There’s no shortage of family activities around Austin during the holiday season. But sometimes you just want to keep it simple. Here are some ideas from the YMCA for at-home activities that will create special memories for your family.
Decorate your front door. Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to put up an elaborate Christmas light display. That doesn’t mean you can’t show your spirit. One of the simplest and most eye-catching things you can do is decorate your front door like a giant Christmas present. Pick out a bold color of wrapping paper and a sharply contrasting ribbon color. After that, you’ll just need tape and scissors to make your display and get in on the fun.
Plan and make a special family holiday meal. Cooking together is an incredible bonding and learning experience. Many valuable lessons go into the process, from envisioning a favorite feast, to finding recipes, to purchasing the ingredients and then making the dish. Take the opportunity to do this together, with each family member responsible for one course. Talk about what you’d like to make. Research your recipes and then go to the grocery together. Once you’re ready to begin, be sure to plan out the time requirements for each dish and sequence your preparations so that everything is finished in the appropriate order. Keep in mind, there may be mistakes and minor frustrations along the way. There always are, but that’s part of the process. In the end, your kids will feel a new pride and self-confidence.
Pick a gently used toy and donate it. Our children need to understand how blessed we are to live in a community as fortunate as Austin. Parents at all socioeconomic levels can instill a deep sense of gratitude in their children by helping them recognize the abundance that surrounds them and develop a sense of empathy for those who face greater challenges. Start with a simple practice of helping your child pick out a gently used but much-loved toy that she’s outgrown and donate it. Go together to the donation location so she creates a physical connection to the act of giving. As you leave, talk about the fun memories your child had while playing with the toy and help her envision the fun that another child will also have, helping imprint the positive feeling of giving in her heart.
The Greater Austin YMCA hosts a variety of holiday-themed activities that are free to the community, including Breakfast with Santa, Cookies with Santa and a holiday market. Visit www.austinymca.org for details.