The holidays are about family, friends, connection, and giving, but with the pandemic still in full gear, it is going to be somewhat difficult to celebrate together and maintain cherished family traditions. Still, with a little creativity, there are several fun ways (old and new school) to spread holiday cheer and instill the time-honored Holiday Spirit in our children. 

Childcare advocate, Florence Ann Romano, aka The Windy City Nanny and co-host of the parenting podcast Finger Painting the Future, offers several creative options for making this year’s holidays magical and meaningful.

  • Caroling
    • New school: Make a video of the kids or the whole family singing your favorite Christmas carols or Hanukkah songs and send it to your loved ones
    • Old school: Go caroling with your family or social “pod.” Ring the bell, stand back 6’, and flash mob your neighbors.
  • Posterity videos (new school): If you can’t see Grandma and Grandpa in person, visit with them on Zoom and record the call. If they’re in your social “pod” and you can visit in person, take out your phone or camera and make a video. Ask them about their holidays growing up. What were their holiday traditions? Special foods/recipes/activities? Ask them about the ornaments on their tree- any special significance/history?
  • 12 Acts of Kindness (old school): Riffing on the “12 Days of Christmas,” create a chart called the “12 Acts of Kindness” or the “8 Days of Kindness” for Hanukkah and ask your children to do one act of kindness of their choosing each day leading up to the holiday. Some ideas:
    • Don’t fight with your sibling
    • Do the dishes for your mother; rake the leaves or shovel the walk without being asked
    • Write a letter to someone less fortunate- i.e. a child in the hospital, veteran, lonely senior
    • Donate a toy or food to a pantry
  • Holiday movie watch party (new school): Organize a movie night with your friends or loved ones from a distance. (There are several online sites or apps that do this.) Chat rooms let you talk with each other during the movie. Some even offer trivia games for everyone to have fun testing their movie knowledge.
  • Christmas and Hanukkah cards (old school): Homemade or store-bought, a card is a meaningful, personal expression from the heart.
  • Red noses (old school): Nothing makes you appreciate the warmth of home and a hot cup of cocoa more than coming in from the cold. Get out there and enjoy the snow if there is any- go sledding, make snow angels, a snowman, have a snowball fight, ice skate. If there isn’t any snow, go hiking, bike riding, mud sliding, jump in the leaves, play tag football.
  • Time capsule (old/new school): As the year comes to a close, think about what it has meant for you. Gather things from around the house, cut out pictures, select meaningful pictures or videos, and put them on a flash drive. Put everything in a box and save it to revisit sometime in the future.