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Game Plan for Kids

Consider these five tips for getting kids involved in holiday traditions.

The holiday season is a magical time of year filled with cherished traditions that bring families together. And while gift-giving is one of the most beloved customs (especially for children), it can sometimes overshadow the true spirit of the season. Here are a few festive winter activities that focus on quality time together and spreading joy.

1. Spread joy with kid-created cards. According to a recent survey from, nearly 90 percent of Americans say that season’s greetings bring them joy; and 92 percent say they specifically enjoy kids’ homemade cards. This year, teach kids about spreading cheer—with the Creatacard app for iPad. The easy-to-use app from American Greetings allows kids to create, color and customize cards using virtual tools, including markers, photo frames, stamps and and stickers. Once complete, the greeting can be sent via e-mail, text, or on social media.

2. Quality time in the kitchen. Kids love sweet treats, so start involving them with baking and decorating traditional holiday goodies. In addition to being an excellent way to spend time together as a family, the tradition teaches them cooking basics, like reading recipes and measuring ingredients. Be sure to make it fun with plenty of frosting and sprinkles, or even add some competition with a decorating contest. You can also pair this activity with a cozy movie night or deliver treats to neighbors and family members to teach the importance of kindness and giving.

3. Deck the halls. A perfect holiday tradition for the whole family to get involved in is the Christmas tree. Whether it’s a trip to pick out a real tree or setting up an artificial one, you can make it an adventure from set-up to decoration. Plus, crafting homemade ornaments each year is the perfect kid contribution. Not only will they take pride in their creations, but each year will spark a bit of holiday nostalgia.

4. Interactive Christmas countdown. According to a recent survey, what do 94 percent of Americans say increases the excitement of the holiday season? Advent calendars. But this year, skip the paper versions and get the whole family engaged with the interactive Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. The unique virtual calendar offers breathtaking illustrations of a fictional English country estate with exciting features unlocked daily in December. From a scavenger hunt to music, daily gifts, animated stories, books, games, creative activities, puzzles, and so much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and look forward to each day of the season.

5. Teach the spirit of giving. While it can sometimes be easier to do the holiday shopping yourself, involving kids in gift-giving can teach them the thoughtfulness behind selecting meaningful gifts. If you have a large family, consider a Secret Santa where everyone shops for one specific family member. This is also a good opportunity to help kids make homemade gifts with more sentimental value. For an added lesson, explain how to follow a budget and count money when at the store.

By incorporating these tips into your holiday traditions, you will create lasting memories, instill valuable lessons and celebrate the joy of giving with your family.