I think it would be a serious understatement to say I am excited about this Holiday Season. I am always excited about the magical time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. However, Sweet Pea is 2 years old this year! Last year Sweet Pea was a blast (of course) but she was largely an observer. This year though, my baby girl will be old enough to ‘get’ the magic. This year she is old enough to participate! I am thrilled to jump in with both feet and celebrate this season in a way that will not only make a great impression on Sweet Pea, but will hopefully establish cherished family traditions for years to come. Here are the 25 ways our family plans to celebrate Christmas this year!
1. Decorate for Christmas! Put on the Bing Crosby and Irving Berlin. Get the boxes of decorations out of the attic. Pump up that inflatable Snoopy! Let’s make an event of it! We plan on devoting most of an entire day to decorating the house so that we don’t have to rush while Sweet Pea’s 2-year old fingers put Christmas ornaments on the tree.
2. Kennedy Krieger Institute Festival of the Trees– I am really excited to check out this Christmas festival the weekend after Thanksgiving. There are rides, activities, and crafts for kids, tons of decorated trees and gingerbread houses, live music, and a craft festival.
3. 25 Days of Christmas Books. In addition to decorating the main Christmas tree, we are decorating a small, 3′ tall tree as well. Under this tree I am wrapping 24 Christmas books and Sweet Pea will get to unwrap one book each evening until Christmas Eve.
4. Make Christmas ornaments. How much fun we will have making ornament crafts together. Some ornaments I want to try are the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Handprint Ornament, a gold, spray painted star with a picture of Sweet Pea in the middle, and a beaded candy cane ornament.
5. Throw a Christmas party geared for 2 to 7 year-olds. There will be cookie decorating. There will be a craft. There will be hot cocoa. I am hoping it will be a blast.. and not too, terribly chaotic. Ha!
6. Homestead Gardens. One of the best Christmas stores in the Baltimore-DC Area. Homestead Gardens goes all out to decorate their trees and the entire place is magical. Even better is their famous miniature train display.
7. ICE! Featuring Frosty the Snowman. If you have never taken your kids to see ICE!, you are really missing out. Actually, even if you don’t have kids, this is one tradition you will want to start. ICE! is hosted by the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center and features a different theme each year. If you can’t tell from the name, the exhibit is a wonderland built completely of ice sculptures- breathtakingly intricate ice sculptures.
8. Christmas pictures at Picture People. We booked a time in the middle of the week in hopes that it won’t be too crowded. However, I can’t wait to dress Sweet Pea up in a pretty red velvet dress and capture her 2-year old cuteness.
9. Since we will already be at the mall, we will of course need to visit Santa and sit on his lap. Last year, Sweet Pea was suspicious to the point of tears when we paid St. Nick a visit. I am hoping she will be more adventurous this year.
10. Koziar’s Christmas Village. Imagine a village in rural Pennsylvania that is covered in hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, indoor and outdoor train displays, famous hot cocoa, and Santa Claus himself. Oh yeah. We are totally checking this famous Christmas destination this year!
11. Baking Christmas cookies together. There is no better way to ‘cook with kids’ than to make Christmas cookies together. Our family favorites include Cherry Delights, Snowballs, Peppermint Patties, Chocolate Crinkles, and Peanut Blossoms.
12. Non-ornament Christmas Crafts. Paper plate Santa Claus, snowman flower pot, Glitter pen stars, Felt Christmas Tree. There are so many adorable Christmas-themed crafts. I can’t wait to make some of these with Sweet Pea.
13. Symphony of Lights. This is a great lights display that benefits Howard County hospital. Usually you can get a Groupon deal. The lights are synchronized to Christmas music in your vehicle. Another great drive-though lights display is the Sandy Point State Park Lights on the Bay in Annapolis.
14. Give back! Even at 2-years old, kids can learn the true joy of kindness and giving to those who are less fortunate. Let them pick out a gift for Toys for Tots. Bring canned goods to a local food bank. Visit someone who is shut in or in the hospital.
15. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Holly Jolly Pops. Tap Dancing Santas, Christmas Sing-Along, Cirque de la Symphonie. I can’t wait to bring Sweet Pea to this symphonic holiday celebration!
16. Peppermint Milkshakes from Chick Fil-A. That doesn’t need any further explanation.
17. Kid-friendly Christmas shows and movies. Some of the ones on our short list this year include: Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and Veggie Tales Christmas.
18. Did I mention singing Christmas carols? I love to sing. Sweet Pea loves to sing. Honeybear tolerates our singing. This is the perfect year to start teaching Sweet Pea all of my favorite Christmas Carols.
19. Breakfast with Santa and the penguins at the Maryland Zoo. The Maryland Zoo unveiled their new penguin exhibit this fall. So, of course it will be fantastic to get up close and personal with the penguins while eating with them and Santa Claus!
20. Visit the US Botanic Gardens and see the White House (aka National) Christmas Tree.
21. Spend lots of time snuggling, drinking hot cocoa, and looking at the twinkly lights on the Christmas tree.
22. Visit the B&O Railroad Museum. There are tons of holiday events at this museum throughout December.
23. Visit either Dutch Wonderland Winter Wonderland or HersheyPark Christmas Candylane. Imagine how magical a Merry-go-Round could be in the middle of Christmas lights!
24. The Night Before Christmas. Christmas Eve dinner out, cookies and milk for Santa, hot chocolate and the Polar Express, and a very special reading of the ultimate Christmas book.
25. Christmas morning! Presents! Ooohs! Aaahs! Pancake Breakfast. Ham dinner. Relaxing with family and friends. Enjoying the magic and hoping it lasts just a few moments more.
How are you planning to celebrate Christmas with your family? I hope that the items on your holiday must-do list bring many smiles, much laughter, and create fantastic memories for you and your family.
Have a great holiday season and thanks so much for reading!