The holiday season is often a very busy time for most people. We get so busy that we lose track of what’s important – like our family. Some of my best memories are from the holidays because it was one time of the year that we made an effort to do things together. Decorating the Christmas tree was one the activities that we enjoyed doing together. Make some memories for your family by making Christmas tree decorating a shared activity. Just follow these steps and your family will end up with a beautiful tree – and lots of great memories.
Don’t try to do everything in one day. You wouldn’t have enough time and if you tried, you’d end up with a memory of being stressed out! A large part of the fun is all the preparation for decorating the tree.
Decide on the Decorations
It can be fun to decide on a theme for the tree decorations. It could be a specific theme, like music or science, or it could be a general theme, like old-fashioned, modern, or just random. It could even be a family theme, one that reflects the interests and characters of each member of the family. Fix some hot chocolate, gather the family together, and have fun considering the possibilities. If you’re going to make decorations, you might want to make the decision at least one week before you put the tree up so that the family has time to make the decorations.
Shop for Decorations (Optional)
Once the family has decided on how to decorate the tree, spend a few hours shopping for decorations. Give each child a small amount of money to spend on one tree ornament. Encourage your children to find an ornament related to the theme, but stress that the idea is to have everyone contribute to the tree. Tell them that the tree should be a reflection of the family. Any ornament your children picks will be special because it is a reflection of their interests. You can even make selecting an ornament a family tradition. When the children are grown, you’ll have a tree full of memories!
Make Some Decorations
If you want to make some ornaments, set aside one day when the whole family can make something for the tree. You might need a couple of days, since some need more time. The string ornaments need to dry overnight and you might want to make cookies one day and decorate them another day. Here are some ideas for ornaments:
Salt Dough Decorations
(Kids can make any shape, like wreaths, crowns or even musical notes.)
(Yes, these can be used as decorations!)
Popcorn (and Cranberry) Garland
(This one takes two days since they need to dry overnight.)
Get Your Tree
Going out for the Christmas tree was one of my favorite holiday activities. There was something special about the whole family choosing a tree together. Today many people have artificial trees, so getting the tree means getting it out of storage. Whether you go out to buy a tree or get the artificial tree out of storage, keep the kids involved. If you’re putting up an artificial tree, let the kids help as much as they can. For example, let the kids take the branches out of the box and hand them to you or take them out yourself and put them in piles. Then have the kids hand them to you.
Put on Some Christmas Music and Get a Place Ready for the Decorations
Put on some Christmas music to help create the festive mood. Everyone can sing along to Christmas Carols adding to the fun. To make it easier for everyone to decorate the tree, determine where to put the various decorations. If you have a card table and room for it, you could set it up and put some of the ornaments on that. Or you could designate the couch and chairs as places for the decorations. It’s not a good idea to put them on the floor since it’s too easy to trip over them or step on them.
Decorate the Tree
Unless your tree is one of those artificial ones with built-in lights, you’ll have to put the lights on before you put on any ornaments. Even young kids can help with this. They can hold the string of lights and walk around the tree with you as you hang the lights on the branches. If you have more than one child, one can help with the lights while the others get the decorations and put them in their designated places.Once the lights are up and the decorations are conveniently located near the tree, the family can start putting them on the tree. Don’t worry about a perfect tree. Just have fun!
Enjoy the Tree!
Take a picture of the kids and maybe even the whole family in front of the tree. If you take a picture every year, you’ll end up with a wonderful visual family Christmas tree history! Then make some hot chocolate or hot cider and sit around the tree to enjoy your handiwork. Sing a few more Carols and enjoy the memories you are creating.