This is the first year that J will be able to enjoy Christmas. Last year he was only 4 months old so while we enjoyed celebrating with him, he didn't know what was going on. This year he will be 16 months and enjoys so many different things. While I know he isn't going to totally understand what is going on I want him to have a super fun Christmas.
I've asked other parents, searched my own local events, and asked friends about their favorite Christmas Activities for Toddlers. I've compiled a list of 8 Christmas Activities for Toddlers that are fun things to do before the day actually comes to help get toddlers excited for the holiday. Some of these things are free while others do cost money but there is something for everyone!
Attend a local tree lighting
Many cities and towns have a celebration that includes a tree lighting. While it may be cold to stand outside toddlers really enjoy the excitement and the lights on the tree. I live in a very rural area and we even have a tree lighting celebration so check local newspapers and websites to see if you can find one! In addition to the lighting of the tree they often combine singing carols, refreshments, and other activities at the same time.
Make Christmas Cookies
Even the youngest kids can help make Christmas cookies. My little one is 15 months old but enjoys watching me bake as well as "stirring" and being my taste tester. Older toddlers can help mix, dump ingredients, and even decorate holiday sugar cookies. Plus, what kid doesn't like eating cookies?
Finger Paint Holiday Cards
Grab some newspaper, red and green finger paints, and get ready to make some fun and festive holiday cards! Toddlers love getting messy and you can let them use their imaginations to finger paint red and green on paper and then turn them in to homemade holiday cards for family members.
String Cereal Garland
Little ones love to be involved in everything but you may not want them handling your fragile Christmas ornaments. Instead, grab some yarn and their favorite O shaped cereal, and let them string the cereal on the yarn to make garland for the tree! You can even let them place the garland on the bottom part of the tree so that they feel like they are helping to decorate.
Count Down to Christmas with an Advent Calendar
Sure, toddlers may not quite understand the concept of how many days there are until Christmas but some type of Advent calendar can really help with that! Whether you make your own or buy one with treats in it, toddlers will love finding out how many more days (or spaces) are left until Christmas. Pick a certain point of day when your toddler can go to the advent calendar. This can be part of a bedtime routine or something to do after dinner to get your toddler excited for the upcoming holiday.
Have a Special Holiday Movie Night
This is something you can once a week until Christmas comes. Choose a day of the week and then have your toddler help you pick the movies. Make them something short (under 30 minutes) like a Charlie Brown holiday movie or a clip from a TV show. Turn down the lights, make hot cocoa (or a fun cold beverage if your child is under 2), and make a snack to go along with the movie. Snuggle under the covers as a family and enjoy the time together.
Holiday Light Tour
Get the whole family in the car, fire up the Christmas music, and drive around looking at the lights. Even the youngest kid in your family will get a kick out of all of the beautifully colored lights all around your town.
Choose an Angel Child
Choosing an angel child from an angel tree or something similar is a great way to show your toddler that it isn't always about receiving at the holidays. Let your child choose the angel from the tree and then allow them to pick out items they think the child would like. Get them involved in wrapping the gift and delivering it as well!