We love Christmas around here. We love the memories, the family time, the matching PJs (ok maybe the husbands don’t love the matching PJs), and the faith-filled traditions. What we don’t love is the toy clutter that follows, the pressure to buy more and go bigger each year, or the feeding frenzy Christmas morning can resemble. So what’s a family to do? Well certainly if you love Christmas as-is, don’t change a thing. But for those itching for a different experience this year, let us help you find one!

We have put together a list of 7 things to change up your traditional Christmas Morning:

1. Take a Trip. This can come in a few forms- gift a trip on Christmas morning, coupled with gifts that complement the trip (think skis for a ski trip or Disney apparel for a trip to Disney!) or take a trip on Christmas. While staying home at Christmas is lovely, the road less taken yields adventure and wonderful memories in a new place.

2. Serve. Go to a homeless shelter, food pantry, or other non-profit and serve those who can use some love on Christmas morning. Not only is it heartwarming to help someone in need, but it affects our kids in such a positive way. To see other walks of life, and learn compassion and empathy is one of the best gifts we can give them.

3. Adopt a family. Giving and receiving aren’t mutually exclusive, but we may have more resources (time, money, and energy) to lavish on another family if we’re skipping the traditional Christmas for ourselves. It can be so fun to find a family with kids similar in age to our own so they can be involved in choosing things they think their peers would like. Just like the serving suggestion above, this option is a great way to teach our kiddos that giving can be just as sweet as receiving.

4. The Gift of Time Together. Rather than buying toys, try giving gifts to use together. A new gaming console, board games, and puzzles. Get creative with your activities that day. A lot of options like, at home mani/pedis, bake and cook delicious meals together, watch new movies, set up a photo booth and take instax mini pictures. Camp out under the Christmas tree with snacks and hot cocoa. Have a fun family day of playing, hanging out, and even snoozing together.

5. Staycation Season. Do fun out-of-the-ordinary activities on Christmas and the days following. You can intermingle ‘big’ excursions with little ones. Some ideas are ice-skating, breakfast out, a movie out, a trampoline gym, bowling, rock climbing, target shooting, mini golf, special dinner and a movie night in- you could even wrap tickets to some of these places or create a scavenger hunt to figure out the activity du jour.

6. Gift Experiences. Think season passes to museums, the zoo, the theater, the aquarium, etc, tickets to their favorite places like the movies or a trampoline or rock-climbing gym, musical lessons, or sports-related leagues, lessons, or activities. Even a project like re-decorating your teen’s room or a new and improved family hang out space would fit this bill. The possibilities are endless.

7. Christmas Experiences. So often we try to jam all of our Christmas-y things into a few short weeks- why not save some fun for Christmas and after? Go look at lights, go see the Nutcracker, check out other Christmas related productions, or go to a Christmas parade. Subscribe to your town’s local family themed paper (or blog) for ideas.

Whatever you decide, create the Christmas your family will love and cherish for years to come and don’t be afraid to change it up- the kids will follow our lead and as long as we’re together, we have everything.