family fun

Family Activities: Nontraditional Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

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Fun family activities can give extra life to your holiday traditions. The holidays, as wonderful as they are, can also be a time of stress, even heartache and difficulty. While they are good occasions to give thanks for what we have - remember the birth of Jesus with Christmas or celebrate family and culture with Kwanzaa, and make pledges at the new year - they can be bittersweet reminders of lost loved ones or easier times.

For my family, Christmas is both a time to make gingerbread houses and remember my husband's brother Mark who passed away at this time four years ago. I strive to honor his memory by adding a little bit of zaniness to our typical celebrations because that's what Mark did when he was here. The Hughes family has a zany Thanksgiving tradition they started after losing one of their family members. I look forward to doing our own version of it at Christmas.

This is for any of you who will be attending large family gatherings at which large quantities of food will be prepared and consumed. If you have kids of any age who will be trying to entertain themselves while the Christmas turkey or ham is cooking, why not keep them busy with dying eggs? In reds and greens? The Hughes kids dye about 50 of them, and a few plastic eggs with cash inside are added. Someone hides the eggs and then it's a mad dash to see who can recover the most eggs!

The best part is it's not just for the kids. After the kids hunt, they hide eggs for the adults and then the adults make the mad dash. The plastic eggs in this hunt hold slightly larger denominations, and the frenzy is that much more intense!

This could be done outdoors or indoors and with family members of all ages. It's something different to do this time of year, for anyone who's striving to mix things up or remember a special person. Happy holidays!

What are your untraditional holiday traditions? What makes them special for you and your family?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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