Amidst the occasional chaos of the month of December, how will you spend time with your family? With college-age sons/daughters returning home, high school students frantically finishing assignments before Christmas break, and rehearsals for school concerts and theatre productions along with Christmas shopping, office parties, and house decorating … where does my family fit it??
A few ideas to consider:
Have a video game tournamentAllow your teen to choose the game and the medium (handheld, xbox, wii, ps2, or even something on Club Penguin!) . Please do consider the game rating especially with younger siblings.
Have Fondue for dinnerGreat meal for conversation. Work together to cut everything up. Ask the aspiring chef in the family to find recipes online for dipping sauces.
Play a board game after dinnerReally! Newer options: Catch Phrase, Wits & Wagers, Apples to Apples Classics: Life, King Oil, Risk (if you have a looooong evening) For the adventurers: Twister, Wii Sports
Serve togetherGoogle “volunteer in (put your city or county)” and find places who need you. Call your church and ask where they need help. Christmas season often brings added responsibilities on the church staff that our families can help with.
Go for a walk in your neighborhoodBonus: go at night to enjoy the Christmas lights!
Skype extended family membersSpend an hour connecting with family across the miles. Video call for about 10 minutes to each household. They will LOVE seeing your entire family … way better than a 2D Christmas card. Word of Patience: older extended family members may need a phone call tutorial to download and set-up their account first.
Conference call with family membersGet an account at freeconferencecall.com. Share the phone number and access code with family members far and wide. Enjoy a voice family reunion on Christmas Eve!
Geocache!Get into the secret world of global “treasure” hunting. So fun for all ages! Register online to get clues and locations. Supplies needed: smart phone with navigation setting turned on or a gps.
Watch a sunset togetherFind a west-facing field. Figure out the time of sunset. Enjoy. (I hear sunrises are pretty amazing, too. But that is WAY to early for me.)
Learn to make towel animals or something new togetherSearch “how to make towel animals” on youtube, gather towels, commence the laughter! Or, find something new to do together… what about an archery introduction class or how to swing dance??
Play your favorite songsGather around the computer, go to youtube, and each family member share their favorite song…with lyrics (you know, sometimes, the lyrics are a bit difficult to understand). Talk about the songs and why it’s your favorite. Caution: NOT the time to be judgmental or critical!
Bake cookiesWhether slice-and-bake cookies from a tube or cut-out cookies with gourmet icing, cooking together always brings tasty rewards!
A word of caution and encouragement… While I can hear the lovely Christmas music playing in the background and smiles and hugs all around, we sometimes sabotage our efforts at family fun. May I make a few suggestions?
1. Consider everyone’s calendar. Even a 6th grader has important projects and activities!
2. Consider everyone’s interests.
3. Stick with the amount of time you and your family agree with. Even Dad will be ok with 30 minutes of towel folding…as long as you put the towels away after the agreed upon half-hour.
4. Refrain from lecturing, teaching, and criticizing. Not the time. Not the place.
Enjoy the blessing of your teen and your entire family this Christmas season!!
What other activities would you suggest for teens and families?