Welcome back to a new week, friends! How was your weekend? Ours was a chilly one…perfect for fun Christmas activities! Friday night we strolled around a favorite outdoor hotspot, looking at lights and window shopping. And Saturday we made our annual trip to the Dallas Symphony!
It’s our favorite Christmas activity to do as a family…we love dressing up, going into the city, and hearing the gorgeous music in such an amazing venue. Did you know Dallas has the largest Arts District in the nation!? Yes ma’am, if you’re ever in Big D I’d highly recommend checking out an event at the Winspear Opera House (or any of the theaters and museums)!
We’re pretty traditional when it comes to our holidays, especially Christmas. The kids love the annual traditions, and insist on each of them every year. We always sit down at the start of the holiday and everyone lists their favorite activity, and we add it to the calendar.
I’m always looking for new and fresh ideas to add to our list, so today I thought I’d share the family things we love doing most during the Christmas season.
Sugarplum Family Holiday Bucket List
- Give Back // Finding ways to give back to our community is a highlight year-round, and especially during the holidays. I’ll share some of our fave ways below.
- Attend the Dallas Symphony Pops Concert // This is our family-favorite! The music is so good, and even includes an audience sing-along to 12 Days of Christmas.
- Advent Calendar // Little Miss is passionate about the Advent Calendar! Each day is a small treat or one of the activities on our list. She loves for me to hide the treat and leave a clue of where to find it…so it’s part scavenger hunt and part Christmas fun!
- Christmas Lights & Cocoa // We pack big mugs of cocoa and cozy blankets, and drive through the most festive neighborhood in the city. Usually wearing Christmas jammies!
- Family Movie Night // It’s always a showing of Elf, with a side of s’mores by the fire!
- Fancy Christmas Dinner // Every year we choose a new ‘fancy’ restaurant and get dressed up for dinner. We’ve been doing this since they were small to teach them table and restaurant etiquette, and help them feel comfortable in environments outside their comfort zone. We usually do this when they get out of school for Winter Break, so it’s a celebration of their semester, too.
- Drive-In Movie Theatre // It’s cold and the screen quality isn’t the best, but it’s fun to bundle up in the back of the SUV together!
- Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens // Gorgeous year-round, we especially love to stroll the quiet, beautiful gardens during Winter. It overlooks the lake and the theme and landscape changes for every season. For holiday, they have huge Christmas trees (the site of our family photos this year!), and a life-size 12 Days of Christmas display.
We visited the Arboretum over Thanksgiving Break, and it was the perfect place to get our Christmas spirit going. It was freezing, too, so we all bundled up in our favorite Backcountry outdoor gear.
It’s our go-to spot for all things active and outdoors! Hiking, camping, and even most of our ski clothes have been found there. We also grab Winter gear for the whole family like warm coats, hats, and gloves.
Little Miss is still in that ‘coat-aversion stage’ (you know what I’m talking about, Moms!)…but admits her Columbia coat is crazy warm. She’s worn it on so many trips, and even skiing. (It’s 20% off right now!) She does, however, live in cozy fleece pullovers! In fact, both kids have them on their Christmas list.
The teen is all about the coats though…even more specifically, all things Patagonia and North Face. He’s a hoodie-junkie like his dad, and his daily uniform usually includes a beanie, too.
Not only is my coat super-warm, but it’s completely waterproof! I love multi-functional jackets like this for travel, too! Two jackets in one, and less space in the suitcase. And you know I’m a huge fan of rainboots for sorts of wet and muddy conditions…and with the addition of fleece boot liners, they’re warm for snow, too!
I added an extra layer for more warmth, and love the peek of plaid under my pullover.
Fit Tip: I always size up one in these pullovers and jackets for more layering room.
But even more than the fun activities, we love finding ways to give back…both year-round, and especially during the holiday. We want our kids to recognize how fortunate they are, and keep focus on the real meaning of the season.
I love seeing the understanding on their faces when they see how much joy giving back brings to others.
Ways to Give Back During the Holiday Season
- Angel Tree // Adopt a family or child through a local Angel Tree program. Our church has trees for single moms, kids, and families, and each of us chooses a category we can relate to…then we shop for them together.
- Pay It Forward // It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day, and you never know how much your small act of kindness will snowball. Our fave thing is to pay for the person behind us in the drive-thru line. It brings a smile to the cashier’s face, and who knows how positively it impacts the person who was treated to a morning coffee or Happy Meal.
- Support Food Pantries // Food banks are always in need of non-perishables, but especially during the holiday season. Instead of just rummaging through your pantry, take it one step further and drop off everything a family would need for a Christmas dinner.
- Be a Big Tipper // At least once over the holiday season, we’ll visit a local diner and leave a sizable tip. The kids love watching the server’s face when they discover it.
- Secret Santa // Leave a tin of cookies, small hand soaps, or some other small gift in a neighbor’s mailbox or co-workers desk. Or assemble small gift packages of toiletries and drop them at a Senior Living Facility.
- Spread Cheer // Most of our holiday baking is actually for all the service people who make our lives so much easier…UPS driver, mail person, waste and recycle management, etc. We package them in cute tins thanking them for all they do.
- Provide Warmth // Coats, blankets, and hats are always in high-demand this time of year. Churches and local shelters are always looking for donations. Drop off your kid’s outgrown coats, or shop for new ones together.
It’s such a magical time of year, and I cherish the extra family time it brings. What are your family activity traditions every year? How do you incorporate giving back as a family in your holiday season?
You can find all our warm outdoor styles from Backcountry! And code SUGARPLUM15 gets you 15% off your first order!
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*Photos by the darling Audrie Dollins, on location at the Dallas Arboretum. This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and Shopstyle, but all cold-weather styles and holiday cheer are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*