Making holiday memories with your family
Celebrating with loved ones near and far is what makes the holidays special. Sometimes friends and family simply can’t travel. Virtual tips and tricks help you reach across any distance to make special holiday memories with the ones you love.
In this article, you’ll find tons of fun at-home family activities that bring your loved ones together— whether you’re a few blocks or thousands of miles away.
Get more ideas for family activities to enjoy at home:
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At-home family activities for giving thanks together
A fantastic way to bring your family together is to give thanks. Try these family activities that encourage bonding through practicing gratitude together:
Make a family gratitude jar. Set out a decorated “Thankful” jar with supplies for family members to write what they’re thankful for each day or week. You can also invite visitors to your home to add to your gratitude jar.
Ask friends and family far away to keep their own jars. During your Thanksgiving gathering, get long-distance loved ones on video chat. Take turns plucking out cards from the jars and reading them out loud.
Write letters to family and friends. Turn letter-writing into a family activity. Gather together to write letters to friends and family telling them how grateful you are for having them in your life. Write some letters for mailing to distant loved ones and some to leave around the house as a nice surprise.
Appreciate nature. Nature-appreciation walks are a super easy family activity to organize. Simply take a family walk and encourage everyone to find three things in nature they appreciate.
Keep gratitude journals. Create gratitude journals and encourage family members to write something they’re thankful for each day. At the end of the day, or once a week, pick a different person to share something from their journal with the rest of the family.
Volunteer in person or online. Helping others makes you appreciate all that you have. You can volunteer in person or explore ways you can volunteer online and still make a real impact.
Fun at-home family activities to get you in a festive mood for the holidays
Kids on winter break can get pretty antsy stuck inside. The holidays are the perfect time to think beyond movie and pizza night and shake things up with different fun family activities to do at home. Try our list of boredom-busting activities that can help the whole family escape the winter blues and get festive:
At-home scavenger hunt. Print a postcard with holiday-themed items your kids can find around the house. Have them check off the items as they go, or even snap pics on their phones.
Make your own matching pajamas. Use printable fabric transfers to personalize coordinating pajamas. Check out our helpful tips for using fabric transfers to make sure your project turns out just the way you want it.
Craft decorations together. Put on some festive tunes and get the whole family involved in making handmade decorations.
Make homemade gifts for loved ones. Try some of our quick and easy DIY gift ideas or come up with your own. Are your loved ones far away? Take advantage of all the clever ways people learned to host socially distant gift exchanges to swap gifts with long-distance friends and relatives.
Curate a holiday movie list. Get the whole family involved in creating a holiday movie list that will last all season long. Coordinate to watch movies together online or organize movie nights where you can all watch together in person.
Start a holiday book club. Book clubs are wonderful family activities to get everyone talking and sharing ideas. Pick a book to read together and meet friends and family on video chat weekly to discuss. It can be a holiday book or any book your loved ones want to read over the holidays.
Host a low-stress holiday dinner party
Food brings family together. Holiday meals with extended family and friends gather everyone together in a way that may not happen any other time of year. A casual potluck-style holiday dinner where everyone pitches in makes it easy to enjoy the day.
Here are a few simple tips to make your dinner party extra special and how to include long-distance guests virtually:
- Assign each family or household, a signature dish to bring. Have them label their dish and send you the recipe or a description explaining where the recipe came from, how it became a family favorite, etc. Print out the description on postcards to set out with the food so guests can learn about each dish.
- For family and friends that aren’t local, exchange recipes and a grocery list a couple weeks in advance. You can prepare each other’s dishes and then video chat after dinner and compare how each turned out.
- Encourage everyone to weird silly outfits or over-the-top hats (or even your matching pajamas). After dinner have a “fashion show” where each person shows off their looks and the group votes for the best ones. Virtual guest can easily participate via video chat and feel included.
Family activities & traditions to pass down to new generations
Dad’s famous barbecue sauce hitting the grill, grandma letting you taste a bit of cookie batter, or mom helping you practice fractions with measuring spoons full of fragrant herbs…. Not only are smells and tastes some of the strongest sensory memories, preparing holiday meals together passes down cultural and family traditions.
These family activities will help you cook up holiday memories that everyone young and old will cherish:
Create a family recipe book. Collect family recipes in a binder and present them as a gift for every household. Start a tradition of adding new recipes every year. Decorate the cover with a personalized recipe book template.
Pro Tip: Add an extra dash of love to your recipe book with family food stories. Include things like funny kitchen mishaps, which recipes pregnant family members craved and memories of past family meals.
Cook together. Choose a signature dish or dessert, like grandma’s famous chewy gooey chocolate chip cookies, and virtually cook together. Get the kids involved with cute little aprons and personalized junior chef gear. Invite long-distance loved ones to join via video chat.
Make sugar cookie kits. Send out kits filled with dry cookie ingredients, cute cookie cutters, and a recipe with instructions for baking the cookies. Invite everyone over to decorate together or coordinate to decorate together on video chat.
Find more creative inspiration for family activities during the holidays
Whatever family activities you plan for this holiday season remember that it’s all about finding ways to come together regardless of distance. Whether you’re in the same house or miles away, connecting with loved ones is what makes the holiday season magical.