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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Family Holiday Celebrations (Jan through March)

I have always loved a good excuse to celebrate. Sometimes the churn of the day to day and trying to keep up with schedules keeps me from having a plan to mark special days with my children. Here is a list of simple and fun ways to celebrate holidays with your children.

New Year’s Day – January 1st

The start of a new calendar year is a time to go out with the old and in with the new. This is a moment to encourage children to think about the future.

Toy Parade (Ages 1 – 3)

Have your child set up a parade of their favorite to least favorite toys throughout your home. You can do this bin by bin. Or you can set up distinct types of toys in different rooms. Talk to them about the toys at the end of the parade that need to be thrown out because they are broken. If the toys are in good condition but your child does not like them put those in a bin to donate. Be gentle and use your own judgement on including them in the throwing away or donating decision.

Create A Picture of the Future (Ages 4 – 7)

Use found items or parts and pieces from the recycle bin. Have you and your child each assemble the items onto a piece of cardboard or paper to create a picture of what they think the future will look like. Make sure you both write on the picture the year being represented. Talk about your pictures. Then, tuck them away to be pulled out and viewed … in the future.

Message in a Bottle (Ages 8 – 11)

You can use any clean and dry bottle. Each of you write a message to yourself. Then, write one to each other. Put the letters in the bottle. Place them in a safe place to read next New Year’s Eve.

Create a Vision Board (Ages 12+)

Use a piece of cardboard, paint, printouts, stickers, scrapbook paper, magazines, and markers. Each of you create a board with words and pictures that represent the things you would like to attract through the new year. Explain the boards to each other. Put them in a place where you can see them every day.

Martin Luther King Jr Day – January 16th

On this day we celebrate an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the United Sates. This holiday is a good day to celebrate diversity by giving of your time and talents.

Read a Book (Ages 1 – 3)

Read a book or story about Martin Luther King Jr.

Create a Dream Display (Ages 4 – 7)

On a piece of paper, you and your hold write out a dream or hope you have for yourselves, each other, your family, and then your community. Start each one with, “I have a dream.” Once you have your list create a picture and add those phrases to the picture.

Neighborhood Volunteer (Ages 8 – 11)

Reach out to your neighbors about any miscellaneous tasks they may need help with. We have found this can turn into helping an elderly neighbor change a few light bulbs. This can also turn into the neighbors all coming out into the street together to clean up trash and debris. This activity creates a sense of community for you and your child.

Attend a Community Event (Ages 12+)

There are many breakfasts and lunches on this day with speakers. Some of them have a registration fee. Some of them have a registration process but are free to the public. Attend one of these events together.

Valentine’s Day – February 14th

While this is a commercial holiday it is also an excuse to celebrate love with your children. There is already a barrage of candy, cards, and gifts that come from their schools and other activities.

Grandma and Grandpa Cards (Ages 1 – 3)

Use this as reason to have your child use their creativity and make a card for your child’s grandparents. It does not have to be a biological or legal grandparent. This could be an older neighbor, family friend, or caretaker.

Valentine For the Pets (Ages 4 – 7)

Take your child shopping for a special toy and treat they can give to your pets on Valentine's Day. There are also recipes online for pet safe treats you can make instead of shopping.

Kids Cook Night (Ages 8 – 11)

Have your children plan for, shop, and cook the Valentine's Day meal. This works best if you give them a budget and let them know on grocery shopping day that they will be doing the shopping. Help but take a backseat in the process and go along with their fun.

Parent / Child Date Night (Ages 12+)

Take some time and a special budget amount to go to a nice dinner. One of you picks the place for dinner. The other person picks the fun activity. Take an evening for some one-on-one time to just connect with each other. Put the parenting, schedules, and outside world to the side for an evening.

President’s Day – February 20th

Originally set up to celebrate our first president, George Washington, it is now a holiday to celebrate all past presidents.

Washington's Wig Photoshoot (Ages 1 – 3)

Make a Washington Wig and then have a photoshoot.

Write A Letter to The President (Ages 4 – 7)

Sit together and each write a letter to the president. I can be words of encouragement. It can be a request for change. It can be comments of thanks. Send the letters together.

Presidential Meal (Ages 8 – 11)

Research a few presidential favorite meals. Plan and cook one together.

Play Which President (Ages 12+)

Take turns researching facts about each president. Write them down on strips of paper and place them in a bowl. Take turns drawing out the facts and all guessing which president it applies to.

Saint Patrick’s Day – March 17th

This holiday celebrates Saint Patrick and the introduction of Christianity in Ireland. Across the United Sates this has become a day to celebrate many Irish traditions.

Shamrock Blessings (Ages 1 – 3)

Draw or print an outline of a Shamrock on a piece of paper. Talk with your child about three things they feel blessed to have. Write those words on the leaves of the Shamrock. Let them color in the picture.

Green Eggs and Ham (Ages 4 – 7)

Before sending the children off on their day add a little green food coloring to their scrambled eggs.

Attend a Parade (Ages 8 – 11)

Most communities have a local parade on or around Saint Patrick’s Day. Attend together.

Make Corned Beef and Cabbage (Ages 12+)

You can find the corned beef at your local market along with a head of cabbage. Allow your child to take the lead on preparing the meal.

I hope this list inspires you to start some new traditions within your family for the first part of the year. If you have traditions for these holidays, you enjoy doing together, share them in the comments below.

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