By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center

This year’s holidays are sure to look different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Celebrating the spirit of the season might be just what we need. Add a bit of sparkle to your festivities with these creative ideas your little ones are sure to enjoy.

Start new traditions: While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on typical holiday gatherings, we can still celebrate! What better time than the present to start new traditions. Instead of piling presents under the tree, create a present hunt in your house, try a new family recipe, dress up and hop on a holiday Zoom chat (cheers!), or make salt dough ornaments and dreidels that kids can paint.

Tour the neighborhood holiday lights. Bundle up with mugs of your favorite hot beverage, pop some popcorn, and take a walk or drive to enjoy holiday light and decoration displays.

Unable to travel this holiday? Give the gift of a fun themed home vacation experience. A Disney/Pixar adventure could include decorating Mickey-shaped cookies, playing pin the carrot nose on Olaf, a Toy Story movie marathon, and decorating your own princess/prince crown. True holiday magic!

Spice up holiday decorating with festive music and a hot chocolate bar! Add a dollop of whipped cream to everyone’s mugs, fill jars with marshmallows, sprinkles, cereal, mini chocolate chips, and other toppings for kids to spoon in, dunk in a candy cane stir stick and sip away to a happy, unforgettable evening.

Lace up for your annual holiday-inspired fun run. Enlist help from your kiddos to decorate their own race t-shirts/hats, plot your run route, and bake cute finisher medals – have kids pick their favorite cookie cutter shapes, cut out their cookies, poke a hole in the top, bake, and string ribbon through the top. The perfect post-run treat!

Live near extended family, but only gathering with loved ones in your household? Plan a holiday contactless delivery potluck! Ask all participating family members to cook/bake a different dish or two, divvy up equal portions into “to go” containers, and have everyone drop these sharable containers on each other’s doorsteps. This is a great way to share a meal with family AND maintain social distancing.

What fun traditions will you start with your family this year?

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