When you’re all gathered together and have made time to be with each other, some having traveled long distances, what will you and your family remember most? Relationships and memories are what lasts a lifetime. If you’re looking to create memories with meaning that are guaranteed to last a lifetime, here are 6 simple ideas to help you make great memories this year.
#1: Invest TIME in your relationships
Relationships are an investment and the more we put into them, the stronger and more valuable they become. TIME. It’s a critical element in relationships, but typically the one most easily overlooked. Taking time to share a moment, do an activity together, laugh and experience life together is what creates that bond and memory. One of the best things about investing in your relationships is that it’s something that can be done right in the comfort of your own home.
Here’s some ideas from the Johnson home:
- Game Night!
Favorite indoor (non-electronic!) games for our non-readers are: Bonanza (card game),Carroms, Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Connect4, Chess, Checkers, Rubber Bands (we buy them by the thousands!), Memory (you can buy customized games at Shutterfly), Solitaire, Rummy and Rummikub, card forts.
- Favorite indoor (non-electronic!) games for our readers include all of the above AND: Guesstures, Clue, Taboo, Apples to Apples.
- Puzzles! Put together a big 300-1000 piece puzzle as a family. Organizing your living space for the winter to include a game table near a fireplace or window makes it easy.
- Go ice skating!
- Snow sports: make it a sledding day or ski day.
- Build a snowman together, complete with outfit.
- Have a snowball fight.
- Make snow-forts.game night or to put a puzzle together?
- Get everyone together in the kitchen decorating cookies or working on a family favorite dessert?
- Give foot scrubs or massages.
- Have a concert/performance: everyone plays a song on their favorite instrument, sing a tune, act out a skit, quote a poem, or tell their favorite story.
- Put each other on the “hot seat” -- a “get-to-know-you” activity where everyone asks questions to learn more from the individual on the hot seat (see our ideas for questions below!)
Your options are only limited by your imagination, but the key is to cherish the moments and look forward to the memories you’ll create, no matter how small or big they may be. Have fun!
#2: Include others
Having time set aside without regular commitments provides many opportunities to reach out to others and make them feel loved and connected. A coworker, someone you know that doesn’t have a family, an elderly neighbor: extending an invitation to join in on a family dinner or activity would be a treasure.
But these aren’t the only ways to keep relationships center focus this holiday:
- Volunteer your time at a retirement home; sing a song as a family, bring handmade gifts along to share, visit with folks.
- Write a letter to someone serving our country.
- Serve food for an evening at a local soup kitchen.
- Make little gifts to give out to neighbors or strangers.
- Donate clothes, toys, etc. in a holiday giving drive.
- Give to your favorite charity.
#3 Keep stress away
While the holidays can be one of the jolliest times of the year, it’s also a season notoriously known for being rather stressful for many. Traveling, time with family, extra spending, keeping up with traditions, wanting to find the perfect gifts, and the pressure to be in good holiday cheer all month long are just a few factors that can add pressure to the holidays. Even navigating the stores can be a complete nightmare! But how much additional stress are we subconsciously creating for ourselves? As you prepare yourself for the holidays, we encourage you to keep an open mind and heart if you happen to find yourself in an unexpected or less than desirable situation.
Try to remember these simple mantras this season:
- Stay calm.
- Have one (or two) backup plans.
- Entertain the unfamiliar.
It’s okay to have expectations for how you would like the holidays to roll out, but being closed minded could potentially cause you to miss out on much more than you anticipated, like trying new experiences that you might end up loving and building new relationships with others.
"Taking time to share a moment, do an activity together, laugh and experience life together is what creates that bond and memory."
#4 Start a new tradition
Traditions can be THE thing families look forward to all year long. They bring us together while also reminding us of the past. And while traditions are commonly thought of as something handed down and followed year after year, the key idea to remember is that they offer us an opportunity to create memories with our friends, family, and loved ones.
Here are a few fun ideas to get you started:
- Plan a treasure hunt for the kids.
- Host a potluck.
- Plan a festive craft that everyone can join in on (decorating gingerbread cookies, making snowflakes from paper, window-painting.)
- Have a circle of thanks where you each share what you’re most thankful for this year.
- Put together an adults night out.
- Go ice skating together, or have a fun snow-sport day (skiing, sledding, snowshoeing.)
Remember, it doesn’t have to cost a ton.
#5 Intentional conversations
This is a time of year when we come together with friends, family, and loved ones to celebrate, share stories, and reconnect. When we intentionally try to have meaningful conversations and learn about someone’s daily routine, likes, dislikes, dreams, and success (just to name a few), we’re able to rediscover just how blessed we are to have these people in our lives.
Here are some fun questions to ask when getting to know others better and deepen the relationship:
- If you could go on a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- What’s your idea of a perfectly relaxing evening?
- If you can identify with an individual from history, who would it be?
- Name something you are proud to have accomplished.
- How do you feel loved? What’s your love language?
- If you could be a pilot, an engineer, or a chef, what would you choose?
- Would you rather be extremely wealthy, strong, wise, or humorous? Why?
- What’s an ideal date look like to you?
- If you had $1,000 right now, what would you do with it?
We hope these last few weeks of the year are rich and rewarding for you all! If these ideas sparked a new excitement for the upcoming weeks and inspired you to try something new and meaningful this year, leave a comment below! We want to know which idea you’re planning on trying out or if there are other memory-making tips you want to add.