Finding Simplicity in the Holiday: Family Christmas Activities

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I don’t know about you, but I think we’ve tried to cram all of the visits and gift giving we missed out on last year into this year. And I’m doubly exhausted. But the tree is up, the gifts are bought and wrapped, and I have the steaks and eggs in the fridge awaiting being cooked for Christmas brunch.

What I’ve needed this week is a reminder to relax and enjoy what’s around me, sans spending, for the last few days before the tinsel and glitter are removed until next year. Here’s three simple ideas to help you enjoy these merry moments before they pass:

Christmas Lights

No, I don’t mean buying a ticket and driving half a mile and hour bumper to bumper. As a kid, we drove through neighborhoods to see what other families did and enjoy the free show. If you live in a climate that’s more mild, even walking around the neighborhood can be enjoyable. My kids love it, too. Both the opulent neighborhoods with coordinated white lights and the kitschy over-full tiny yards with 17 different inflatable santas!

Free Local Events

Our church does caroling for shut-ins. The kids were part of our small town parade last week. Our library will have pictures with Santa. I’m not saying we need one more thing in our week necessarily. But sometimes time together away from the house and electronics can be meaningful. Pick something that works for your family and this season.

Cooking Together

This has been a family tradition since long before I can remember. There’s something about making homemade cookies and decorating them together. (And then you have fresh cookies set out for Santa, too!) In fact, I’m such a fan of this tradition, I’ll share the recipe we’ve used literally for generations. I still think it’s the best sugar cookie out there. I’m a purist who likes only sprinkles or colored sugar topping, but they’re great frosted as well. And yes, that’s little me helping almost 4 decades ago.

Mrs. Hampton’s Tea Cakes Recipe


  • Cream 2 sticks of butter & 2 cups of sugar
  • Add 2 eggs, one at a time
  • Add 3 Tbs milk and 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • Mix dry ingredients: 4 to 4 ½ cups sifted flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, then add the dry mixture into the wet
  • Roll out very thin
  • Cut with cookie cutters, place on pan, and decorate before cooking
  • Bake at 350 degrees until just the lightest brown at the edges (about 8-10 minutes)

Need help prioritizing and simplifying as we head into a new season? Apprisen is glad to come alongside you. Connect with us via instant chat or start online with IRIS.

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