Nothing binds a family together like special occasions. The unique traditions you embrace for Christmas, Easter, and even birthdays and anniversaries help define your family identity. But why settle for just a handful of holidays? Any day, any event can become a cause for fun if you put your mind to it. You can plan ahead for a special occasionlike the day Mom and Dad metor surprise the kids with an impromptu celebrationlike a day of kite flying in honor of the first day of Spring (March 20). Here are some other suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:
Our Day: Choose a date that has special meaning to your family such as the day you moved into your home, Grandma and Grandpa's anniversary, or the day you found out you were going to be parents for the first time. Develop your own family Olympiad complete with fun competitions, cheap prizes, and an over-the-top opening ceremony (keep a record of the events and winners from year to year). Make a family flag and fly it outside your house. Or simply go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant and reminisce about your best family memories. Let your kids come up with ideas and they'll be more likely to participate.
Caroling the Critters: Find two or three other families with school-age children and plan an annual December day at the zoo. En route, read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and practice favorite Christmas carols. Once there, serenade the animals, especially those whose ancestors might have been part of the original Christmas storydonkeys, camels, sheep, goats, etc. Bundle up and bring a thermos of hot chocolate to keep your little singers warm and happy. And don't forget to take a picture to send out with your Christmas cards.
Vacation Video-thon: Inject a little summer sun into the winter doldrums of February with a night of home movies from summers past. Encourage everyone to wear shorts and T-shirts. Kick things off with an indoor picnic of burgers, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon (if you can get it), lemonade, and ice cream cones for dessert. Then it's lights, camera, action! Pause the video from time to time to share special memories and start talking about your plans for the coming summer.
Back-to-School Blast-off: Close out the first day of school with a backyard cookout. Have each person write down his or her hopes for the coming year. Stick these notes in an envelope and tuck them away until the end of the school year, then read them together as a family at your end-of-the-year celebration.
End-of-School Extravaganza: Camp out in the living room. Pull out your sleeping bags and pile onto the floor (cheap air mattresses can make it a little more comfy for Mom and Dad). Play board games, watch a favorite video, and turn out all the lights and tell silly stories by flashlight. If your kids are a little older, make a midnight run to your favorite drive-thru window with everyone in their jammies.
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