One thing that draws high school and college kids like nothing else is food. Seriously. Food. Especially boys.
As I’ve already mentioned, preparing and/or buying kids’ favorite foods and treats is a great way to their hearts. Smile (See Kids’ Faves worksheets available here for free!)
And, as I’ve already mentioned in our “Continue With Earlier Traditions,” we always invite all of the kids over for our decorating night Thanksgiving weekend.
Here are some tips from our decorating night:
1) Our family decorating night on Thanksgiving weekend IS our Thanksgiving get together. We have found that having too many get togethers that kids are expected to attend within that four day holiday weekend is just too much. Again, we don’t want to detract from anything they are doing in their own families, plus they have extended family get togethers and, if they are married, in-law get togethers. So in place of a Thanksgiving dinner, we have our Christmas decorating night.
2) We have shrimp. Yes, shrimp. We have shrimp three times a year in our home: Christmas decorating night (shrimp cocktail), “White Christmas” night (shrimp alfredo), and Christmas Eve (shrimp cocktail, oven fried shrimp, and shrimp scampi). It is a big deal. It is shrimp! Not casserole. Not half ground turkey and half hamburger. Not shredded chicken. Real shrimp!
3) We read a story or two, sing a few carols, draw sibling names for exchanges, eat appetizers, drink IBC root beer (twice a year!), and decorate. (See Family Unity.) It isn’t too elaborate, doesn’t take too much preparation, and isn’t overly long (in time).
4) Our decorating is very simple—sixty to ninety minutes with all of us. We put up a simple tree with homemade ornaments and set out dozens of various sizes of nativity sets. We might hang a wreath or two. I don’t have expectations that they are going to spend several hours decorating my house. The fourteen of us can usually do the actual decorating part in an hour or so. That keeps everybody interested and makes the evening more enjoyable.
5) I use paper plates—I don’t want everybody to have to work all night cleaning up at the end of the evening, so I often put the appetizers (store bought) in the oven in foil pans and serve it all on paper plates.
6) They are always invited to stay later to play games or watch a Christmas movie—but again, that is an invitation not an obligation.
Just a few simple tips. But those tips make our night special.
I am not a photographer by any means, but I have some pictures of our decorating night—complete with all of the homemade ornaments that the kids and I made each year during our “Christmas unit studies.” Those ornaments bring all of us great joy—and are a huge part of our “reminiscing” and “memory sharing” each year.