Spending Time Together

Spending Time Together

There’s no question that the holidays are a time of gathering with loved ones to share each other’s company, celebrate over a big meal, and catch up with relatives we haven’t seen in awhile.


Nonetheless, the anxiety of a family gathering can put a damper on the holidays as well. Here are a few ways to make your family holiday events a tradition to look forward to year after year.


You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy sports with family. Tossing a football or baseball around in the back yard is a surefire way to bring folks together without the pressure of maintaining constant dialogue.

A flag football game is a great activity that can be enjoyed by men, women and children. Organize teams so that they’re made up of family members who may not know each other as well as to create a fun environment for building those relationships.


Take the stress out of gift-giving by having family members only bring gifts for the kids. A week or so before your family gathering, have a designated person gather the names and ages of the children who will be present, and then assign a child’s name to each parent.

Set a price range to avoid some kids getting lesser gifts than others. For the adults, have a white-elephant or gag-gift exchange, again within a certain price range.

Make sure each gag gift is wrapped and have people draw numbers to determine who gets to pick their gift first. For an additional twist, give everyone the chance to swap gifts once before unwrapping them. After each gift has been handed out, let everyone unwrap their gift and let the laughter and stories begin.


Before the age of online genealogy services and social media, family histories were handed down through storytelling. While it may be difficult to organize this activity, hearing funny stories or learning about your family’s heritage can be an irreplaceable memory.

When talking to a family member, make note of their interests and encourage them to talk to another family member present who may have an interesting story to tell them. Or make seating arrangements at the dinner table that place folks with similar interest together.


Most families usually have at least a few people who are musically inclined. Encourage them to bring an instrument, or gather around the piano to sing Christmas songs and other music.

You may discover that other family members can sing or play, and those who can’t will still enjoy gathering together to listen in. But be forewarned, you might also find out that crazy Uncle Ray can’t resist grooving to the music, even if he is a horrible dancer!

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