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15 Wonderful Family Activities for Christmas Holiday

15 Wonderful Family Activities for Christmas Holiday

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.

Travel

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.

run with turkeys

    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.

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    volunteer

      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.

      best_christmas_lights_in_america

        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.

        Orcieres-Merlette( Hautes-Alpes) village d'igloos Kanata Chalet de Rocherousse Igloo igloo village o

          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!

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          TheGriswoldFamilyChristmasTree

            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.

            christmas-in-advance-l1

              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.

              winter-solstice

                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.

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                Handmade-Journal-from-a-Card-for-Mothers-day

                  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.

                  IMG_0800-588x391

                    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!

                    gingerbread-nativity

                      Creative Ideas

                      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.

                      trees11

                        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.

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                          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.

                          christmas-proposal-13

                            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.

                            christmas_1-700_standard

                              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.

                              BookTree1-550x550

                                Featured photo credit: Young hipster couple having fun jumping in winter forest via shutterstock.com

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                                Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                Listen carefully:

                                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                1. Pray Daily

                                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                3. Smile Often

                                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                8. Go Exercise

                                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                The Bottom Line

                                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                More Resources About Mindfulness

                                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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