Christmas Activities for Families
- December 7, 2018
- by Melissa Lawrence
In years past, I’ve often been too overwhelmed by the demands of the holidays to plan and execute fun Christmas activities for my kids. Yes, we managed to get the tree up and decorated, and in a good year, we found time for rolling and cutting out gingerbread cookies. But, harried and rushed, we engaged in these endeavors within the little snippets of time we could find, not able to savor them.
This year has proved to be a wee-bit different. Having moved to Barcelona, we suddenly have more downtime at home. The kids have less homework and they simply do less because we cut most of their extra-curricular activities out of the schedule.
With these changes in place, our family kicked off the holidays with a lazy Saturday spent at home playing music, baking cookies and decorating the tree.
What can you do for Christmas at home?
I believe in keeping things simple and easy to avoid stress. The cookies you see below have four ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and vanilla). It takes under fifteen minutes to mix the batter, roll them into balls and put them into the oven. You can skip the almond on top if allergies are of concern. Likewise, my Swedish pumpkin cake, moist and savory, requires around ten minutes of assembly and a stint in the oven.
Here are the girls making the Swedish almond cookies. Splitting the batter in two and giving each girl her own tray allowed for a more peaceful rolling process.
And here are Beckett and the girls decorating the tree. Now, I’d be dishonest to pretend that a team-spirit guided this endeavor. Rather, each child had a plan for which decorations they wanted to put where, and they competed over the chair. Marielle placed two gold keys next to each other so that they would chime only to notice minutes later that someone had lifted off one key and placed it on a high branch beyond her reach. She broke out in tears. We had what I’ll call “ornament placement” followed by “revisions by un-named parties”. Tears, arguments and feuds erupted. Several children stomped out of the room coming back minutes later only to make sure that someone else didn’t get to put more ornaments on than had they. When the ornaments were all in place, however, everyone felt content.
The Spanish Christmas lights likewise proved challenging. Rather than coming packaged as a long string, they had a loop in the middle for the top of the tree from which hung a single, long cord of lights. From that cord sprang various other cords that needed to be wound around the tree. Not being one for physics, the diagram didn’t help me, and the lights sat in the floor in a garbled ball. An hour of de-tangling, stretching, and pulling allowed for the lights to be in place on the floor and then we needed to hoist them up and wrap them around the tree. Once up, some of them blinked and others did not. I decided to let that little detail go. The perfect is the enemy of the good because in in trying to make everything just so, you become miserable.
Our tree also had some missing branches on the bottom. A 45 degree pivot to the right covered that up.
Enjoy whatever your family is celebrating in whatever way, even when tensions rise. The important part is being together and engaging in activities in projects through which you bond. The children will fondly remember these days and, when they grow up, will recreate them with their own families. That to me is the legacy of Christmas.
Sending much love for the holidays,