I love the magazine Family Fun. I have been a subscriber almost since it first started publication 15 some years ago or so. One of our favorite Christmas traditions we got from there. They used to have a column called "My Great Idea," and so many years ago they had one called "The Christmas Chain." about a mom who made a countdown to Christmas chain, but she did it a little differently. On each link of the chain was a different activity to do that day--take a treat to your neighbor, go caroling, make a Christmas card for a friend, see a live nativity, etc. I thought this was a great idea and decided to start it with our family. I think Miss A was 4 at the time, so this is our 11th year doing it. Ben and I make up the activities with help and suggestions from the kids. One of our favorite that we got from the article was celebrating Sinterklass Day which I posted about over here. The ideas are simple and easy. Nothing too big, and things people would normally do, but I think sometimes we get so busy we forget to do the simple things. This way we for sure get them done because they are scheduled and written down and the kids are very good to remind us "we still need to do ....... today from the chain!" I make the chain as I look at the calendar and try to judge how much time we will have each day depending upon other activities and what we will do.
Getting this year's chain ready.
Some of our chain activities this year are star gaze, watch The Nativity Story movie, go see Christmas lights, each kid has a chain that says they get to pick their favorite Christmas story and song to read and sing together that night, make a Christmas card for a friend, watch The Polar Express and have hot chocolate, take Christmas cookies to a friend, have a candy cane hunt, and Sinterklass Eve (of course). There are thousands of ideas and things to do, but the main thing is keep it easy and doable for your schedule. Don't make it a chore, make it fun, and remember to put service activities in there too.