- Jingle some bells. Hang bells on your front door; make a video of the littlest ones singing Jingle Bells or Jingle Bell Rock. And don't forget the jingling Salvation Army bells. Not only can you donate, but many scout troops and church groups volunteer to ring those bells and collect donations, which is a great way for kids to help a good cause.
- Let the kids plan a Kids' Night In. They get to pick the menu and the activities, and be in charge of making the fun happen.
- Practice random acts of kindness. Encourage everyone to do something kind for someone else -- it could be clearing snow off the sidewalk for a neighbor, doing a family member's chore for them, or buying a soda for the person behind you in line.
- "Learn about the holiday celebrations of other cultures," suggests Liz. "Kids love all kinds of celebrations, and it can be magical to find out how other children around the world spend their holiday time."
- Make gifts to give friends, neighbors, teachers or coaches. You can make ornaments, baked goods, photo books, candles or pet treats.
- Plan holiday movie nights so you can enjoy the classics. From the funny to the touching, there are lots of ways to enjoy the silver screen's many tributes to the season.
- Experience The Nutcracker ballet. If you can't go to a live performance, try a recorded version on DVD or via Netflix or Hulu.
- Enjoy the great outdoors, even if it's cold. Play in the back yard, go to the park, ride your bikes, build a snowman, have a snowball fight, play flag football, soccer or ring-around-the-rosies.
- Declare a "Pajama Day" and let everyone hang out in pjs and slippers, and serve breakfast for dinner.
- Plan quiet time amid all the hustle and bustle of the season. Whether it's for naps, reading, unplugged time from all electronics, or just a day of not going anywhere, it's important to take time to recharge.
- If you leave cookies and milk for Santa, don't forget his reindeer. Carrots or homemade reindeer chow will give them energy for their long night's journey.
- Try a restaurant you've never been to before. If you're watching your budget, go at lunch time, when you can try smaller, lunch-size portions for less money.
- Keep track of Santa's journey around the world. "If you're a Santa fan," says Liz, "use resources like the NORAD Santa Tracker powered by Bing, available at www.NoradSanta.org, to follow his trip throughout the big day."
- Trim the tree together. Don't worry about the tree looking magazine perfect -- the point is to have fun, and the results will be a tree you can all be proud of.
- Let everyone unwrap one gift that will help get them in the holiday spirit. It could be a milk and cookie plate set for Santa, new holiday pjs or socks, or a holiday-themed book or CD.
- Volunteer to help those in need. Some families like to serve meals in soup kitchens, sort clothing or food donations, or collect and pack items for shelters or soldiers.
- Have a video game marathon with games the whole family can play.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood. Make it a scavenger hunt and look for certain holiday decorations, animals, cars and parts of nature.
- X marks the spot. Plan a treasure hunt in and around the house. Write clues that lead players from one place to the next until they find a special, hidden gift.
- Have some fun with yarn. Learn how to finger knit or crochet. Or make holiday decorations and crafts with yarn.
- Take a holiday trip to the zoo. Many zoos have special holiday displays and programs that let you celebrate the season wild-style.
You can search for more family fun for the holidays at www.bing.com.
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