The holidays are best when they’re spent with family. But that doesn’t mean it’s
easy to keep everyone interested! Which holiday activities are actually fun and
get a teenage boy to turn off the dang Playstation? It’s an age-old question that
we sought to answer with this roundup of super-enjoyable, festive-as-all-get-out
1. An all-appetizer dinner
Maybe it’s Christmas Eve and you’re already wiped out from the holiday chaos. Maybe it’s December 1st and you want to have an easy time in the kitchen. Either way, the kids will love it when you go all-in on a smorgasbord of appetizers. We’re talking pizza rolls, chips and salsa, and bagel bites. All the stuff that usually doesn’t classify as “dinner” or would get an eye-roll from your mom is up for grabs tonight.
2. Instead of a gift, give a recipe
Give a mom food and she’ll eat the whole batch in one night… give her a recipe and she’ll eat many batches in one night. Seriously though, a recipe is the gift that keeps giving, and it comes from the heart. If you wanna be a real pal, you can even provide a few ingredients along with it to get them started.
3. DIY popcorn Christmas garland
So, this is an old-school tradition but my Southern mom stands by it. It’s probably best for kids who are older but young enough to do what you say because you said so. Pop a bunch of popcorn and get a big bag of cranberries. Thread some fishing line through alternating popcorn and cranberries one after the other. It looks insanely cute and homemade. And if it proves to be too time-intensive, just eat that dang popcorn and say, “I tried my best.”
4. Hot cocoa taste test
First, everyone loves hot chocolate, particularly when it’s in huge amounts. Second, a blind taste test is a fun way to get opinions from the entire family. Pin a Swiss Miss packet against a fancy brand of hot cocoa, and see which batch your family can’t get enough of.
5. The ole drive around
This one is a holiday no-brainer and costs zero money. Have your whole family pile in a car (with whatever hot cocoa they deemed as the best) and crank up some Christmas music. Then drive through some ritzy neighborhoods that do lavish Christmas lights and crazy front-yard displays. Your kids get to see some awesome decorations, and you can always make your man drive and put a lil’ Schnapp’s in your cocoa.
6. Matching pj’s
This tradition is photo-opp central! Get the dorkiest set of matching pajamas you can find (maybe a size bigger than you think, so the kids won’t grow out of them too fast) and feel the sense of unity that only eerily similar outfits can instill.
7. Hide the pickle
A hilarious name for a holiday game. Get a pickle ornament at your nearest shop. This tradition is popular enough that they’ll probably have one, but if not, improvise! Buy a small gift as well. Hide your special ornament inside the Christmas tree and on Christmas Eve or at your holiday party, set the kids lose and tell them to find the pickle. Whoever finds it gets an extra lil’ knick-knack and the joy of being a savvy pickle scout.
8. A yearly fondue
Fondue is always a yes. And it’s particularly cozy in the holiday season. You can invest in a fondue pot or the more Swiss version—a Raclette cheese grill. This may be pricey for one year but will make years to come pleasantly cheesy.
9. Post-meal walk
This is a straight-up good habit. In the South, you’re more likely to do this since your Christmas temperatures won’t be at the Arctic tundra level. But no matter where you are, it’s a good opportunity to walk off some of the holiday treats, breathe in fresh air, and maybe get a peek at what your neighbors are up to.
10. No elf on the shelf
Girl, I don’t even know how this got so big, but it is actually scary. Instead of spending your holidays relocating an elf to terrify your children, do the old-fashioned “I’m about to call Santa and tell him not to even bother this year.” It works like a charm.
Bonus New Year’s Tradition:
The Venezuelan grape resolution. I learned this from my Venezuelan aunt, but for all I know it could be a tradition all across Latin America. On New Year’s Eve, get a bowl of 10 grapes for each of your guests. In the last 10 seconds before the stroke of midnight, eat one grape each second and make a wish. It’s probably best to keep small kids out of this since it’s a fast-paced tradition and it always ends in everyone taking too long to wish and stuffing 9 grapes in their month at once.