I love the holiday season, and for so many reasons. The obvious is that every street corner is lit with beautiful lights, making the city look so festive. Those lights put a smile on my face. I love strolling with my kids just to see them.

Another wonderful holiday tradition I love is the exchange of season greetings. Sending and receiving physical holiday cards, especially when everything else is so digital is such a delight. The knowledge that someone selected, hand-addressed a personal card, and sent it along with his/her’s best wishes, warms my heart.

Last but not least, the holiday season is the time for family and friends to get together. Share a meal together, sit by the fireplace, create magical moments.

However, nowadays it is abit of a challenge for families to create those memories while in the same room, as electronic devices makes the “together” be “together alone”. We are together at the same room, but each child is on a device.

Not this holiday season, not on my watch!

I recently sat with parenting experts and put together this list of alternative for screens, so this holiday season our memories will be to remember. Check it out and see what you can use with your family and friends when they come over. Feel free to leave additional ideas as a comment.

Discover the outdoors

Assuming weather permits and/or they are dressed appropriately, playing outside at the backyard is a great one, going on a hike or a scavenger hunt is another.

Remember the decorations & the lights we all love so much, how about go out to see them?! Have the kids grade them, see what wins first place. Find the most lit up house in your neighborhood. You can also have them help you put up the lights in your home (assuming they are old enough).

For those who got snow — sledding, building a snowman, snowball fight, making snow angels, ice skating, etc is supper fun! After that let them enjoy some hot chocolate with some marshmallows. No one will say no to that!

For my readers with a warmer weather — riding a bike, playing basketball, and if there are more than a couple of kids at your house, a scavenger hunt with the price of making a milkshake, or some holiday decorated cookies is the perfect price…

When we can’t go outside

We may not have the privilege to send our kids outside to play. It could be because of the rain, darkness, or they just don’t want to. In those cases I would like to suggest the classics — arts and crafts, board games, cooking, baking, or even help decorate the table for dinner. Just remember, alternatives to screen time should be age appropriate to avoid frustration.

Food network offers some cool recipes for cooking with kids. For Sesame Street fans, here are some more.

Card games, and board games provide hours of fun and will be remembered forever.

Here are some (expected) arts & crafts for hours of fun.

For the scientists among us, some fun science experiences. We can let them experience alone (risking a messy kitchen) or with us (get the camera ready to capture some fun).

If this is not enough, here are some more screen time alternatives according to age, suggested by Be fun mum (2–5 years old), Scholastic (3–5 years old), and Family education (for 6–10 years old kids).

credit image thechargeraccount.org

I highly recommend speaking with the kids ahead of time, match their expectations. Let them know that yes, there are going to have some free time but not all of it will be with electronic devices. Just a thought, maybe during tonight’s dinner, ask your kids what alternative they think could be fun, see if they can come up with ideas of their own. Again, it’s best to do it ahead of time while they are not stuck playing with those devices.

❄️ Happy holidays! ❄️

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com