Every year, the holiday season swoops in and, and although it is filled with happiness and warmth, it can sometimes cause a lot of stress. The biggest thing that keeps us grounded during this time of year is remembering to stay in the moment while we spend quality time with our friends and family.
Take advantage of this wonderful holiday season, and make some memories with your loved ones. Discover ways to connect with the most important people in your life, offline and unplugged. Here are some of our favorite “screen free” activities for this time of year.
Here in Southern California, the weather doesn’t get too cold, so we love taking walks in the evening to look at the neighborhood lights. It is a great way to get outside, enjoy the decorations, and chat with family during the walk. We love bringing travel cups filled with hot apple cider or hot chocolate with us to make the outing extra special.
If the weather isn’t as mild where you are, or your immediate neighborhood isn’t well decorated or walkable, you can always turn this into a driving tour! Head over to another neighborhood, park, and walk, or stay in the car and cruise through a few neighborhoods, looking at the lights out the windows.
Remembering that we are part of a larger community is so important, and this time of year brings even more opportunities to give back. Volunteering to help those in need is another tradition we can offer to our children and grandchildren. Consider looking into volunteer opportunities in your area. Many food banks need extra help around the holidays as they arrange special events and drives, and places like nursing homes or long-term care facilities welcome carolers and volunteers to bring holiday cheer to their residents.
If you aren’t able to volunteer your time, but your family is eager to help, consider donating to toy, gift, and food drives. This is especially important to us this year in the wake of the recent fires in California.
If you are interested in supporting families impacted by the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, check the City of Agoura Hills resources for helping fire victims.
Reflect on the Year
One newest family Christmas tradition is writing down big family events for the year in a journal. Then, on Christmas morning, we will go through the journal and share what we’ve written while opening gifts to reflect on all that has happened the previous year. We think this is a wonderful idea to look back and remember what members of the family have experienced throughout the past 12 months, recognize, and offer closure. We’ve then created a clean slate for the following year, perfect for setting New Year's goals and planning events.
This is by far one of the tastiest holiday family activities. If you have children or grandchildren, this is a wonderful activity to do together. If your family’s children are very young, or if you are short on time, bake the cookies in advance and set up a decorating station. It might get messy, but it is sure to make everyone smile.
If you have pets, consider making a batch of dog biscuits too so they can enjoy some of the holiday treats. After you are finished, if you find yourself with a mountain of cookies, give them away to friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Everyone loves cookies!
This is another activity that is wonderful if you have children or grandchildren. Each night of the month, grab a different holiday book to read as a family. You can curl up in front of a fire or Christmas Tree with cozy blankets, and spend some screen-free time together reading favorite childhood books. Our family’s favorites are "The Night Before Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".
As we count down the days until Christmas and celebrate the beginning of the winter season, it’s important to remember to slow down and enjoy the simple things, especially with the people in our lives. Time spent with your loved ones is the best gift you can give them and the most pleasant way to fill your busy calendar. So, use your imagination and creativity to make this holiday season one to remember. From our family at Ayr to yours, we wish you well!
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