Activities to Make the Holidays Shine Even Brighter

The days surrounding Christmas can be a magical time, but there are ways to make it even better while cutting down on the associated stress. You don’t have to buy the most expensive gifts to make someone happy—there are other ways to put smiles on faces and make lasting memories.

Whether you’re enjoying the outdoors or spending quality time with family, or trying something completely new, the holidays are a perfect time to experience something truly special. Here are six tips to help this Christmas make a lasting impression…

1. Trek into Nature for a Tree

Many people end up at a tree farm or a store to choose a tree that’s already been cut down for them, and that’s all fine and dandy. However, imagine gathering up the family and trekking into the wild to find that perfect specimen, while also bonding and enjoying nature.

Real trees are much more environmentally friendly than artificial trees, according to the Mother Nature Network. That’s because most “fake” trees are made in China and shipped around the world, resulting in massive carbon emissions. Just a disclaimer: if you’re chopping your own tree, make sure you’re not on private property and not breaking any local laws (you may need a permit).

christmas tree

2. Go For a Sleigh Ride

If you’re into dashing through the snow, then why not round up some family and hop into a sleigh? There are a number of epic sleigh ride experiences you can have across the U.S., including at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming.

The refuge website explains that a horse-drawn winter sleigh ride affords riders “a unique wildlife viewing experience and an incredible opportunity for photography.” It’s also a pretty cool way to spend some quality time with loved ones cuddled under a blanket.

sleigh ride

3. Learn to Skate Outdoors

You know that dusty old pair of skates sitting in the attic or garage? Time to dust them off, get them sharpened, and find an outdoor rink. If you’ve got a little one, now is the time to get them fitted with some skates and enjoy some outdoor fun with them.

If no one in the neighborhood has built a rink for public use, then you could find a frozen pond or lake to glide across. Take special care that the ice conditions are favorable for skating; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources advises you should stay off ice that’s only 2-inches thick or less (it should be at least 4-inches to walk on). Bring an ice auger or drill and a tape measure.

ice skating

4. Create Some Handmade Gifts

Gifts don’t have to come with a price tag attached (make sure you take those off before wrapping). The holidays are a great time to create unique gifts with the help of younger family, and the recipient will likely appreciate it more than a pair of socks.

Think about a hobby you enjoy, such as knitting, painting, photography or woodworking—then take it to the next level by creating something truly unique. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money in materials, but it is important to have fun and put a personal touch on it. The social media website Pinterest literally has thousands of handmade gift ideas


5. Try an Ice Sculpture

You’ve built that basic snowman, but now it’s time to take it up a notch. If the temperature is consistently below freezing, then ice art is an option. You don’t have to be a master sculptor and handy with a chainsaw; there are kid-friendly options that don’t require sharp objects. suggests using balloons to make ice sculptures. Grab an assortment of balloons including snake balloons, then put a couple of grains of sand into each one (this will help the balloons freeze) and fill them with water. The time to “sculpt” them is obviously before they freeze—try wrapping them around an object, arranging an interesting pattern, or other creative options. Peel the balloons off after they’re frozen solid.


6. Join a Christmas Choir

If you’re so excited about the holidays that you find yourself singing, why not put that enthusiasm into a choir? You don’t have to be a trained singer to belt out some holiday classics (and if you’re really a bad singer, don’t worry, the people around you will probably make you sound better).

Churches across the country invite people to join their Christmas choirs—you’ll probably just have to commit to practicing a few hours each week with the group, but you don’t usually have to be affiliated with the church in any way to take part. The practice usually culminates into a public performance.



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