40 Ways to Create Memories this Winter

Amanda van Mulligen

WaterAid America - our December sponsorWhen I think back to my childhood Christmases, it’s not the gifts I remember (except the red television hidden in the attic), it’s the fact that we were together as a family. It’s the festive traditions that flood my mind – the mince pies for breakfast, the Christmas pudding set alight with brandy, the pantomimes.

It’s what I keep in the forefront of my mind now that I have three children of my own. My sons get gifts for Christmas, but, more importantly, they also get a month of moments and activities that I hope they will cherish as adults when looking back on their own childhood Christmases.

Each year I fill 24 envelopes with activities to do with my children, along with a little chocolate or candy, which my three sons take in turn each day to open. I also capture each of our December days in a Christmas journal with words and photos. December is without a doubt the most special of months for me.

Here are 40 activity ideas to create long-lasting childhood memories during these precious December days:

Decorate a gingerbread house together.

Read a Christmas story by candlelight.

Take a nighttime walk in your neighborhood with homemade lanterns, glass jar candle-holders, or torches.

Attend a carol concert.

Eat dinner picnic-style around the Christmas tree.

Write down a Christmas wish and hang it on the Christmas tree.

Have a family holiday movie night with popcorn and treats.

Eat dinner by candlelight.

Have a family photo session with fun Christmas props – let your children be the ones behind the camera.

Bake cookies together.

Go ice-skating.

Attend a Christmas fair.

Have a toy clear out and donate to those less fortunate than you.

Make a Christmas cake together.

Make salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree that you can use year after year.

Decorate your garden with lights.

Toast marshmallows on an open fire in your garden.

Donate food to your local food bank.

Have a game night.

Make fat balls or seed cakes and hang them in your garden for the birds.

Make a gift for grandparents or friends.

Learn about a celebration of a different faith or culture than your own.

Make paper snowflakes.

Go stargazing and make a wish on a star.

Decorate a Christmas tree.

Dance and sing to holiday music: turn up the volume, the crazier, the better.

Make holiday cards to send to loved ones.

Color in or draw festive or winter pictures together.

Make a table centerpiece for your Christmas meal.

Take a drive to look at the holiday lights in your neighborhood.

Sit around a fire outside, wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves, and drink hot chocolate (or gluhwein for the adults).

Offer help or your company to an elderly neighbor.

Cook a meal for a friend or neighbor with a newborn baby.

Write a letter to Santa.

Prepare a traditional meal or dessert from a different country.

Make a paper chain.

Go out for frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Learn a holiday song in a different language.

Go as a family to some place you’ve never been before.

Make a Christmas box for the children to open on Christmas Eve: fill it with a Christmas DVD, hot chocolate sachets, popcorn, new pajamas. Make bedtime extra special on the evening Santa visits.



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A wonderful list of things to do with kids to give them a magical winter.

40 Ways to Create Memories this Winter was written by Amanda van Mulligen exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.

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Amanda van Mulligen is a British expat who has made the Netherlands her home. She has three Dutch sons who are tinged with Britishness, and a purebred Dutch husband. She is also a published author, freelance writer, and blogger. She scribbles about her experiences raising highly sensitive children at Happy Sensitive Kids and about her expat way of loving, living, and parenting at Expat Life with a Double Buggy.