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Give the Gift of Time: Priceless

Create family memories with your time.

by Anita Widaman |


Whether your kids are married, home from college, or home from elementary school, Christmas is the perfect holiday to spend extra time together as a family. Here are a few suggestions if you are at a loss for what to do.


Here are ten ideas you can do (FREE) this Christmas:

  1. Free day at local museum

For the Widamans, it’s the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Make it a personal trip by going online and researching your favorite exhibit. When your family visits the museum, educate each other and make it a private museum tour. Have a scavenger hunt by looking for masterpieces showing the Christ Child and various characters from the Christmas story. End your hunt with treats in the Rozzelle Court.




  1. Make a family movie

Facebook is just one of many sites where you can upload a family movie or Christmas greeting. You don’t even need a fancy camera–just use your phone! This will be a step above typical online greeting cards with a great personal touch.


  1. Movie night at home

Instead of spending $12 per ticket to take the family to the movies, plus the cost of popcorn, soda, and candy, watch your favorite movie at home and start a family tradition. Our family Christmas movie is White Christmas. Our daughters Hannah and Emma, now 23 and 20, know the song “Sisters” by heart and hilariously sing along with the movie. This year Hannah, who is now married and living in an apartment, started her own tradition by watching a movie while she and Mason decorated their Christmas tree. If your movie selection at home is deficient, consider looking for it on Netflix or Amazon Streaming. Or just borrow a DVD from the library. Have little ones? Be creative. If you are watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, dress up as “Whoville” citizens and eat “roast beast” for dinner.


  1. Board game championship

Be careful here. Dwight and Hannah are quite competitive. They should never play Risk together again! Announce your family’s annual scrabble or guessing (or board game) bowl game for the holidays. Make the championship real by printing rules, game brackets, certificates for winners, and play “home” and “away” games where each family member can host a game in their own room.


  1. Bake Christmas cookies for the neighbors

Don’t keep family recipes to yourself! Find your favorite cookie recipe and tweak it a little to make it your family’s own secret recipe. Bake cookies together, where every person has a role, e.g. the measurer, the mixer, the baker, the quality-controller (usually dad) and the packer. Then take cookies to your neighbors and see them smile.


  1. Make your home a fancy restaurant

Eating out can be special, but do we have to go out to have a special meal? Why not dress up for a special night at home? Print the menu, light some candles, and make dinner special with everyone sitting around the table. Tip the chef by telling them the thing you love most about them.


  1. Donate clothes to the local thrift store

Spend an evening helping every family members find one of two things to take to the neighborhood thrift store. Giving together as a family makes the holiday special. Take your family’s secret cookie recipe and hot chocolate in a flask and sip as you drive to the thrift store. Take the long way home and enjoy the lights.


  1. Watch old family videos

We all seem to take a lot of family videos at Christmas and other holidays but when do we really re-watch them? Get them all out for an evening of videos spanning back to when the kids were young. Everyone will roar with laughter. Sad thing is about videos, dad is usually left out unless someone else is holding the camera. Make sure to include dad in your videos this Christmas!


  1. Take goofy photos

One year Dwight purchased “hillbilly teeth” as a gag for all of our stockings. The photos will live in infamy. From dress-up clothes to re-enactments of historical photos kids will enjoy letting go for the camera. Best to try this when the kids are younger. As they become teens, they’re much less likely to allow for such permanent historical record of such goofiness!


  1. Take a day off and give the gift of time to your child

Finally, the best gift you can give is that of time. Take a day off, turn off your cell phone, put away the tablet and spend the entire day with your child. No plans, just total enjoyment. Take lots of pictures and view them before you go to bed. You’ll have a smile on your face guaranteed.


–Updated from a piece originally printed in 2014.