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21 Days to a More Organized Christmas: Plan Ahead to Make Memories

Have you ever gotten to the end of December and looked back and realized it all went by in such a blur that you spent very little time doing the activities and projects you had hoped to do? That’s been me many years. I’ll have great ambitions, but I never make a plan, so nothing happens. And before I know it, Christmas is over.

Christmas Card Popsicle Stick Puzzles (Excuse the peanut butter smeared on the table! :))

Growing up, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. It wasn’t the presents or food as much as it was the special activities–making cookies and taking them to the neighbors, making homemade gifts, opening the advent calendar each night, reading Christmas books together, listening to Christmas music, making Christmas cookies, and so many other things.

I want my children to look back on the Christmas season and have some of the same fond memories. But just wanting that to happen isn’t enough; I have to intentionally plan ahead to make those memories happen.

Button Christmas Tree Activity from the Christmas Busy Bag Box

With this in mind, at the end of November, we took some time as a family to think what activities we really wanted to do this Christmas. Each family member got to choose 3-4 activities and we typed them up into a Master List. Once we had the list made, Jesse and I sat down with our calendar and planned when we were going to do each activity.

Decorate a Snowman Project from the Christmas Busy Bag Box (Download a free printable template here.)

We spread the activities out over the course of December so we could enjoy them more. I’m guessing some things will come up and we might not get to every single activity, but having it all planned out ahead of time is definitely going to guarantee that we do a number of fun, meaningful, and memorable family activities this Christmas.

If you’re looking for some ideas of special activities to plan for Christmas, be sure to check out my post with 6 Fun and Inexpensive Christmas Activities for Kids and my post with Six Free Printables for Advent.

What special activities do you have planned for the Christmas season?

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  • We’re putting up our Christmas decorations this week, and that is always a fun time and a Christmas tradition. We make a fun little afternoon out of it with hot cider or hot chocolate, some easy Christmas cookies, Christmas music playing and everyone pitching in to help. It is something we all look forward to year after year.

  • Deb says:

    Love the concept….(I have found myself so many times wishing that I had more “fun time” with my kids over the holidays) ….only my kids are a few years to old for these activites. ( they are 8 and 10)

  • Silas is getting so big and so darn cute! 🙂
    Right now, our schedule is pretty calm, but there are still a few things that aren’t planned, so I’m waiting to hear when those will be.
    Planning on reading lots of Christmas books, doing some baking, and I should probably start wrapping all the presents (plus that would help clear out our storage room!)

  • Chas says:

    We always make a list of activities and I fill the advent calendar so that they fit well into our schedule. On busier nights we might read a Christmas book together, we have Christmas movie nights, we write letters to cousins far away, etc, but the favorite activity here is fondue night for dinner (chocolate fondue of course). If you dip fruit it even makes it a little healthy. The kids love opening the advent calendar every day!!

  • Julia says:

    We’re doing weekly Advent readings, having family movie nights with classic Christmas films (like A Christmas Carol and The Nativity Story), and for the first time have given our kids a gift allowance, with which they are to select gifts for one another.

    As for hands-on activities, we’re going to make and decorate Christmas cookies, and we have planned a family outing to a local shop where we will paint our own ceramic Christmas ornaments as keepsakes.

  • Trina says:

    I love these idaes. The ‘busy box’ looks like a wonderful tool for my 3 year old twins.

  • Stephanie says:

    I’d love to see your activity calendar! Would you mind sharing some of the things you have planned?

  • We’re relaxing this Christmas season and focusing on our Advent activities and making gifts for family. We’ll be traveling around Christmas so that will be a little bit of a change.

  • april says:

    i love the popcicle and card puzzle!

  • Holly says:

    We did the same thing for my hubby and I… we made a list and then, since he has meetings come up last minute sometimes and our plans change, I put each activity on a mini post-it note cut to the size of a calendar square. I wrote in pen events we can’t change (like I have class every Tuesday night and we both have youth group on Wednesday night) and then fit in the activities that seemed to be a good match with what was already happening, but since they’re post-its, I can still change it again if need be.

  • Anne Munro says:

    Crystal, we did the same thing with our calendar this year! There’s so much I’d like to share with the kids and putting it on the calendar means we’re much more likely to do it. We don’t have cable, so I even wrote in our TV favorites like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” so we wouldn’t miss them.

    The children were so excited when I asked them to list their favorite activities and (reminder to Mom!) many of them only cost my time (baking cookies, walking the neighborhood to admire light displays, etc.) The kids frequently check to see what’s coming up. An unexpected bonus is that they often help each other through their chores so we can get out the door faster. Love it!

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