18 Nov 2017 Create Christmas activities calendar
by Brittany Gilbert
The Christmas season is sneaking up on us quickly. I find myself unprepared, however, I have three small children who expect a fun season, no matter how busy and unprepared I feel.
Thankfully, we live in an area that is full of great opportunities to make memories with your family. You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money to have a good experience and enjoy the season.
If you need ideas on where to go, check out the calendar in this issue (Pages 8-9) or look to social media. Ask your friends about any holiday activities they know about, and then keep a calendar.
For those activities and events that work with your schedule, make a plan to attend. We did this with fall festivals in the area last year, and we had a packed schedule. It was so much fun to go around town and visit different churches and businesses that were hosting fun events for the community. I wouldn’t have known about these events if I didn’t ask about it on social media. Most of these events are free!
In Conway, make sure you visit the Bethlehem Revisited at Antioch Baptist Church. There is nothing like it, and it is truly an amazing experience. New Life Church has a candlelight service on the days leading up to Christmas that is so incredible, you’ll be talking about it all year until the next one.
For the past couple of years, Downtown Conway has hosted a month of amazing Christmas experiences at night. Horse drawn carriage rides, a Ferris wheel, an enormous Christmas tree, etc. Our already charming town explodes with charm and character around this time of year.
Plan activities for nights you stay at home. For us, it’s as easy as hot chocolate with marshmallows and a movie. We love to snuggle on the couch with our favorite blankets and watch a movie with the Christmas lights on.
You can create activities for the kids like themed coloring pages, Christmas treats or have decorating nights. There are so many activities. You could fill up the calendar with fun, free activities for nights when you stay at home. The great thing about having your kids do crafts is that you can give crafts as gifts.
I’m also including some craft ideas. Some are very simple, and you probably have the materials around the house, while others may take a little planning.
Paint your child’s hand and transfer the paint to an ornament. Add eyeballs and other decorations like scarves on the fingertips.
Paper plate Santa
Draw a face on the bottom half of the plate and a red hat on the top half. Glue cotton balls for a beard and as the brim of his hat.
Christmas tree hands
Paint your child’s hands green and put their handprint on a canvas in the shape of a Christmas tree (think: triangle). Paint a star at the top and a stand at the bottom along with a name and date, and it’s a great gift!
Combine in a bowl:
2 cups red glitter glue
1 1/2 cups very warm water
A few drops of cinnamon extract or peppermint extract (or another essential oil, whatever is your favorite holiday scent)
Optional: green glitter and extra red glitter
In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 teaspoons of borax and 1 1/3 cups very warm water.
Once the ingredients of both bowls are mixed, combine and mix. Continue mixing, and the slime will form. If the slime is sticky, add a tiny amount of borax and water. Have fun!
Don’t worry if your schedule doesn’t allow you to do all of these ideas. Pick a few things and focus on making it super fun. Or, you could give a few ideas to grandparents to do with the kids.
If you wonder how to fit all of the Christmas activities you see into the holiday season, there are a few ways. One way is to create an Advent calendar. For our calendar, we have days where we don’t have any activities, some days will have stay-at-home activities, and then other days where we go outside of the house.
The whole point is to be intentional about getting the most out of the season. If packing the month full of activities is too stressful or will make your schedule too busy, don’t focus on the number of things you do, but rather the quality. Your kids won’t be keeping track of how many things they do, but rather the fun and memories that you make as a family.
Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].