By Jodi Thomas –
Some of my favorite things to do during the holiday season are absolutely free, or close to it. Be sure to carve out time to enjoy some of the simpler things with your family this December.
Family Movie Night: Pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate and watch some Christmas classics together: Jim Carrey’s The Christmas Carol, Elf, Home Alone, Polar Express, It’s a Beautiful Life.
Start a Christmas Book Basket. Start collecting Christmas books and then read a Christmas book each night together. You can check most of them out at your local library. Every year on Christmas Eve we give our son a new book with a new set of Christmas PJ’s. Some of my favorite books are:
. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
. Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard Schneider
. Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
. The Animals’ Christmas Carol by Jerry Smith
. The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
Make something together. Bake some cookies together and give some away to friends and family. Make Christmas pillowcases for your kids or grandkids. There are tons of great ideas on pinterest.
Observe Advent together. There are lots of fun ways to do this:
. My favorite Advent book is The Advent Book by Jack & Kathy Stockman. We look at one page per day as a family.
. Purchase a paper or felt advent calendar. Have your kids do the daily advent activity. There are several to choose from on www.christianbook.com. Your local Christian bookstore will also have a good selection.
. Make an advent wreath. An advent wreath has 5 candles. Each Sunday a candle is lit and a brief devotion can be read. On Christmas, all five candles are lit.
Drive around and look at Christmas lights together. Pop some popcorn, get the kids in their jammies and coats, and head out to see the lights in your town. Be sure to drive through Speedway in Lights at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Do volunteer work together. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home.
Give. There are countless ways you can give to those around you this holiday season. Coat and toy drives abound. Teach your kids and grandkids about the power of generosity. “Adopt” a needy family and purchase gifts for them.