Plan some fun activities with the grandkids for Christmas!
It’s the most wonderful time of year to be a nana! Grandparents play an important role around the holidays. Christmas memories made with grandma are held near and dear to the heart. From baking up a batch of cookies, to honoring and remembering an ancestor’s holiday traditions, there are things big and small that nana can do to make an impact.
Michele Bettridge shares some Christmas plans you can make with the grands.
4 Ideas to Do With the Grandkids for Christmas
Planning with a Purpose
Michele’s first step to organizing the festivities is always to plan with a purpose. She uses her Granny Planny to keep organized.
Christmas Sleepover with Nana (and Santa!)
The holidays are so busy, and can often feel like there’s already too much going on. Sometimes, as a nana, it feels like you’re just adding another to-do to the list. Michele likes to focus on what is needed, rather than what is wanted. She asked a few young moms what they’d hope the nana figure in their lives would help with around the holidays. “There were a wide range of answers, from, ‘Come decorate my entire house for me,’ to, ‘Please don’t plan any more activities that we would need to add to our schedule. Just come be another pair of hands.’” Michele says. She adds, “It’s important that we are respectful of our adult children’s schedules and wishes.”
This inspired her to host the grands over for a sleepover with nana. They all wore matching PJ’s, and woke up to a delicious breakfast with Santa.
Remembering Ancestors Around the Holidays
One of the values Michele hopes to instill in her grands is a love of their ancestors. One way she incorporates this into the holiday season is by making ancestor’s favorite recipes with the kids. While they’re baking, she teaches the grandkids about the ancestor.
One of Michele’s favorite memories she created was recording her own mother making her famous old-fashioned candy recipes. She recorded her and the steps they knew they would forget if she wasn’t right there beside them. They had the video edited, and a professional cover made, and it’s a gift and treasure that Michele holds dear since her passing.
One year, Michele planned an entire family Christmas party with the theme, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” She took the grands to the small town where she grew up, and many generations of grandparents homesteaded. They went and visited their graves and decorated a few nearby trees in the cemetery with strands of popcorn and cranberries. She taught her grandkids how different Christmas was when she was a child.
Christmas Bucket List
Michele made a list of things that she could fit in her schedule and budget that the grandkids might like to do with her. She wrote each activity on a popsicle stick, with a color coding: Green sticks cost some money, and red sticks are activities that cost very little or are free. That way, she can give the grands direction on which color to choose if she needs to control her budget.
One of Michele’s activities this year will be a food scavenger hunt. She lets the kids become little food critics, and drives them around to different restaurants to vote on their best food item. This year, she will be doing “Milkshakes for Santa” and trying all the different festive milk shakes at the local restaurants to find their favorite.
Between Christmas and New Years, Michele’s idea is to make a one-year time capsule to include the family’s 2024 predictions. Let the grands make the predictions, and then pack the capsule away with the Christmas ornaments when you take the tree down. Next year, you can see how many predictions were correct when you pull out the decorations for the next year!
100+ More Activities to Plan with the Grands
Michele put together a free printable for Studio 5 viewers, filled with over 100 plans with the grands for Christmas break! You can download it for free from The Giddy Grandma social media pages, by commenting “Christmas Break.” You can also find it on her Etsy storefront.
Michele Bettridge is a Nana to 8 grandchildren (plus 3 bonus grandkids and 1 bonus great-grandchild). She started a blog called “Giddy Grandma” and a social media account with Facebook and Instagram in 2013 to share ideas with other grandmas to encourage them to “lean in” when it comes to building relationships with their grandkids. She can be found on social media platforms and many of her printables can be found on Etsy. She and her husband Steve live in Riverdale. She still works full-time with the elderly as a life coach for those navigating dementia and then tries to spend as much time as she can planning the next event or party for her grands.