Make this Year’s Holiday Season Special for Your Family

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The end of the year brings family gatherings, magical memories and the giving and receiving of gifts. Speaking of gifts, you may be asking yourself what you should get for the children in your life this year. We’ve got a great suggestion for you! Toys and gadgets might occupy them for a few hours before they move on to something else (not to mention forget exactly who gave them the toy in the first place).

Instead of toys and electronics, offer experiences and quality time together.

Give them fun local experiences in place of that toy or gadget.

Children may not remember who gave them a toy, but they will remember the memories they make with you for years to come. After all, this time of year isn’t about material things, it’s about cherishing the relationships we have with the ones we love.

Here’s a list of ideas to help you get started:

—      Learn STEM skills while having fun at a Snapology Class or Workshop

—      Get creative with an art class at Art Matters Studio

—      Spend the afternoon enjoying the playhouses at Tiny Town

—      Experience the world of trains at the Strasburg Railroad and Museum

—      Learn something new while exploring the Hands-On House Children’s Museum

—      Find out how high you can soar at Sky Zone

—      Challenge each other to a game of laser tag at Go N Bananas

—      Visit the Turkey Hill Experience and learn how to make ice cream

—      Visit the Lancaster Science Factory for some fun with science

Give them “We Time€ coupons for making great memories.

To make things feel fun and exciting, print out or draw up some €˜We Time’ coupons or certificates. For each coupon, include a special activity or experience that they love to do for them to €˜redeem’ over the next year. Remember, these activities don’t have to be expensive or time consuming. As long as they are fun for the kids, you’re on the right track.

Here’s a list of ideas to help you get started:

—      Baking cookies of your choice together

—      Stargazing while sipping hot cocoa

—      Taking a walk together on a local trail

—      Making dinner together that you plan

—      1 hour of playing your favorite board or card game (you get to pick)

—      1 hour of playing a video game of your choice together

—      Working on a craft together for 1 hour

—      Reading a story of your choice together

—      You pick the movie night movie

—      30 minutes of chatting about what you want to talk about

—      1 hour of playing together (you pick what we play)

Go beyond leisure activities

Creative giving for children

While it’s great to spend time together having fun, this is the perfect time of year to encourage young people to consider the ways they can contribute to the lives of others. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to include things that create opportunities for them to get involved in giving to their loved ones and others in the community.

Service projects or ways to help others in need.

—      Run errands for a neighbor who cannot leave home

—      Write letters to people in long term care facilities

—      Walk or run in a charity 5K

—      Pick up litter at a local park

—      Plant trees on Arbor Day

—      Collect personal hygiene items and donate them to shelters

—      Buy a toy and donate it to an organization that distributes them to children in need

—      Read books to children at the library or residents of a nursing home

—      Collect school supplies at the start of the year and drop them off at a school supply drive

—      Donate the books you no longer use to the library

For more ideas and info about the benefits of participating in community based activities with children, visit the Children’s Bureau website:

Creative gifts for loved ones

Create something homemade and special or draw some coupons that include a special activity or something that they can do for their loved one to €˜redeem’ over the next year.

—      30 minutes of snuggling

—      Working with you to put a puzzle together

—      Baking with grandma

—      A picture they paint

—      30 minutes of uninterrupted time in the bath for mom

—      Homemade gifts they will love

—      Dusting for a month

—      Cleaning the bathroom for a month

—      Folding the towels and washcloths

—      Helping rake the leaves

Make this holiday meaningful with memories that last a lifetime. All these experiences, whether geared towards improving the community or simply having fun are great ways to make memories together.

Ready for some serious fun?