8 Ways To Have a Quiet Holiday With Your Family
A Quiet Holiday. Quiet and Holiday. In the same sentence.
We are a family of strong personalities and opinions to match. We are our own chaos, we do not have to invite it into our home or go in search of it on… oh…say…a Friday Named Black. In the name of peace, we do a few unusual things in our home. You may immediately pity our children for the wretchedly unplugged life we lead (many of our extended family do), but if you are looking to unplug this holiday season, here are some tips and activities that we enjoy for Thanksgiving!
1) Learn about the meaning of Thanksgiving. We love the plethora of Thanksgiving-themed children’s books that exist. A friend told me that she keeps childrens’ books in seasonal tubs, and that they have an Autumn tub brimming! This keeps the books fresh and new to the children when they make it back to the shelf. We wear out our library cards like some people wear out debit cards, and find the trip to the library itself is an adventure. If you are looking for a good online resource to teach them or learn something new, we like the Scholastic Thanksgiving website.
2) Live the meaning of Thanksgiving. This year, each child filled up a shoebox for Samaritan’s purse. These boxes are even tracked so that we can check online and see where our children’s boxes go! That sounds like the perfect homeschooling geography lesson to me, and it reinforces to them that it is time to share our abundance with others. If you’re ready for a long term commitment, here is something serious to consider: last year, we were able to sponsor some children and we enjoy watching them grow, sending cards and gifts throughout the year. We have also volunteered to take food to people’s homes. There are many people who give up a Thanksgiving at home so that they can feed others in church basements all across this generous country.
3) Bad Jokes & board games. We do not watch parades or football games (although we do sometimes pull up some pictures of the floats afterwards). We do love a good family board game, usually something that is 3 hours longer than it should be, like monopoly. As long as there is chocolate on the table, I’m good.
This year, I found some bad children’s Thanksgiving jokes. I printed them off to hand to each of our boys for some after dinner entertainment. They will be thoroughly entertained by this, as each tries so desperately hard to be funny. Would this work for your family? Here’s the litmus test, shout this joke into the other room and see if they laugh:
Why did the turkey cross the road?
Because the chicken got Thanksgiving off!
4) Handmade decorations. We also like to color and do crafts, and there is no shortage of websites with cute ideas! We have a glitter ban at our house and we still come up with cute stuff.
5) Living Room Fort Camping. This is a Thanksgiving tradition at our house, although I doubt it will still be “cool” for too many more years. We pull every chair and blanket we own into the living room and set up camp. We read our bedtime stories by flashlight. I think the special thing about it is not that we just let the kids sleep out there, but we go to bed with them when they do and we do not wander out until they are asleep (or nearly). They just want to be with you.
6) Holiday Baking. It takes twice as long with the kids and makes twice the mess. But really, who am I baking for anyway? Is it my pride that I want to make the best pie on the block or is it because sharing good food means something? Sharing good food starts with making it, and it is love going into it when my children are in there with me. Last year we made cookies the day after Thanksgiving; we ate a few when they were warm and then froze the rest for a less-bountiful time of the year.
7) White Friday. We live in Montana and it is a given that we will have a white Thanksgiving. And when you live somewhere with a lot of snow, you make friends with someone who has a good sledding hill. You get the cocoa ready, you spend 45 minutes bundling everyone up (because by the time the last is bundled, the first has to go potty and it starts again), and you spend as much time in the winter sun as you can possibly endure. No crowds, no lines, no dancing hamsters singing “Jingle Bell Rock”. It is timeless and meaningful . Memories are made. And since we do not have our own sledding hill, it is fun with friends too!
As an aside, on our Floridian Thanksgivings visiting family, we go for a very long walk that ends at the beach! Either way, we are outside and exercising…can’t feel too guilty about that extra piece of pie.
8) Family Reading. We love to read the classics out loud, like Swiss Family Robinson and Big Red, Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. But we are yet again reading through the family favorite—The Chronicles of Narnia. I have finally gotten the children’s British accents down to a realistic impersonation. Turning off the t.v., find time to read something aloud and together on Friday. No need to cook—you have a fridge full of leftovers. Use that time to snuggle on the couch and practice really bad British accents.
Your family’s traditions will look different than ours. But make some. Traditions give them something to look forward to next year and to remember as they age. We all forget many little things we swore we would remember, but the things that happened consistently from year-to-year generally stick with us. Make some traditions for a quiet holiday this year.
The Scholastic Website Homepage and the Operation Christmas Child photos are property of those organizations, respectively. All photos with the Pantry Paratus logo are property of Pantry Paratus.