Looking for some fun, meaningful ways to spend Christmas eve with your boys?
Most families who celebrate Christmas already have a few holiday traditions, but perhaps you’re looking for some new ideas — or trying to figure out how to tweak your traditions to fit your boys’ developmental stages. A word of warning: lower your expectations. There is almost zero chance that you will experience an Instagram-perfect holiday. Your boys will meltdown. (Or you might!) Someone will cry or get hurt. Someone will be less-than-grateful for a present or say something heinous during religious services. Make sure your holiday plans include plenty of space for mishaps and REST. Kids (and adults) can easily get overwhelmed during the holiday season, and expecting everyone to be on their best behavior — simply because it’s Christmas — isn’t realistic.
From cozying up to watch kids’ Christmas movies with hot chocolates in hand to preparing gift lists, the holiday season presents lots of opportunities for family fun and togetherness. Here’s a list of five ways to spend Christmas Eve with your boys:
- Prepare for the big event. Do you have people coming over on Christmas Day? Involve your family in the preparations. You boys can help chop veggies and prepare the main course, side dishes, and dessert. They can set (and decorate) the table. They can plan games and activities for cousins and friends and wrap presents. It may take your boys longer to do these tasks than it would take you to do them alone, but a) involving them is one way to keep them out of your way and b) giving them tasks teaches them what holiday hosting entails, while building their skills and confidence. Put on some Christmas music as you work!
- Go look at Christmas lights. If you have a neighborhood packed with houses that are adorned with festive lights and decorations, go for a drive (or walk) and look at them. Even older kids love this activity (although they might complain mightily at first!)
- Go to Mass. Midnight Mass on Christmas eve is very popular among Catholics, and some churches offer earlier services which can be ideal for families with young children. (My parish routinely scheduled “Midnight Mass” at 10 pm). Very young children may enjoy services that include live Nativity scenes. Even if you don’t attend church regularly, Christmas eve services are an opportunity to gather, sing traditional Christmas carols, and remember the reason for the season.
- Swap a gift. A good way to spend your Christmas Eve is to swap gifts with the people around you. One present each to celebrate Christmas is a lovely way to get some intimate time with your close friends and family before the extended family descends on you the next day. When I was growing up, Christmas eve was when we siblings exchanged gifts with one another and our parents.
- Curl up with a movie. There are so many excellent Christmas movies! From classic cartoons (like Rudolph & Frosty) & movies (It’s a Wonderful Life) to more modern fare like Elf, curling up with a Christmas movie is a great way to enjoy Christmas eve with your boys.
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