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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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      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.

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                    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 July 3, 2020

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

                                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

                                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

                                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

                                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

                                If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

                                1. The Inner Critic

                                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                • Other people’s words—many times your parents
                                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
                                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
                                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

                                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                2. The Worrier

                                This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

                                The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

                                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

                                4. The Sleep Depriver

                                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
                                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                How can you control these squatters?

                                How to Master Your Mind

                                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

                                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

                                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                1. For the Inner Critic

                                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

                                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

                                This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                • They rile up the Worrier.
                                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                2. For the Worrier

                                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

                                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                • Muscles tense

                                Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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                                Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

                                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

                                Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

                                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                Breathe in through your nose:

                                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                • Focus on your belly rising.

                                Breathe out through your nose:

                                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                • Focus on your belly falling.
                                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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                                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                4. For the Sleep Depriver

                                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

                                From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
                                • Shut down your thinking
                                • Calm your feelings
                                • Simply focus on the present moment

                                The Bottom Line

                                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

                                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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                                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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