you get home, spend a few minutes discussing which display was your favorite.

5. Bake holiday treats.
Cookies and cakes are easy for kids to make without much instruction. Using a family or favorite recipe, whip up a batch -- and then spend the afternoon decorating them with holiday music playing in the background. Wrap up the leftovers and pass them out to your neighbors as gifts. Your kids will take pride in being able to create their own presents.

6. Plan a live “12 Days of Christmas.”
For the 12 days leading up to Christmas, create a unique craft or food for each day of the song. For instance, five golden rings could be homemade doughnuts or the pineapple rings on an upside-down cake. You can also turn this into gift-giving tradition: Give them to a different friend, relative, neighbor or local charity each day. This allows your family to bond and spend time thinking up creative presents together. Plus, it will put everyone in the spirit of giving.

Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

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by Brenna Hicks