5 Easy (and Inexpensive) Ways to Get the Whole Family in the Holiday Spirit

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...but so is the thought of sitting inside in front of the TV all day. In need of an easy, screentime-free way to get your whole gang in the holiday spirit? We’ve got you covered. Better yet, they won’t break the gift-buying bank. Here, five ways to get your family fa-la-la-ing their way through December (no phones or laptops in sight).

Hanna Andersson

1. Suit Up In Family Pj's And Make Hot Cocoa

There’s no place like home for the holidays, especially when you’re all cuddled up in matching pj’s. Instead of doing it for the ’Gram (although, no judgment here), getting decked out in coordinated jammies and brewing (er, microwaving) some hot cocoa with marshmallows is an easy, no-planning-required way to boost holiday cheer for your whole clan. We’re loving these “Dear Deer” patterned pj’s from Hanna Andersson (aka the original family pajama purveyors). They’re made from soft organic cotton, and you can snag them with or without the reindeer hat. Obviously, we highly suggest “with.” They come in baby sizes 0-3 months up to adult XXL, and everything in between (yes, including for your four-legged friend).

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2. Hold A Cookie Decorating Night

Got flour, sugar and butter? You’re well on your way to a festive cookie decorating night. Grab a bit of food coloring and some red and green sprinkles on your way home from work, round up your little Picasso(s) and bake, bake, bake away (try one of our favorite recipes, here). Voilà: artfully decorated Christmas cookies as gifts for the neighbors—and some for Santa, of course.


3. Write Letters To Santa (but With A Giving Twist)

What do kids love more than opening presents? TBH, not much. Get them to narrow down their list for Santa by setting up a “letter-writing station” (paper, envelopes and some red and green pens are all you need). You can even add some stipulations, like they can only list their top four asks (one “want,” one “need,” one “wear,” one “read”) or make it a rule that they have to include a charity they want “Santa” to donate to in their name, so they know the big day isn’t all about what’s under the tree.

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4. Take A (free) Lights Tour

Sure, you could pay for some official tour of holiday lights, but why not make your own? Take a walk through your neighborhood (or drive to one that’s well known for its spectacular decorations), turn on the Christmas music (or play it over your phone, if you’re walking) and take in the bright lights and wide smiles that’ll be sure to accompany your own little sightseeing excursion.

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5. Start Your Own Family Tradition

Whether it’s screening old home movies or breaking out the boxes of photo albums (nope, not the online kind...we know, we’re ancient), start a family tradition that you can follow through with each year. We love the idea of flipping through black-and-white photographs and old disposable camera prints of loved ones, reminiscing on—gasp—the pre-Netflix days and sparking kids’ curiosity about their parents’ pre-Mom-and-Dad years, as well as the lives of their ancestors. (We know we said less TV, but if you finished the tradition with a screening of Elf, we definitely wouldn’t object.)