Every year, people from around the world spend billions in the pursuit of a fun and enjoyable Christmas holiday. With British citizens alone spending an estimated £700 each on festive goods and gifts, there is clearly a huge annual investment made during the festive period.
The question that remains is whether this money is spent wisely? After all, Christmas is a time of wonderful traditions and rich heritage, many of which have been lost to the age of consumerism. Christmas in 2015 may be the ideal time to revisit these traditions, as you plan a number of unique family activities that offer perspective on the holiday as a whole.
15 Unique Family Activities to enjoy this Christmas
So, let’s take a look at 15 unique and wonderful family activities that you can look to enjoy during the forthcoming festive seasons.
1. Run with the Turkeys
If you wish to travel to understand how other cultures’ interpret and celebrate the festive period, you should consider participating in Seattle’s annual Turkey Trot this year. This is incredible fun for the whole family, as you embark on a five kilometer jog that takes place above the Golden Gardens in Ballard. Not only will you spend quality time with your family celebrating an alternative Christmas tradition, but you will also be able to raise money for the Ballard Food Bank and the poverty-stricken families that it helps on a daily basis.
2. Explore Family Volunteer Opportunities
It is important to recognize Christmas as a time of giving, as this will enable you to educate your children about the fundamental values of the festive season. What better way to achieve this than by exploring family volunteer opportunities, through which you can participate in domestic and international causes and help those less fortunate than yourself at Christmas. If you do want to travel abroad, you can still visit a number of domestic soup kitchens and children’s’ hospitals this Christmas to effect significant social change.
3. Visit the Warm Beach in Seattle
Another Seattle favorite, the Warm Beach is a fascinating location that is renowned for its eclectic selection of more than one million Christmas lights. While visiting local boroughs and neighborhoods to see Christmas lights unveiled is a global Christmas tradition, the Warm Beach is unique in that it features stunning illuminations that help to narrate the history of the festive season through the ages. Open each weekend in December, visitors to the Stanwood Grounds can enjoy Victorian carolers while also exploring some of the history behind Christmas.
4. Build Igloos in the French Alps
If you are willing to sacrifice material gifts in the pursuit of genuinely rewarding experiences, you should consider visiting the stunning French Alps this Christmas. This picturesque location has a rich cultural heritage, while it is renowned for offering a range of family activities during the festive season. Under the guidance of activity holiday firm Undiscovered Alps, you can visit as a family and enjoy a range of experiences including snowshoe walking, ice-climbing and even igloo building! This will cost up to and beyond $1000, but it will also deliver a once in a lifetime experience.
5. Go Christmas Tree Hunting
The festive season is incomplete without a Christmas tree, although many contemporary households purchase synthetic fabrications from their local store. While this may be convenient, it denies you and your family an opportunity to take to the road and go in search of an authentic Christmas tree for the home. Whether you target a local supplier, travel out of town or even head abroad to the vast Highlead Plantation in North America’s Arlington, this is a tremendous way to spend your family time and embark on a festive adventure!
Exploring Old Traditions
6. Leave out Christmas Treats for Pets and Wildlife
The legend of Christmas is thought to have originated in Scandinavia, although older traditions associated with the holiday have been lost in translation over the course of the last 100 years. According to an ancient Norwegian holiday legend, God granted animals in the manger a voice to give their praise for the miracle birth of Jesus Christ. This was often celebrated on Christmas Eve by families who left festive treats out for their pets and additional wildlife in the surrounding region. Whether this is observed by laying out tasty treats on the bird table or leaving turkey out on your porch, it can help to bring families together and educate youngsters on the meaning of Christmas.
7. Celebrate the Season of Light
In many cultures, the winter solstice helps to offer perspective during a busy and increasingly hectic season. This traditional holiday celebrates the longest night of the year (December 22nd), and it allows families to take a break from the hustle and bustle of preparing for a modern Christmas. Simply by planning a candle-lit dinner for the whole family and encouraging your children to create their own illuminations for the porch, you can take time out to celebrate the traditional festive season and one of its understated elements.
8. Make a Homemade Christmas Journal
The frenetic pace of modern life can make it extremely difficult to build memories and immortalize your families most precious holidays. Christmas is the ideal time to reminisce about happy experiences, however, and traditionally families would always recount their favorite events of the year once all gifts had been opened. This would provide additional cause for celebration, and remind families that they had a great deal of reason to be thankful for their lot in life. You should attempt this with your family this year, and offer youngsters an opportunity to celebrate the true spirit of the festive period.
9. Create a Thankfulness Wreath
On a similar note, you could also get together with your family and create a thankfulness wreath. Typically an autumn-inspired, Thanksgiving tradition, you can take a simple, floral wreath of your choice and embellish it with gift tags. Every member of the family then writes on these tags to share the things that are thankful for, creating a sense of unity and a far greater appreciation for the holiday season. This is far simpler than the idea of creating a Christmas journal, but despite this it is no less effective.
10. Build a Gingerbread Nativity
Arguably the single most famous Christmas tradition, the Nativity of Jesus recounts the birth of God’s son and it drawn from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. Though religious in its nature, it is a traditional that transcends popular culture and remains a key feature of primary school education around the world. An unusual way for families to recreate this is to build a Gingerbread Nativity, where the typical house is transformed into the iconic manger scene and characters are recreated using delicious candy!
11. Create your Own Christmas Tree Decorations
Every year, households throughout the world embellish their Christmas tree with the same, tired decorations that they have used previously. This could be the year that you change this, however, by gathering the family together and creating new, handmade ornaments from scratch. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to punch or draw festive designs on double-sided adhesive sheets, before sticking them carefully onto glass ornaments and adding some red and white glitter. You can create everything from snowflakes to stylish tree shapes, while those in search of a personal touch can also decorate branches with wooden frames and family photographs.
12. Create a Festive Bucket List
Advent calendars represent a popular festive tradition among children, but what if this could be developed into a new and creative idea? This year, why not create a simple, homemade advent calendar that replaces festive chocolates with small slips of paper. On each slip is a single event or activity which has been suggested by the family, and families must do one of these every day throughout the month of December. This is effectively a festive bucket list, and it remains a fun and unique way of spending time with your family and rekindling the flame of spontaneity.
13. Buy or Host your Own Christmas Photo Shoot
Photographs represent a great way of immortalizing your Christmas memories forever, so why not go all out with an hour long shoot this festive season? Whether you book time with a professional in a studio or employ a family friend to take photographs in the home, you have creative license to create a series of fun, imaginative and memorable images. So wrap the entire family up in lights, invest in a variety of festive sweaters and employ multiple backdrops to create a family album that stands the test of time. If you get a series of high quality photographs, you can even turn these into personalized Christmas cards for 2015.
14. Create a Hot Cocoa Bar
Almost everyone is partial to a cup of hot chocolate at Christmas, but this must-have festive item has an incredible and often underrated diversity that should be recognised. Instead of making bland drinks on the stove in 2015, create your very own hot cocoa bar that serves hot chocolate beverages alongside classic ingredients such as peppermint sticks, cinnamon, caramel and soft marshmallows. These can be accessible to the family throughout December, and create a single meeting point where loved ones can enjoy quality time together.
15. Launch your Very own Festive Book Club
Contrary to popular belief, the 12 days of Christmas actually run from 25th December until the 6th of January. Each night is therefore an important part of the festive period, and you can celebrate this creating your own festive book club and inviting family members to share their favorite, holiday classics. Start by visiting your local library and collecting a predetermined selection of books, before choosing one to enjoy for each of the 12 nights of Christmas. This is a treat for adults and young children alike, while it may also inspire a greater passion for learning and literature.
Featured photo credit: Young hipster couple having fun jumping in winter forest via shutterstock.com