10 Family Friendly Tips for Unplugging During the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a whirlwind of festivities, feasts, and, of course, the siren call of screens.
From Turkey Day football games to Hallmark Christmas movie marathons, it's all too easy for our families to get lost in the digital world during these special times.
While we are not one to shy away from holiday screen time (give me Christmas Story on repeat from December 1st) or the twinkling joys of video games played late into the evening, it’s easy to let these little indulgences take away from the true spirit of the season: being present and spending time together.
So as you start to think about all of the decorations you’ll hang up and the lights you’ll plug in, we wanted to take a minute to think about unplugging, too. To that end, we’re sharing 10 family-friendly tricks for doing a little digital detox during the holidays.
The Importance of Unplugging As A Family
The Thanksgiving and winter holidays certainly have their own stresses. Traveling can be hectic, the weather outside can indeed be frightful, and last-minute shopping’s no joke.
What the holidays tend to revolve around, though, is the chance to connect with family, create lasting memories, and savor the moment. By reducing some of our screen time, we open the door (and the chimney!) to more meaningful interactions and rediscover the joy of old-fashioned, analog activities.
To add some milk and cookies and sweeten the deal, we've created the Unplugged IRLA (In Real Life Achievement) Pack, where you and your family can earn five exciting achievements while enjoying your time together. We originally created it as a sort of digital detox and a fun way to explore new interests, nurture hobbies without screens, and rekindle connections with friends and family.
Here are the five challenges (and how you can jazz them up for the holidays!):
- Go for a Hike with Friends - Nothing helps settle the turkey like a post-meal walk around the block. Hike around your hometown to see the lights!
- Bake a Loaf of Bread - Get your hands doughy in the kitchen and bake a delicious homemade loaf of bread. We’ll also make a holiday exception if you want to get your gingerbread on!
- Read a Book - Who needs another televised adaptation of A Christmas Carol? Find yourself some Dickens and get to reading!
- Write a Short Story - Try making a rhyming Christmas story of your own (or check out our own story, the Carol of the Coin, if you need some inspiration!)
- Build a 1k+ Piece Puzzle - While building an all-white winter wonderland puzzle might be a little much, looking for some holiday-themed puzzles to make by a roaring fire is a great place to start.
Now, let's explore 10 more tips to unplug and make the most of the holiday season:
10 Tips for a Screen-Free Holiday Season
1. Snow Globe Storytime
Embrace the enchantment of the holidays by creating your very own snow globe storytime.
Gather the family, pick a favorite holiday tale, and read it together by the soft glow of a candle or a cozy fireplace. Make it even more magical by sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows.
2. Festive Family Cooking Challenge
Transform your kitchen into a culinary battleground. Have a friendly family cooking competition where each member gets to choose a dish to prepare.
Whoever garners the most applause wins the coveted title of "Holiday Chef Extraordinaire."
3. Ornament Crafting Extravaganza
Deck the halls with handcrafted ornaments. Set up a crafting station with supplies, like glitter, glue, and colored paper.
Spend the day creating unique ornaments to adorn your tree or gift to loved ones.
4. Caroling Adventure
Spread cheer in your neighborhood by organizing a family caroling adventure. Bundle up, take your songbooks, and share the joy of music with your neighbors.
Don't forget to leave a holiday card at each doorstep!
5. Give To Receive
Shift the focus from getting presents to giving them with a mission to give some of your family’s gently used toys to local organizations. It's a fun way to teach kids about the importance of the season
6. Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt
Explore the great outdoors with a winter wonderland scavenger hunt.
Create a list of items commonly found during winter, like pinecones, icicles, and animal tracks, and embark on an adventure to spot them all.
7. Christmas Movie Charades
Put a twist on your traditional movie night by playing Christmas movie charades.
Act out your favorite holiday film scenes (I’m thinking of just about every scene from Jim Carrey’s version of The Grinch!), and let the laughter ensue as you guess the titles.
8. Letters to Santa
Get back to the heart of Christmas by writing heartfelt letters to Santa Claus.
Encourage your kids to express their wishes, and don't forget to pen your own letter. It's a touching way to connect with the spirit of giving.
9. Family Game Night Extravaganza
Revive the age-old tradition of family game night.
Gather around the table and indulge in classic board games, card games, or even create your own holiday-themed games.
10. Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar
Make a countdown to Christmas meaningful by crafting an advent calendar filled with daily acts of kindness.
Each day, perform a good deed as a family, spreading love and joy throughout the holiday season.
With these ten festive and family-friendly tips for enjoying a bit more of the season without the screens, we wish you a happy unplugging and joyful holidays!