Family photo compliments of the Grand Rapids Press

Hello dear friends! 🙂

Happy Christmas Vacation to you! I’m so excited to have my gang home for 2 weeks. I hope you’ll understand ~ but I’m going to take some time off from *She Sparkles*. The kids and I have many fun Christmas Vacation adventures planned, and I want to give them my full attention!

(I hope you’ll check back (please!), or subscribe to get my next post by e-mail. I’ll miss you!)

But in case you’ve been wondering how you can keep your kids/grandkids/nieces/neighbors occupied for the next few weeks ~ no worries! I’ve come up with a new Christmas Break “Stay-cation” plan. I believe with some advance planning and creativity, we can make Christmas vacation as much fun as a week at Disneyworld (but for a lot less $$)!! Woo Hoo!!

(A quick disclaimer….I’ve tried to think of things that you could participate in regardless of the city you live in. For my Grand Rapids friends, many of the ideas have links that will lead you to more specific times and information. For all of the ideas, I tried to think very inexpensively. Also, please remember I live in Michigan ~ and we have snow. I’m sorry for all of my non-snow friends. You can come visit us!).

Here are some Christmas Vacation ideas from A to Z….

A – Art projects! Art in the Snow or make a Snowman snow globe (so cute!) or just pull out your odds & ends craft supplies, and let your little artists create!

BBowling; Baking; BINGO (Did you know we play bingo for every holiday/season? The kids love it ~ and it’s a great way to spend quality time with relatives of all ages. You should try it!)

C – Camp-out in the Family Room. Grab your sleeping bags, flashlights, and smores, and get ready for fun! (more camping ideas
here); or Cards (kids card game ideas here); or Children’s Museum (Grand Rapids info)

D – Dance Party ~ Find some fun 70’s or 80’s music, crank it up, and let the fun begin! (We especially enjoy our dance parties while jumping on the bed. But shhhh! ~ don’t tell anyone!)

E – Experience Egypt (Grand Rapids friends,
this program sounds like so much fun!); Eat out (the food court at the mall is always a fun experience for kids)

F– Family Fun Night ~ Invite over another family for food, fun, and fellowship; or build an indoor Fort or start a Flash mob! (The kids and I have been trying to learn the Oprah Flash Mob. So fun!)

G – Game Night ~ Have everyone pick a favorite board game to play. (More Game Night ideas here); or Gingerbread Houses (great ideas here or especially easy to pick up when they all get clearanced after Christmas!)

H – Hockey! Play hockey, watch hockey (Grand Rapids Griffins or my son Jake’s team Grand Rapids Christian High Eagles); Hot Chocolate Bar (my kids like to go outside just for an excuse to drink my yummy hot chocolate served out of my ceramic snowman hot chocolate dispenser!)

I – Ice Skating (Rosa Parks info); Indoor picnic (don’t forget your plastic ants ~ smile)

J – Juggle! (Do you know how to juggle? Me neither! But we can learn here)

K –
Krispy Kreme doughnuts ~ wait until the Krispy Kreme light is on, and then go in for your free doughnut!

L – Luau ~ Host your own indoor luau! Grab a beach towel, bathing suit, beach ball, and any leis your might have around your house ~ and let the fun begin! fun begin! You can even play Hawaii Bingo (More Hawaii ideas here)

M – Movie Night ~ Fun Family Movie Night ideas here

N – Nature Time! Build a bird feeder (great idea here) or Neighborhood Light Tour

O – Opposite Day ~ Do everything backwards! Eat breakfast for dinner and dinner for breakfast; or play Outside (you play too, Mom, not just the kids!)

P – Pizza Party ~ Let the kids make their own pizza ~ more ideas here! OR Pajama Party (in fact, as I type this….each kid has a friend sleeping over tonight for their first PJ party ~ what fun!)

Q – Quiet time ~ head to your local library for some quiet reading and/or story time activities. (The link for Kent District Library events ~ here)

R – Roller Skating (GR friends…anyone want to join us at Tarry Hall?) or Road trip ~ Let the kids help plan a Road Trip! Depending on your financial situation and the ages of your children, you can plan a Road Trip near or far. Do you have a relative or friend you could visit? Maybe it’s time for a Road Trip! Remember, part of the fun is in the planning ~ so let everyone look at the maps, write out the itnerary, pack the snacks, bring activities for the car, and more! What fun! 🙂

S – Sundae Night (our family’s Sundae Night ideas here) OR Skiing OR Sledding OR Snowman building OR Starbucks (sorry, I couldn’t resist ~ doesn’t a latte sound great?!)

T – Treasure Hunt or try a Snowman Treasure Hunt here or host a Tea Party (ideas here)

U – Underwater activities ~ Find a local indoor swimming pool and swim, swim, swim! Another idea…we sometimes go to priceline.com to bid on a hotel for the night. In Grand Rapids, you can stay at a nice 3 star hotel for $40. The kids love it ~ they swim for hours and hours!! (Thanks to my Grandma, we’ll be spending the night in a hotel this Christmas break. Woo Hoo!)

V – Volunteer. I volunteered to watch my good friend’s 3 kids all day tomorrow to provide free child care while she works. This Wednesday we’re going with school friends to pass out blankets at a homeless shelter. Or you could walk a neighbor’s dog. Shovel a single mom’s sidewalk. The ideas are endless…

W – Winter Wonderland Party (Fun ideas here) or Walk! Walk to the nearest park. Or walk around the block backwards. Enjoy the beautiful crisp winter air 🙂

X – eXercise. Set up a family exercise experience! (Get started here)

Y – YMCA. Go to the YMCA or another local gym. Many will let you try their facility for free for the day.

Zzzzz – Catch some Z’s and enjoy a nice nap together! 🙂

Woo Hoo!! I’m so excited for Christmas vacation! What a perfect opportunity to enjoy our children and participate in many of the outings and activities we can’t fit into our school-day schedule. Let’s make our ordinary Christmas vacation days “extraordinary”!! 🙂

So, what do you have planned for the next few weeks?? Any fun ideas you’d like to share?? I can’t wait to hear more about your Christmas vacation!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your CHRISTmas be filled to the brim with much joy, laughter, and fun, family moments!!

P.S. I should probably mention that yes, I do have lots of Christmas “to-do” lists yet to accomplish. For example, John and I are hosting a family get-together this Thursday for almost 50 of his relatives (can’t wait ~ y’all know I love a fun celebration!!). However, I still want to be intentional and enjoy this special time with my kids. The house won’t be perfect ~ but we’re not either. Thank goodness for grace! 🙂

P.S.S. A special thanks to Big Binder, Kaboose, Chocolate Cake Moments, Family Fun and Parents Magazine for letting me share some of your fun family ideas!

P.S.S. And….drum roll please….the winners of my Prayer Guide giveaway are….

*Chellie Schmitz

* Lori VanderBaan

* Jenny C.

* Meredith

* Lisa DeLano

(Could you 5 please send me your mailing information??) A huge THANK YOU to all who entered….and especially to Jennifer and Lara from Walking with Him for their amazing generosity! What a blessing!

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