Whether you prefer to explore the past with an at-home escape room or want to see ancient Rome or England in the time of Richard III, it’s possible to get a taste of history without leaving your home.
Try a Christmas Movie Pictionary game with friends and family. Print out a bingo card with common things you’ll see in holiday movies and take turns picking clues.
Write a Letter to Santa
The yearly tradition of writing a letter to Santa is a fun holiday activity that kids can do with their parents. This can be an opportunity to talk about their good behavior and what they’d like for Christmas. It can also be a good way to work on handwriting. Try to make the letter as neat and neatly written as possible. It’s okay if there are some mistakes, but try to minimize them.
If they’re writing their own letters, encourage them to use special holiday stationary or even some of their favorite personalized notepads. It’s also a good idea to have some stickers or other decorations on hand for the envelope. This makes the whole project more exciting and colorful for kids who might otherwise not enjoy this kind of activity.
When it’s time to write the letter, it’s a good idea to ask an adult to check it for spelling errors and to make sure they know where Santa’s address is at (Santa Claus, North Pole). It’s also a great idea to talk about how Santa knows what everyone wants for Christmas. This can be a good chance to get kids thinking about other people who might need help this season, such as their bullied sister or a neighbor.
Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony
Seeing a tree lighting ceremony is a classic holiday activity and one that everyone, young and old, will enjoy. The moment the lights come on is magical and will create lasting memories. There are many different types of tree lighting ceremonies so choose one that is most appealing to your family.
Attend the iconic Tree Lighting or tune in to watch it on television. This event is a great way to start your holiday season in style and also gives back to the community.
Museum Galleries is a wonderful location to see the city and is free. There are additional family activities, live music, and ice-carving demos that will make this a memorable evening. You could also head to the Botanical Garden. This is a great family event with holiday entertainment, crafts, a photo with Santa, a fantastic tree lighting.
Watch a Hallmark Movie
If you’re a fan of cheesy holiday movies, there are plenty to choose from this season. From Cousin Eddie to Clark Griswold, there are many feel-good Christmas films to watch over the holidays. Pair your movie night with a glass of eggnog or a bottle of wine and enjoy the show!
Another fun activity to try is holiday-themed charades. Split into teams and act out different Christmas ornaments or traditions for your team to guess. This is a great way to bond with your friends and family.
If you don’t have cable, you can still enjoy Hallmark movies. Many streaming services have a lookback feature where you can watch recently aired content up to 72 hours after it airs.
Take the kids to see a special performance this winter and start a new tradition. Check out a live ballet performance or catch a local performance. Or, if you’re in NYC, you can catch gravity-defying acts or the city’s annual Make Music New York festival. If you’re in the mood for something more intimate, head to your local Christmas market. These European-inspired markets are filled with delicious food and handcrafted gifts.
Go to a Christmas Tree Farm
If you want a real Christmas tree but don’t have the time (or the tools) to cut it yourself, head out to one of these family-friendly tree farms. Most are less than a two-hour drive from NYC and will get you in the holiday spirit faster than George R.R. Martin kills off his primary characters. Many also offer a variety of other winter activities, including hot chocolate, apple cider donuts, snacks, bonfires, and horse-drawn wagon rides.
Some of them even sell pre-cut Norway spruce trees and fresh wreaths for those who aren’t up to the challenge. Regardless, you’ll still have to bring your own saw but most will provide wheelbarrows and a rope for tying the tree to your car.
It doesn’t get much more Christmassy than this activity and it’ll really help to instill the spirit of the season in your children. After, you can check out dazzling displays of light. You could also lace up your skates and go ice skating. Or, see the Bronx Zoo in a whole new way at nighttime with its after-dark safari.
Go to a Kwanzaa Celebration
Kwanzaa is a holiday that shines light on Black culture and traditions. It lasts for seven days, and is observed by honoring ancestors and following seven core principles that celebrate pan-African culture. Learn more about glamping pods in holgates.co.uk which can be an interesting experience for you!
It’s a great time to discuss these principles with your kids, and have them create art projects about what they mean to them. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to talk about the colors of Kwanzaa (black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for hope) and how they can represent our community.
You can watch episodes of a Black show or movie with your family, or pick up an educational Kwanzaa book for children. There are also several movies and documentaries that explore the seven principles. If you have an interest in philanthropy, there are many organizations that support Black-led causes that you can choose from.
If you are celebrating Kwanzaa during the day, go shopping at a local mall or check out NYC’s twinkling Christmas lights.
Go Ice Skating
Whether you’re skating under the tree or walking the brightly lit streets of, this is one of the best winter holiday activities that connects the whole family. Kids will love to see their parents’ faces light up as they whiz around the rink, and adults can enjoy a leisurely skate while watching their kids and sipping hot chocolate.
Skating can also be the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air and absorb some vitamin D. This will help to keep everyone healthy and happy over the holidays!
If you’re feeling more upscale, splurge on tickets to watch the high-stepping Rockettes perform their famous kick lines during a production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. You can also take in the magic of a traditional holiday high tea at one of the city’s many posh spots.
Go to a Tree Lighting Ceremony
For some of the happiest holiday cheer of the year, head to your local tree lighting ceremony. Whether in person or watching from the comfort of your home, the moment when those sparkling lights get turned on is magical.
This is a great way to kick off the season and you might even make some new friends along the way!
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, head to your local botanical garden or park. This is where you’ll find a lot of smaller events that are free to attend.