Guest post from Alex and Cassie of The Thrifty Couple
We love the Christmas season! There seems to be so many more opportunities to share, give, love, and enjoy others during Christmas time than any other time of the year.
With that, we love to find unique opportunities for more family time — giving us more quality time with our kids while doing something valuable. So we take this time of year to combine three of our favorite things: reading, time with family, and opportunity to share with one another.
Last year we implemented a 12 Days of Christmas book reading idea. This year we are doing the same with a count-down to Christmas in a slightly different way.
Normally each week we try to reserve one night per week where we play board games and share a fun snack… and this year, we are combining it with our Christmas Countdown!
The rules are simple:
- No electronics of any kind during this time (no television, no cellphones, tablets, etc.) – We unplug for a couple of hours to truly savor the time with one another.
- Everyone participates – No excuses. Every member of the family is expected to reserve this family time and have all chores, homework, and other tasks completed so they can join the family.
- Kindness rules – The intent of this activity is to enjoy quality time with our family. As such, we encourage kindness to siblings, patience with the younger children, and a servant heart to help with small tasks before, during and after the activity.
- Everyone engages – Just because a family member is present doesn’t mean they are really engaging with the family. This really ties in to our other rules as well (no checking social media on phones, everyone having a servant heart) but really is meant to guard our family from breaking those rules. Its only when we are fully intentional that we find the most benefit – and blessing – by fully enjoying one another’s company. And yes, everyone helps set-up, clean-up and play!
Here’s what we are doing:
Each night, there is a gift under the tree — most of the time, it is a book. This book is either new, or it could even be an old, forgotten book from our bookshelves. Each night, a different child unwraps the book and then we all sit and read it aloud together.
Then one night per week, there are a few gifts under the tree: a new (or old and forgotten) game and possibly the non-perishable parts of that night’s snack. For example, one night we wrapped gluten-free waffle cones and popcorn seeds. We made the popcorn and ate them out of the waffle cones while we played games. If you’re ever lacking ideas, don’t forget that Pinterest is a valuable resource for healthier, easy, themed snacks!
This has been an amazing, eye-opening, memory building experience for our family. We have intentionally taken a little bit of time each day during this very busy season to slow-down, relish our kids’ joy and enthusiasm for life, nurture their love of books in an electronic world, and to garner precious time together as a family.
Perhaps give a version of this a try in your family and see how relationships bloom and grow. Then, after the Christmas season, transform this countdown into a convenient excuse to set aside one night a week that is electronic-free and dedicated for valuable and fun family time! It is truly one of our most favorite nights of the week!
Alex and Cassie are a Christ-loving, homeschooling, busy, family of 8 and in their “free-time”, they co-blog at The Thrifty Couple, founded after they dug themselves out of over $100,000 of consumer debt. They share debt-free, frugal living and financial ideas along with DIY, recipes and other unique ideas for creative and intentional living.