Workshop – Create Fun & Enduring Family Holiday Traditions

For those of you who live in the Chicagoland area, I will be conducting a workshop at Make A Messterpiece in Glenview tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. and next Wednesday, December 15th at 6 p.m. on How to Create Fun & Enduring Family Holiday Traditions.

Here’s what I will be covering:

The Holidays are a great opportunity to start new family traditions or rediscover long-held family Holiday traditions that you and your kids will look forward to every year. Traditions are the glue that bind a family together but more importantly, provide opportunities for fun.

Sue Kirchner, Family Fun Coach, will share ideas on how to strengthen existing and start new family Holiday Traditions to create memories and laughter. She’ll share tips on conducting research on your family’s Holiday traditions, identifying which traditions mean the most to you and your kids, and ideas on updating long-held family traditions. She’ll also share some great ideas for new Holiday Traditions as well as favorite Holiday activities that the Chicagoland area has to offer.

Workshops are about 30 minutes long, free and you can bring your kids. If you haven’t been in to see Make A Messterpiece yet, definitely come and check it out. Your kids will have a blast in the various creative studio stations.

Contact me at sue (at) chocolatecakeclub.com for more details. Hope to see you there. It will be fun!

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Family Celebrations · Holiday Traditions

Include More than Just Family in Your Family Holiday Traditions

Kids with Comerfords Holiday

To make a holiday tradition more fun and memorable, don’t forget to “Make it a Party.” No one said that you have to limit family traditions to just family. Some of our favorite Holiday traditions involve our best friends or neighbors:

  • Every Christmas, we have a gift exchange with some of our closest friends. It’s like Christmas Eve Lite.
  • We always try to invite friends to our Holiday meals who might be home alone that year.
  • Tower Brass Holiday Concert Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago

  • We also meet our best friends every year for the Fourth Presbyterian Church Holiday Concert (http://www.fourthchurch.org/concerts.html#december)in downtown Chicago. We have gone for several years now and the kids love it. We head down to the Church for their Tower Brass concert and then walk around Michigan Ave. looking at the lights before grabbing dinner. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the season and experience the beauty of the city during the Holidays. (This year the concert is Dec. 18th at 5 p.m.)
  • Our neighborhood had a tradition of having a house decorating contest with a snowman theme. Each house on our block tries to decorate with as many snowmen as possible. We would all meet for a party at a neighbor’s house. During the party the whole group would put on their coats and march around the block in the dark and the cold, voting on which house had the best snowman “spirit.” Try it with your neighbors this year and let the competition and laughter begin.
  • Last year, one of the neighbors organized a Caroling party for some Holiday fun.
  • Every year two friends and I meet up for a Girls Night Out Holiday Tea at a swanky hotel downtown. While we might not pull it off every year, it does get us talking and reminiscing during December, so we don’t lose touch. I look forward to the thought of Holiday Tea just as much as actually having it. (more…)

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Family Celebrations · Family Party Ideas · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

Spice Up your Family Holiday Traditions

Looking for a way to spice up your family’s Holiday Traditions this year? I suggest you Be Creative and Try Something New to add a little variety to your Holiday Season and make it more fun this year.

While we all love traditions and look forward to them every year because they provide a foundation for the family’s Holiday activities, it doesn’t mean you can’t adapt or update the tradition or try something new entirely. Variety is the spice of life! What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like the new activity and you don’t do it again next year.

So, instead of putting on your Santa Hat, put on your thinking caps and get the whole family to brainstorm some creative ways to amp up your existing Holiday Traditions. If your family has a tradition of cutting down a real tree every year, try wearing Santa Hats or dressing like lumberjacks this year to give the event a little silliness and flair. If you all bake Holiday cookies together, be adventurous and try a new recipe or one that sounds really wild. Do all the girls in your family get together for Holiday Tea? Ask everyone to wear an audacious hat to make the affair more elegant and/or goofy.

If your family seems a little burned out on the tried and true family traditions, be adventurous this year and try a new activity that you’ve heard or read about. Who knows? It may become a new favorite. So, if you always go to see the Christmas Carol play, try the Nutcracker Ballet this year. If you’ve never had a real Christmas tree, try cutting one down this year and see if you like the difference. If your kids are a little older now, try going to Midnight Mass. Invite other people to your Hannukah celebration to teach them about your traditions. Try making your menorah this year instead of using the family favorite. Or, buy a candle making set and have the whole family make candles this year for the Celebration of Light. (I’m not Jewish but I asked my friends about their traditions and looked and online for ideas. I found a really nice article on Hannukah traditions to do with your kids. Let me know what you think.)

For inspiration, check out the article I wrote for TheFamilyGroove.com where I share 7 fun Holiday Tradition ideas.

What are your family Holiday Traditions? Leave me a comment and let’s see if together we can brainstorm ways to spice it up this year.

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Family Celebrations · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

8 Ideas to Have More Fun with Your Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf on the Shelf Family Holiday Tradition started up again yesterday. My kids were so psyched. They have been asking for days when “Jack” was coming and so we officially started December 1st. We’ve been playing this fun Hide ‘n Seek game every Christmas for the past 4 years now. Now that my kids are older and we’ve been doing this for awhile, I wanted some creative ways to have even more fun with our Elf this year. Here are a few ideas that I thought up and some fun ones I found online. I’ll be adding more as I get inspired throughout the next 20ish days.


Watch the Video

The creators of Elf on the Shelf put together a super cute video on how the Elves get ready for the Christmas season. You can watch it with the kids here.

Catch them in the Act
These Elves are photogenic. While the kids are sleeping or at school, take some funny photos of the Elves raiding the fridge or peeking in the wrapped presents or sleeping with the cat. Take them off center and close-up so it looks like the Elf took his or her own picture.

Letter to Buddy the Elf

Elf Letters
My daughter loves to write letters. She writes some for Santa, Rudolph, Buddy from the Elf movie, the Tooth Fairy, the Pumpkin Fairy and our St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun. So have your kids write a note or letter to your Elf and maybe he’ll answer overnight. Want to make it even funnier – write the letter in an “Elf” language that no one understands or have the Elf write backwards so the kids have to hold the note up to a mirror to read.

Jack's name

The Elf was Here
Leave clues around the house that show that the Elf was moving around. A cereal box tipped over, Christmas cards out and on the floor, little footprints on the kitchen table or even have the Elf write his or her name out using raisins, Cheerios, legos or in some spilled flour. Here’s a cute idea – spill some flour out on the counter and then have the Elf make a snow angel in the flour.

Elf on the Shelf Snow Angels

Bake Up Some Fun
When the kids come downstairs for breakfast, won’t they be surprised to find a fresh batch of Christmas cookies on the kitchen counter that the Elf “baked” overnight?

Here are some very fun ideas I found online that would appeal to older kids or teens to keep the fun going.

Don’t Let the Elf Drive the Car
I read that a family would put their Elf in the driver’s seat of the car up on phone books or books so it looked like he was joy riding at night. Park the car in a crazy position, backwards, or out on the street to show that the Elf was out on the town and really shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

Elves are Socially Savvy
I read about some families setting up Facebook, Twitter or email accounts to talk with their teens or tweens or keep a Cyber “eye” on who’s naughty or nice online. The Elves can also find funny Christmas inspired sites to forward to the kids.

Fun in the “Off” Season
My kids always joke about what “Jack” our Elf does on his time off. What the heck does he do the other 11 months of the year? I think it would be a blast to give the Elf to friends or family you know who are traveling and ask them to take a picture of the Elf in that location. You know, like the gnome in the movie Amelie. The Elf can then send postcards or photos to the kids to keep the fun going all year long.

elf skirt inset

Gotta get your hands on an Elf on the Shelf? We sell them over at www.ChocolateCakeClub.com. We also have brown eyed, darker skinned Elves and we even sell skirts to make your Elf a girl.

What do you like to do “extra” to have fun with your Elf on the Shelf. I’d love to hear it.

You might also like:

When to Start Elf on the Shelf

What to Do When You Forget to Move your Elf on the Shelf

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

5 Simple (but Super Fun) Ideas for Holiday Family Fun

There are so many fun things to do this Holiday Season. Make sure you and your family plan to spend time together during this crazy busy time of year. For some inspiration, check out the post I wrote on 5 Simple Ideas for Holiday Family Fun over at the Parents Tested, Parents Approved blog.

I’ll be adding more ideas here on my site as the season progresses.

Let me know what you and your family will be doing to have fun this Season.

You may also like …
10 Ideas for Family Holiday Traditions

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

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