20 Christmas Activities for the Empty-Nester!Thursday, December 04, 2014
For those of us who are “empty-nesters” Christmastime can be pretty nostalgic. I love Christmas, but now that our children are grown, so many of our family traditions have ended. Rather than getting maudlin and sad during the time of year that should be the most joyful of all, I decided to continue to make new traditions…but traditions for my husband and myself! We will still, of course, share Christmas with our grown children and family, but now, when we are often “just the two of us”, the following list is helping to make our empty-nest Christmas special!
1. Decorate the House – It is fun, festive, and it puts you in the holiday spirit!
2. Christmas Tree Hunting – Go to a Christmas tree farm and go “hunting”! It’s a fun way to be outside and do something together. There are many lots in the towns, but if you are close to an area where there are tree farms, I recommend it! Often the farms have festive music and hot cocoa available…and even hay rides!
3. Go on a Sleigh Ride – We don’t live where it snows, however just a short drive “up the hill” and we are at Lake Tahoe! One of my favorite memories from recent Christmases is taking a sleigh ride through the woods! Check the internet directory for places to do this near you!
4. Give Some of Yourself – Organizations such as Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots, Angel Tree or other charities are a great way to give back at Christmas!
5. Attend a Christmas Concert or Play – Local events are numerous at this time of year! Check your city’s online schedule or newspaper.
6. Community Activities - Watch a holiday parade or go to your local tree lighting ceremony!
7. Christmas Crafts – Crafts don’t have to be intricate, but there is something so “homey” about making a Christmas ornament, card or gift for someone! Check Pinterest for loads of ideas!
8. Advent Calendars – Besides the traditional Advent Calendars which count down each day in December until Christmas, you can make your own version! Each day you could do something nice for each other, read a particular scripture verse, or do a fun activity. Be creative!
9. Christmas Baking – There are so many great recipes out there to try! I like to make toffee to give out at Christmastime. I could never make candy when I was younger, but then I purchased an inexpensive candy thermometer and it became a cinch! (Silly me!) Baking Christmas cookies and decorating them as a couple is a lot of fun, too. Plus, it makes the house smell great!
10. Watch a Holiday Movie (or two or three…) - We have our favorite classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, “Elf” and “A Christmas Story”, but there are many others out there to choose.
11. Check Out a Christmas Store or Nursery - Local botanical gardens and many nurseries host Christmas events or open houses this time of year. There is a nursery about an hour away from us that is definitely worth the drive! They showcase thousands of different and unique Christmas decorations in a festive atmosphere. We like to follow up our browsing with lunch or dinner at a local eatery.
12. Find a Christmas Lights Tour in your area or simply drive through the many beautifully decorated neighborhoods near you! Some of the displays are pretty spectacular, but even the modest row of lights on a rooftop is festive!
13. Go on a Holiday House Tour – Many towns host holiday house tours where you can visit local homes that have been decorated (inside & out) for Christmas! This is a great way to get ideas for your own home!
14. Listen to Christmas Music – Turn on the radio, pop in a CD or make a Christmas favorites disk to listen to throughout the day…and in years to come!
15. Dress Up – Choose an evening to get dressed up in your holiday finest! Even if you don’t have a party to go to, put on an outfit that is usually saved for some special event. Have a nice meal in or a date night out! (Why not?)
16. Go To The Snow - There is something about playing in the snow that puts me in the Christmas mood! Even though I’m an adult, going sledding, making snowmen or snow angels and throwing snowballs is a lot of fun! For those who want a bit more exercise, try snow shoeing! While out, collect pinecones to add to your Christmas decorations!
17. Cook a Meal Together – Choose something fun, easy, but festive. Homemade pizza is always a good choice, or make a meal of hors d'oeuvres! If you have a fireplace, pull the table over and eat by the hearth!
18. Have a Bonfire - Bundle up, sit outside around a fire pit and watch the stars. Bring hot cocoa, cider or other hot beverage – a hot toddy? (Be sure to check your local fire restrictions for the day.)
19. Window Shop – Go to the historic part of your town (or one nearby) and enjoy the atmosphere! Quite often the shop keepers go all out when it comes to decorating and adding to the Christmas mood!
20. Remember Why We’re Celebrating – Most important of all, remember why we are celebrating this season! Attend a candlelight service, read the book of Luke, develop your relationship with Christ, and thank God for His gift of Jesus our Savior!