Twelve Days of Christmas V.2009
Face it: Christmas is going to be leaner for most families. But that doesn’t mean it has to be short on memories or fun. I’ve been speaking and writing on how we can grow strong kids in a weak economy and parents have asked, “How can I give my kids a good Christmas if I’m unemployed?” Or, “We have a huge reduction in income because of the economy and it’s looking bleak for 2010. How can I create a positive Christmas when I’m fighting despair?”
Focus on what you can do. You may not be able to travel or buy expensive gifts; but you can take some time to connect as a family, even if it’s dusting off the board games, making some cocoa and playing together. Here are my recession-adjusted 12 Days of Christmas v. 2009:
1. Decorate a Christmas Basket (or box) with Christmas wrapping and bows and collect food for a needy family.
2. Dedicate one night a week in December as Soup Nite – with the money you save by not buying a more expensive entrée, purchase food items for your ‘Christmas Basket’.
3. To pace yourself and not overcommit with time or money; develop together a Christmas Activity Plan. Discuss, “What are the most meaningful activities and parties we want to commit to?” “What should we say ‘no’ to?” “What do we want to do with just our family?” Parents should also develop a Christmas gift budget and stick to it.
4. Buy a family friendly Christmas DVD; make popcorn and watch as a family. Then give the DVD to another family to enjoy and pass along. Or, consider subscribing to www.FamilyValuesCinema.com/TS For about $9 per month you receive a DVD (that you keep!) a family movie discussion guide; and a recipe to bake something with the kids. All the movies are screened by their National Board of Mothers.
5. Decorate a Christmas Card Prayer Box. As Christmas cards come in, collect them in the box and place on your table. Before a meal, pull out a card and pray for that family as you thank God for the meal.
6. Capture festive holiday memories with a free personalized digital scrapbook page or book at www.ScrapBlog.com You can export your creative work as a .jpg and email, or share online. It’s free. It’s fun. And it’s viral!
7. Go on a Dollar Store shopping spree. Draw names. Give each person $1 and have them find a fun stocking stuffer for their person.
8. Give to a needy child in another country by preparing a shoebox of essentials for him/her. Check-out ‘Operation Christmas Child’ with your child at www.SamaritansPurse.org
9. Create a green Christmas scrapbook page by recycling what you have in your house. Include family photos and your children’s artwork.
10. With your kids, bake Christmas cookies and give them to a family in need, or an older person who may not be with family for the holidays. Try singing a Christmas carol for her/him.
11. Use the original ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ for a family drama with costumes and props. The original intent of this song was to teach sixteenth century Christians in England the true meaning of Christmas. It is metaphorical because Christians were persecuted at that time.
12. Take a driving or walking tour of homes lit with Christmas lights. Return home for cocoa and the reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2 in ‘The Message’ version of the Bible; sing some carols and Happy Birthday Jesus. Make a toast to Jesus with sparkling apple cider.
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