When you think back to your most favorite holiday, what comes to mind? Chances are, it was not the gift you received that makes the memory so special. It was more likely an experience you had with your family or friends that stands out. This holiday season, consider focusing more on experiencing the holidays rather than making it “all about the presents”.

1. Start a new holiday tradition! It can be something as simple as:

a. Bake a dish together that represents your family heritage.
b. Sit together at the dining room table and create handmade holiday cards to send to your loved ones.
c. Make something by hand to give as gifts rather than purchasing them at the store – children are very good at beading and can make simple necklaces or keychains.
d. During these inside activities share the things you are most grateful for this year

2. Take your children for an outing that is simple but memorable:

a. Go for a hike in the woods on a winter morning
b. Attend a religious ceremony of your faith
c. Attend a holiday chorus or community play
d. Go ice-skating
e. Attend a tree lighting
f. Read your favorite seasonal poem, or short story. Children of all ages loved to be read aloud to!

3. If you are attending public events, make sure you have a plan for where to meet up if you are separated from your child.

4. Tell your children they need to remain aware of where you are at all times – Of course you will be watching out for them, but tell your kids it is also their job to follow you. Say to them “if you cannot see me … then I cannot see you”. This helps them to understand how important it is that they can see you at all times.

5. Ask your child what they would like to do to celebrate the holidays – Give them three choices of activities that you would also enjoy, and allow them to select the one they are most interested in – This way everyone has something to look forward to!

We hope you found these ideas to be helpful and we hope you do something with your child or children that they will always remember as special.

The Polly Klaas Foundation wishes you and your family a fun and safe holiday season!
For more information on child safety please visit http://www.pollyklaas.org/safe/