Home for the Holidays

December 1, 2016 | Lake Gibson Village

Grandchildren are a wonderful gift. Here’s how to make holiday memories with them.

The holiday season — Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa — can be a wonderful time of year if you’ve got grandchildren around. Have you ever marveled at those grandparents who find it effortless to spend time doing fun things with their grandkids? Finding holiday-themed activities to do with your grandkids doesn’t have to be elaborate or exhausting. Plan a few simple activities during the holidays, and you’ll have fun, make memories, and maybe even your older ones will put down their mobile devices to engage with you!

We’ve wrapped up some ideas for you, organized by general age group.

TODDLER, PRESCHOOL AND EARLY ELEMENTARY

  • Bake cookies. Let the little ones help you measure, mix and put the cookies on a baking sheet. After they’re baked, let them decorate. Sure, they may not be as perfect as they would if you did it, but the looks on their faces when they’ve finished with their creations will be worth it.
  • Follow Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, track Santa’s progress online by visiting www.noradsanta.org.
  • Make handmade ornaments. Head to your local art supply and crafts store, like Michaels, and you’ll find plenty of supplies to make simple ornaments. You’ll find some simple ideas from the American Grandparents Association at grandparents.com. The handprint snowman ornaments are especially adorable for this age group!
  • Host a caroling party. You can go door-to-door in your neighborhood or stay at home in your living room. Don’t forget the cookies and hot chocolate.
  • Plan a holiday performance. Either attend your grandchild’s daycare or school holiday performance or plan a simple one in your own living room.

OLDER ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Design your own family greeting e-cards. Take a selfie photo of you and your grandkids dressed in holiday-themed clothing. Go to a website like http://www.smilebox.com/ecards.html and follow simple instructions for creating cards you can email to your friends, neighbors and long-distance family members.
  • Shop with your grandkids for their parent’s gifts. Give them a budget to teach them how to set limits and stick to them.
  • Construct a gingerbread house. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, but elementary-age kids love making a house that’s made from edible sweets.
  • Make paper snowflakes. A printable pattern is available here: http://lds.about.com/library/bl/aids/aids2/snow_flake.pdf
  • Make a holiday cookbook. Gather traditional recipes from family members and create a family holiday cookbook. The cookbook can be a physical one (use a scrapbook) or a digital one that can be shared with other family members.
  • Go for a nature walk. Visit a local park or hiking trail. Collect some treasures along the way, such as flowers and leaves, and create a centerpiece for your holiday table.
  • Plan a movie day. Take the grandkids out for lunch or dinner afterward.

HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE-AGE

  • Take pictures as your family enjoys the holidays. Later, make an old-fashioned scrapbook for your grandkids, or post on a social-media channel, such as Instagram or Facebook.
  • Make a lunch or dinner date. Plan a fun lunch or dinner date at a fancy restaurant. It’s a special time of year, so splurge a little. And don’t forget dessert!
  • Do something charitable. Volunteer as a family. Work at a homeless shelter and serve a holiday meal, donate warm winter blankets and coats, or make a holiday gift basket for a needy family. Collect toys for children. Look for donation boxes in your area or go to the Toys for Tots website and type in your location. Send a care package to a soldier who is deployed overseas. Visit Operation Shoebox or Any Solider for ideas and information about how to participate. You may have noticed donation boxes in your area. If not, go to the Toys for Tots website and type in your location.

“With all the trees and the lake, it’s like living in the country.”

Lillie B

“I don’t have to cook, clean or wash my clothes. That’s the best!”

Margaret N

“The people are friendly; I love them all!”

Margaret B

“I’m just overjoyed to be here.”

Matt G

“You have to come and visit us, because it is beautiful.”

Lillie B