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10 Nostalgic holiday activities to do with kids

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During the holiday season I think we all get caught up in the "list." We spend our days thinking about what we need to buy, what we need to bake, what we need to cook and what we need to do.

Meanwhile, our kids are off of school and we are craving that family time that seems extra special during the holiday season! When I think back to my childhood, I most remember things we did, not gifts I got. I want my kids to have those same memories. So below are some nostalgic memories that I remember from my childhood and some that I want to do with my kids!

1. Go bowling

Last weekend I took the kids bowling and we had an amazing time. I had forgotten how fun the game can be. We laughed and ate amazing food and escaped the craziness of our lives for a few hours. No one cared who won or how anyone looked bowling. It was just good family fun! Click here to find AMF locations near you.

2. Look at lights with hot cocoa

Every year I load my kids up in the car with blankets and pillows, hand them hot cocoa in a sealed cup, turn on Christmas tunes and drive around to look at the lights in the neighborhood. It has become one of the traditions from my childhood that I can pass on. The kids love it, I love listening to them scream when they see Rudolph and it is time together that we will all cherish.

3. Movie night with baked s'mores

I am not starting a fire outside in the cold to make s'mores in the wintertime. But I have learned that if you put them together and then bake them just enough for everything to melt, they are just as gooey and messy as making them over an open fire! Once a year, usually around the holidays, we bake some s'mores and pig out while we binge on Christmas movies.

4. Day of kindness

I love this the most. It is so simple and so important for teaching kids what the holiday season is all about! I buy three or more $5 gift cards at a store and the kids pick someone to hand them to. The people who receive them are always overwhelmed and my kids feel amazing when we are done!

5. Baking cookies

I love to try to recreate my mother's recipes during the holidays. She always had the most amazing cookies in various tins all season long. I want to pass that "what is in here?" excitement on to my kids.

6. Donate toys

Whether we donate at a register at a store or take unopened gifts to the local boys and girls club, the girls and I always donate gifts to kids during the holidays. How many is up to them, but they absolutely love to give what they love.

7. Open one present Christmas Eve

Growing up we got to open one present Christmas Eve! It was so awesome to choose something and have that "new" feeling the day before the big day! So now my kids get to do the same thing!

8. Visit Santa

The annual Santa photos can be traumatic with little ones. But every year I take the kids and every year they talk about it for weeks afterward. So whether you find Santa at the flea market or a big store, be sure to let your kids discover the joys of meeting him up close!

9. Pass out cookies to neighbors

Remember that holiday baking we did? Well there is something special about watching your kids walk up to your neighbors' houses and hand them a cookie tin of their own! People love to get baked goods during the holiday season and those made with little helping hands are even better!

10. Camp out in the living room

It was a rare night that I fell asleep in front of the fire growing up. When I did, I loved it. So now, I make it a point to let my kids fall asleep in a "campout." We read stories, tell stories to each other about our favorite memory that year and they all fall asleep slumber party style!

Creating Christmas memories has very little to do with stuff and very much to do with actions. Whether it be a family outing or a night in, there are so many ways we can pass on our childhood memories to our kids! What are your favorite nostalgic things to do with your kids?

Photo credit: Billy Mabray/Flickr

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The AMF Bowling Co and SheKnows. All opinions are my own.

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