Making “Decking the Halls” Fun!

Making your home all festive and cozy is one of the best things about Christmas. This year, take advantage of this item on the to-do list by turning it into a fun family time! Here are our favorite tips for making trimming the tree a blast for all ages:

1.  Prepare ahead of time.

Do a little prep work to get ready for tree-trimming night. Get the artificial tree out of the attic, or find out where you’ll be purchasing your live tree. If going to pick out the live tree is part of your family fun, great! If not, get it to the house and safely placed in a stand, with lights strung, before you ask the kids to come hang ornaments, as this can be a more difficult, time-consuming chore that small children wouldn’t want to wait through.

2.  Bake up something tasty.

Anything is more fun with some holiday snacks, so bake some family favorites and brew up some hot cocoa to warm up your crew.  Let your kids take some of the goodies and put them on a plate for Santa, along with a letter they can write to the big guy.

3.  Turn on the tunes.

Set the mood with some great Christmas music. The traditional crooners (Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, etc.) are always great, and don’t forget to add Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to your playlist.

4.  Light a fire.

A crackling fire in the fireplace makes a winter evening seem special. So get a blaze going on the hearth to warm hearts and hands. Too warm in your zip code? Try a few candles in great Christmas scents.

5.  Make some home-spun decorations.

Kids of all ages will enjoy stringing popcorn or cranberries on sturdy string for garland. If you didn’t do the lights ahead of time, this might be a great way to keep little hands busy during that portion of the tree trimming.

6.  Give the little ones some freedom.

Yes, we know your preschooler will put 82 ornaments on the bottom two feet of the tree. It will look goofy. But let them do it, and just redistribute ornaments after they go to bed. Magazine perfection is not the goal here, anyway. Relationships and memories take priority on tree-trimming night!

7.  Develop some traditions.

Some families have particular ornaments that are special to each child that they put on the tree themselves.  You can also take a photo of your kids and put it in an ornament.  If you want to make your own, just glue it to an old Christmas card, punch a hole in the top and hang it on the tree. Rotate the honor of placing the star on top each year.

8.  Consider a “Kids’ Tree”.

If your living room calls for a more formal Christmas tree, your family might have a second tree in a den or playroom that is all about the kids and their handmade ornaments. This is a great place to use the garland mentioned in #5.

9.  Give your tree some meaning.

Gather round the tree and read the Christmas story from the Gospel.  Take the opportunity to remind your family of the deeper meaning of the tradition of decorating an evergreen tree: the evergreen branches which retain their beautiful color even through the harshest winter are representative of the eternal life Christians have through faith in Christ. They’ll never look at the tree, or those beautiful wreaths and garland, the same way again.