If you are like me, and my friend Heather, who is here to tell us all about Family Fun…12 Days of Christmas! you can’t believe it’s the holiday season already. I mean – December is here?!!! Can you believe it? I cannot. I feel like time speeds up every year in November, then all of a sudden it’s January!! And the older I get, the faster it goes!

Heather and her family take part in fun family activities and she is here to share them with us. So let’s check out the 12 Christmas activities they do as a family to make it more special and memorable! Here we go…

#1 – Elf on the Shelf – I know, I know… it’s everywhere and seems a bit overdone. But guess what? It’s because it freakin’ works and it is SO FUN for kids! My son loves finding his elf Rascal every morning and when that elf doesn’t move, oh boy… that kid whips right into shape!! Haha! The best behavioral tool a parent could buy!  WORTH EVERY PENNY!! Plus the pure, palpable excitement is contagious! My hubby and I love doing it for him! Check out some of our fun with our elf here…

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#2 – Write letters to Santa – Make your child put their Christmas gift wishes on paper!! Cause when little Billy sees the next best toy 2 days before Christmas and wants to change his mind on what he wants from Santa, you can say “Oh Billy, remember you already told Santa what you wanted? Maybe next year!” Fool proof! PLUS it is so cute to take them to the nearest Macy’s and they can drop their letter in the fun Santa Mail box!

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#3 – A Christmas Countdown – Advent Calendar or whatever cute thing you got for the kids to countdown to Christmas! They love it!! You can do a simple paper chain, Santa beard, numbered blocks are the few we have done! There are so many options – just take a look around Pinterest and you could probably find enough to last every Christmas for the rest of your life.

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#4 – Photo with Santa – This doesn’t have to break the bank! We do ours at a local Amusement Park Knott’s Berry Farm, they do an awesome special for Military, Police and Fire during the holidays! We go every December, they have the best Santa and cutest set up! They also let us take photos with our own camera and do not pressure us to buy their photos! Our son probably thinks Knott’s Berry Farm is the North Pole, because that’s where he sees Santa!

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#5 – Go see local Christmas lights – We have a few awesome neighborhoods that go all out with the lights, it is amazing! They use a radio channel that you can tune to in your car and you get a light show set to music! So fun!! Bring hot chocolate and treats, then enjoy!

#6 – Make and/or sending Christmas cards – Put your kids to work! They love it and it goes by much quicker! My son is a pro at adding the stamps and licking! 😉

#7 – Do a live Nativity – This is so dang cute to do with a group of kids, cousins, friends etc! We like to do this every year with our family and it really helps the kids understand the true meaning of Christmas AND it is pure entertainment!! We dress the kids up, my Mom reads the Nativity story and of course a lot of photos are taken!!

#8 – Go get your Christmas tree and decorate as a family – The tree doesn’t have to be perfect, just let your kids help you!! If you are really OCD and need a perfect tree, then at least get another tree that your kids can help with!!

#9 – Take your children to buy Christmas gifts for others – This doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, my parents used to give each of us some money and took us to Pic n Save (remember Pic n Save?!!!)!  One of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was buying gifts for my family there! We do this now for the cousins by taking our kids to the Dollar Tree or 99 cents store, we have them pick out a gift for each cousin and they get to wrap it too! My son loves it and it helps him to think of others instead of just himself and what he is getting! Love it!!

#10 – Making Christmas treats to give to your friends and neighbors – Super fun and another way to think of others! AND sing them a Christmas song when you deliver to them, they love it and it’s such a fun tradition!  Have you seen Heather’s recipe for Graham Cracker Toffee?  It’s a great item to make and package up for neighbors! Grab some treat bags from Amazon.

#11 – Go play in the snow – Build a snowman, do some sledding and tire those kids out!! I know this is easier for some, here in California this involves driving an hour. But luckier kids have it right outside their door!

#12 – Last, but surely not least is being a Secret Santa for someone in need! So awesome to make someone’s Christmas better! Involve your kids, let them help pick out the gifts and help to deliver! You can do this many different ways! Do all at once or divide into “12 days of Christmas”, there are fun links below to little printables you can attach to gifts for this! I love the idea of giving them a piece of a Nativity each day with the gifts.

Happy Home Fairy has some really cute printables in their blog post – The 12 Days of Christmas – A Celebration of the Nativity (FREE Printables!) *For the record – Julie has lots of great stuff on her blog so be sure to check it out!

LDS Handouts also has a great post – 12 Days Nativity – with some wonderful designs.

I hope this helps you and your families get into the wonderful spirit of Christmas, it’s such a special time of year to teach your kids to think of others and have fun while doing it as a family! Merry Christmas!!!

What new holiday traditions will you incorporate into your family this year?  Do you have a holiday tradition that you and your family participate in each year?

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