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Enjoying Winter Break with the Family

 
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Children are counting down the days until Christmas morning, but there’s another countdown happening in homes across the country. Winter break is fast approaching and that means no homework, staying up late, and sleeping in. This extra time together in the middle of the school year provides ample opportunity to turn off the television and dig into some fun family projects and activities. Here is a list of simple ideas you may want to incorporate into your holiday time together:

alaina-drawdy-cox-biltmore-estate-christmas-dec-2015.jpg-    Sing carols for your neighbors. Even if they don’t have a large repertoire of songs memorized or are just learning to read, many children learn traditional Christmas carols and contemporary holiday songs for their school’s holiday programs. Select a few songs with your children and go out and share them with the folks on your street. It’ll be sure to bring a huge grin to everyone’s faces.

-    Go on a Christmas lights drive. After a particularly busy day, it’s nice to kick back and be entertained. After dinner one evening, prepare to-go mugs of cocoa or mulled cider for everyone, hop in the car, turn on your favorite Christmas CD or radio station that plays holiday music, and go look at Christmas lights. This is also a great time for parents to share their holiday memories with the kids. Be sure to ask the little ones about their favorite memories, too.

-    Go for a hike! The weather is forecasted to be unseasonably mild through the end of 2015. What better time to get out of the house, stretch your legs, and explore together? National Geographic offers a wonderful selection of hikes including directions, degree of difficulty, and points of interest in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

-    Put on your aprons and bake! Children love to help mom and dad in the kitchen. Parents.com has a great list of recipes that emphasize the things kids love most – decorating and eating! Select the ones you want to try baking together by clicking HERE.

winter-break-1.jpg-    Make a festive banner with your Christmas cards. Even if you aren’t a crafty parent, this is an easy and fun project for anyone to try. If you’re like me, you have a box of old Christmas cards packed away with your holiday decorations. Rip the card in half and keep only the decorated card front. Cut a triangle out of each of the cards. You can used the first triangle as a tracing guide if you want them to be uniform. Tape or glue the triangles corner to corner along a piece of twine or string (see photo).

We like to hang the Christmas card banners over our daughters’ beds. They’re very festive looking and a good way to teach your children about recycling, too.

-    Make homemade beeswax candles. This craft project is a great way to make a fun gift for anyone on your Christmas list. Purchase a few beeswax sheets and a yard or so of wick. Cut some of the sheets in half to make shorter candles. Just place the wick string on one end of the wax sheet and roll it up. That’s it! Children of all ages can help with this simple activity.

-    For more easy and inexpensive ideas for crafts you can make with your children, click HERE.

winter-break-2.jpg-    Do something kind for others.  Do you have an elderly neighbor who needs help raking the rest of their fall leaves? Is there someone on your street who could use a little cheering up with a visit and maybe some homemade cookies?  Ask your children to help you brainstorm who could use a little extra cheer this holiday season. What could you do to help that person feel merry? You just might be surprised by their ideas. Make a plan with your kids and put it into action.

Whatever you choose to do with your family over the holiday break, the time you invest together will be remembered long after the tree has been taken down and the lights are put away. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!