We have a tradition in our family where we do a different Christmas activity every day for the 12 days before Christmas. This will be our 6thannual year. It started when work really started to pick up for me and I realized I was not spending as much quality time as I wanted. Now, my kids look forward to it and I stress over it but in the end it’s lots of fun and it gives them great memories- which is why all of us endure this Christmas stress isn’t it?
Every morning the kids run downstairs and check the Christmas Counter Downer to see what activity I have tucked in there and they know they can look forward to quality Christmas themed time later in the day.
Most years I mix things up with some more social or at least out of state events. In years past we have gone to Santa’s Village, Polar Express, the Frog pond, Blink, Faneuil Hall. For obvious reasons those are out.
I figured since it’s a less than traditional year you might be looking for some extra things to do too! Whether you want to join in for the full 12 days or if you are looking for some inspiration for a just a few activities with your little ones this could be worth a read!
Day 1: A Charlie Brown Christmas Party!
This year Charlie Brown is only streaming on Apple Plus and my kids are kind of sad about it. But tonight it is has one viewing on PBS at 7:30! We are going to DVR it so they can enjoy for the season.
We are going to make Graham Cracker Snoopy Houses out of empty bubble gum containers, graham crackers, frosting as the paste to stick the crackers to the side of the “house”, red icing for the roof and candy to decorate them for Christmas. Then turn on the big show and eat some popcorn. I have seen some very cool additions to this party like making Charlie Brown ornaments and/or more treats.
Day 2: Snowflakes! (channeling your true Buddy the Elf)
This is one of our favorites and one that we do every year with no variations. We make a gazillion snowflakes and then tape them all to our bedroom ceilings- Parents included. I make sure I have snowflake stencils at the ready (these can be found just by googling) and lots of little pairs of scissors. I admit this is probably my favorite of the 12 days. This is an excellent page to get templates from! Snowflake templates
Day 3: Window Clings
This is a popular one from last 3 years. There are a few variations for this one! I did happen to get my santa paws on a Creativity for Kids kit with gels to turn them into gel clings. We LOVE these and keep them up all winter. However in years past I have done a couple of other variations.
Contact Paper/glitter/confetti stained glass ornaments: Grab a mish mash of supplies of sequins, glitter, metallic paper, tissue paper, tinsel, etc. Cut an ornament ring out of the paper and place that down on a piece of contact paper. Fill the inside of the paper in 1 layer with the sequins etc. Then place the second piece of contact paper over the top. Trim the excess and hang in window to see the reflections!
Stained Glass Window Cling with Sharpies: With overhead projecter plastic or clear binding cover trace a holiday item such as mittens, tree, stocking and then color in with sharpies. Most of the time they will cling to the window with static alone. See below from Valentine’s Day where we used hearts
Day 4: Christmas Light Night! Scavenger Hunt Edition
We of course have our favorite spots, but on the way to and from do a scavenger hunt sheet with various usual suspects such as reindeer sleigh, frozen characters, Charlie brown, polar bears, frosty, etc. This keeps them entertained while driving to and from the “big shows”
*note some of our favorite big shows are Bonvini Drive in Framingham, Kathryn Drive in Ashland, Perry Henderson Drive in Framingham and 12 Pine Hill in Southborough.
Day 5: Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Our family has a lot of allergies. Gluten (me & Parker), Dairy (Parker, Cam & G), Nuts, Eggs the list goes on. Udi’s has the large pretzel rods and I melt the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips then dip the pretzels and cover in various toppings! I am excited to put this in rotation this year. The last time I did it was for a thanksgiving treat a few years back and a mom in a local mom group suggested it and while I can’t translate all treats into a safe version for us this one is perfect!
Day 6: Christmas Tree Pizza Balls & the New Grinch.
Pioneer Woman (WE LOVE REE) Just did a recipe for pizza in the shape of a Christmas tree of little dough balls. Referencing allergies from above we make our own dough with bob’s red mill and its pretty decent! I mean its no santarpios but what can a girl do. So we plan to roll these balls and make a Christmas Tree. For the Grinch movie we will die our popcorn green and sprinkle some green food coloring in our gingerale. Of course depending upon the age of your kids you can print out some coloring pages too. I will likely do this for my 7 year old
Day 7: Home Alone
New this year! Start by leafletting the neighborood “Wanted” posters for the Wet Bandits. If you are my neighbors cover your eyes! This will be sure to bring your neighbors a good chuckle when walking pets or taking a stroll.
Head back inside for Pepsi & Pizza
Day 8: Treats for Community Helpers
This is a new one this year. It’s something we can do to get out of the house but also be socially distanced. I am planning to have each of the kids pick their favorite community helper and dropping off hot cocoa kits. This would have normally likely be one of the nights we were out as mentioned above and although of course I would love for things to be normal and be doing those things its SUCH an amazing year to focus on how the community helpers have really gone above and beyond. They deserve it all and more.
For us we will stuff mason jars with varying ingredients- Likely our favorites – crushed peppermints, sprinkles, tiny marshmallows, and on the outside with a big red ribbon we will tie on a couple of the pretzel rods we made a few days prior.
Day 9: Make Your Own Melting Snowman Kit
Okay so this is “something I’m espeically out of my MIND about!” (Bonus points for anyone who knows what Christmas movie that line is from)
When the kids were younger I would make sparkle play dough with glitter. I cut different felt pieces into scarves and got googly eyes and buttons and pretzel rods for the additional pieces of the snow man.
But this year we are leveling up and making one of those meltable snowman kits! I went through a lot of recipes and this one looks good and the one we will be doing. I have all the ingredients on the way!
Click frosty puddle for recipe.
Day 10: Gingerbread houses
This is only day 10 because I have been sleeping on the job and there are no gingerbread houses left. Amazon says they will be here by day 9! Last year the elves brought the Lego Gingerbread house and LET ME TELL YOU- I do not recommend this unless you are an actual architect. Just- do not do it.
In other years we have used re-usable gingerbread houses I found at a local shop one day. They are pretty cool and obviously allergy friendly but as the kids got older and I didn’t have to worry about them accidentally eating a piece we reverted back to the yummy smelling kind.
Day 11: Merry Christmas Birdies!
I love this one so much. We skipped the last 2 years with it, but it’s a tried and true and you’re feeding the birdies!
Go on a pine cone hunt. Collect as many as you can. Tie a string or yarn to the top. Using a plastic butter knife spread some peanut butter or sun butter onto as much as the surface as you can. Then roll in small bird seed. Let dry 1-2 days before hanging outside
Day 12: Christmas Eve
ITS COOKIE DAY!!!!
With the allergy situation we do not go too crazy. Simple, easy. We usually stick to sugar cookies (again everything free for us). Different shapes, sizes, colorful icing. My college roommate Brooke at Riley Jane Inspired made us this AH-MAZING platter last year that I am a little obsessed with. I can’t wait to put our cookies on it again this year. I just love how their little handwriting at that time is frozen forever 🙂
Thats the plan for 2020!
Over the years we have done a bunch of different things too – Toy Soldier Hunt (Framingham also has wooden snowmen this year you can hunt for!), mini christmas pizzas (cookie cutter to the udis’s dough, ice cream cone christmas trees decorated with green frosting and sprinkles/candy, snow globes (these were a BLAST and worked really well as calm down jars, we just made about 100 and I am not ready to repeat this year), a group sibling project painting a wooden “Merry” hanger (LOVED this one), ornament nights, Jesus Birthday party, So many things.
What are your Christmas Traditions?! I would love to see/hear them!