By Jeffrey Pang from Berkeley, CA, USA (Mount Rose 3Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Most happiness researchers will tell you that you are almost always better off spending your money on experiences and not on things. With that in mind, here are some family experiences that you should consider this holiday season as alternatives to buying more toys or other material things that a year or two from now you will either throw in the trash or give to goodwill.
Nothing gets you in the mood for the holidays like falling on your butt repeatedly. Your more nimble children might laugh at you, but later they will remember that you made the effort to have some fun.
Skiing is not a cheap family activity, but if you have the funds, a ski trip will create memories for your kids that will last a long time. Much longer than the latest Xbox video game. If skiing is too expensive, and you live in a northern climate, at least take your family sledding if that is an option. As a child, I chipped two of my front teeth while sledding when an errant toboggan side-swiped me. Memorable times.
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For an indoor activity, paint ceramics at a paint your own pottery store. Paint yourself a Christmas mug that you can use every year for hot chocolate. Each time you use it, you will remember fondly when your clumsy brother bumped your arm and turned the C in Christmas into a O.
This was not an option when I was a child, but now you can take your family skydiving at Christmas! Indoor skydiving, that is. Look for iFly locations in your area. They simulate an indoor skydiving experience with true free fall conditions, but you don’t have to jump out of an airplane. They use a vertical wind tunnel to generate a wall-to-wall cushion of air. Sounds like a rush. Kids as young as 3 can take part.
If you neighborhood doesn’t do Christmas caroling, consider starting it up. The more people you have, the less likely someone will notice that you can’t sing.
Christmas Tree Excursions
You can take the family to a Christmas tree farm and chop down your own tree. Try to go on the coldest, snowiest day of the year, so that everyone is in the proper mood.
Take your family and friends to see a holiday play. The Nutcracker is not your only option. Many local theatres have holiday-themed plays. Every year we attend a local Panto performance, which is a playful mix of zany characters and audience participation. Panto (short for pantomime) is a type of comedy show that originated in England and is usually performed during the holiday season.
Is there a better way to celebrate the holidays than running around a dark obstacle course shooting your loved ones? I think not. You can go dressed up for the holidays, with antlers on your head and elf ears.
Be creative whatever you choose to do and make it memorable!