For the modern family, it's not unusual for family members to spend a majority of time physically together, although staring at their phone, tablet, computer or TV screen — the "parallel play" of technology. This holiday season is an opportunity to overhaul your family's technological habits and truly enjoy family time together. The following no-screen family activities can pull your family away from their gadgets, and instead create special memories and happy moments this holiday season.
Indoor Snowball Fight
A blanket of fresh-fallen snow creates a magical winter wonderland for building a snowman or snuggling up inside with hot cocoa near the fireplace. Are you without snow but looking to get into the spirit of the season? Create your own gentle blizzard indoors by crafting glittery paper snowflakes to string and hang. Spread artificial fake snow along the floors and start a snowball fight with indoor stuffed snowballs — like right out of "A Christmas Story."
Family Cookie Car
Spread holiday cheer to those in need, starting right in your kitchen. Baking with your kids is a sweet holiday tradition that creates memories for a lifetime. And Christmas cookies are a heartwarming way to give back. Your family can bake cookies and turn your car into a mobile cookie delivery vehicle for delivering gift-wrapped cookies to the community with joy.
Name That Christmas Carol
Put a fun "Name That Tune" twist on Christmas caroling and sing holiday tunes as a family. Split into two teams in which one caroler from one team hums a Christmas carol. The first person between both teams who correctly guesses the song earns a point for their team.
Holidays for Heroes
Check out your local Red Cross office to see how your family can participate in the Red Cross Holidays for Heroes program. This program encourages Americans to "Give Something That Means Something" during this holiday season. Participating in a variety of activities can help recognize and thank military members, veterans and their families.
Polar Express Adventure Night
"All aboard!" Bring the classic storybook to life at home with a "Polar Express" party for your kids and their friends. Ask all guests to wear their pajamas and hand them a golden ticket once they arrive. Then you (or another adult) can play conductor and invite the kids to hop aboard the (imaginary) Polar Express. As the movie soundtrack plays, hand out hot hot! hot! hot chocolate and cookies. During the train ride, read the story aloud and give the kids each a Santa's sleigh bell ornament as a party favor.
This time of year is full of joy, happiness and love — which is why this special season is a great opportunity for your family to start a holiday journal. Throughout the month of December, set aside a few days a week for journaling based on a themed prompt such as:
- What does gratitude mean to you?
- What are you thankful for?
- What's your favorite holiday tradition and memory?
- What would you do if you were "Home Alone" on Christmas?
- If you were one of Santa's elves, what would a typical workday be like for you?
DIY Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
The ugly sweater party has moved from holiday trend into annual tradition. Host a kid-friendly party for young family friends centered around creating your own ugly sweater using materials like festive felt cutouts, jingle bells, garland and gift wrapping bows. For food, drink and dessert, go potluck style. Then unleash your Christmas creativity and get silly while munching on bites and sweet treats.
Need more holiday fun inspiration?
- Go on a festive doggy outing. Get your pup's photo with Santa and go shopping for stocking stuffers.
- Teach the lesson of giving and benevolence by helping your kids donate brand-new and old toys.
- Make holiday treats for your child's classroom and teacher