Some ideas for holiday activities that are fun with your children when they are home from school:

Get an amaryllis and watch it grow. You can measure it and keep track or you can just enjoy it as it shoots up and eventually blooms. Paperwhites are nice too. They don’t even need soil. Just put the bulb on pebbles.

Eat satsuma oranges which are the last of the truly seasonal fruit. Save the peels and have your child cut them up. It is great for their fine motor control and you can add them to potpourri (or your martini!)

Make a pomander–poke holes in an orange and have your child insert the pointy end of cloves. Smells lovely.

Feed the birds. A birdfeeder near a window is better than television.

String popcorn and cranberries for the tree or the birds.

Make paper chains.

If it is really cold outside, leave out some various sized containers of water. Ice is magical!

Play I spy with the decorations in your house. I spy a bear and a bicycle on the Christmas tree. I spy something green on the mantel.  How many snowmen do you see?

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, don’t feel bad about celebrating winter! Most of the holiday traditions we embrace have little to do with Christianity. People were bringing in greenery and decorating with lights long before the birth of Christ.

Have a secret Santa day (or call it something else if you want). The idea is to do nice things for people without letting them catch you. It is about being sneakily thoughtful.  Really fun between siblings.

Sit down with your child and write some heartfelt cards to people who least expect it. What makes them happy? When my kids were little, Lily wrote a note to the people down the street who had a bassett hound which made her happy whenever she saw it. And once it escaped from their yard and came to our house. She wrote a thank you note to them…for having Alice.

If you use pennies for the dreidel game, have your kids polish them so you have really shiny pennies.  A small bowl of salt, some lemon wedges, and some small cloths.  Lots of rubbing and the pennies get amazingly bright.

Build a fire.  In a fire place or in the barbecue outside.  A great solstice tradition is to whisper your wish for the coming year into a piece of paper or a sage leaf and throw it into the fire.


I will continue to add holiday ideas and tips throughout the next few weeks.  Enjoy the holiday season.  Try not to get too caught up in hectic schedules.  The origin of wreaths on our doors at this time of year dates back to when people would take the wheel off their cart and hang it up to remind them not to work or go anywhere during the sacred time.  Maybe just for a day or two–stay home, enjoy each other.

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