The 12 Days of Happy Kids Christmas

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share some of our family traditions and favorite activities. This is our 12 Days of Christmas, Happy Kids style.

1. Create a new tradition: Each year, add to your holiday plans with your family. Whether it’s making a gingerbread house, gathering food to donate to your local food bank, or going Christmas caroling, make time to feel festive.

2. Make treats for Santa: Go beyond the standard cookie fare, search for some fresh treat ideas. We are particularly keen on Giada’s Strawberry Santas and these cinnamon apple chips.

3. See Christmas lights: Whether you like to stroll through neighborhoods or head to the big light events, now’s the best time to see them sparkle. Make sure to check out Borst Park Drive-Thru in Centralia, the Viewpoint neighborhood in Federal Way or the Enchant Christmas Lights in T-Mobile Park in Seattle. And don’t forget to watch for us at the Centralia Lighted Tractor Parade this weekend!

4. Play in the snow: Washington has some great places for fresh powder to snowshoe, ski or even build a snowman! Check out areas like Snoqualmie Summit, Suncadia Resort, Hyak Sno-Park, Stevens Pass Ski Resort, Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park and Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.

5. Plan a family photo shoot: Even if you can’t hire a professional photographer, there are many portrait-worthy photo ops this season. Have a friend grab your phone, put it in Portrait mode and snap a family photo while you’re out to see Santa, play in the snow or just at home in the kitchen.

6. Family ice skating: Depending on where you live, this might be a journey for you to adventure to! But, it’s one item that’s worth checking off your wish list. If you’re in southern Washington, check out the rink at Lloyd Center in Portland. For those closer to Seattle, check out Frozen Fountain Ice Rink in Tacoma, and Oly on Ice in Olympia.

7. Write a letter to Santa: Did you know that when you send your letter through Macy’s, they will donate $1 on your behalf to Make-A-Wish Foundation?

8. Host a craft party: Whether this is for your family and kids, or a night with your friends, this is a great way to feel festive, decorate your house or make holiday gifts. We love Crazy Little Projects simple craft projects.

9. Curl up with hot chocolate and your favorite Christmas movie: There are so many holiday classics, it’s hard to pick a favorite. We love Elf, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story and Home Alone! After a busy day or work and school, sometimes the best thing to do is to make hot chocolate and popcorn and turn on a movie!

10. Make ornaments: Take your crafting to the next level. We like Country Living’s list of easy holiday decorations.

11. Volunteer: Not only is this a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, but it’s a great learning opportunity to teach children the importance of giving to others. Some of our favorite Washington organizations include the Greater Chehalis Food Bank, Cowlitz County CASA in Longview and Federal Way Salvation Army.

12. See a festive play: Grab tickets soon! The Columbia Theatre in Longview is showing The Christmas Carol on Dec. 23, Federal Way PAEC has a variety of shows throughout the month, and the Evergreen Playhouse in Chehalis is playing Scrooge.