My siblings are pretty great. I have three of them, all younger than me, so I try to visit my hometown every chance I get so that I can still see them grow up. Christmastime is a great memory maker anyways, so I decided freshman year of college to make spending winter break with my family a priority. Of course, I will live my own life and hang out with friends who are in town on a break as well, but I always sit down with my family and schedule out what days I need to be free to spend quality time with my siblings.
Christmas is also a time of many traditions, and while my family has plenty, I found that the best memories are made in the small moments you don't expect. This is why carving out intentional time is important to me.
And so, I've compiled a list of some great ideas of things to do with your siblings to promote these sweet, memorable moments.
1. Go out for lunch.
This outing can range from super simple to extravagant. Hit the drive-thru and take lunch home to eat while you watch a favorite show ("Phineas and Ferb" is my and my siblings go-to). Grab a quick lunch while you're out and about and have some laughs. Or, plan a nice lunch at an old favorite place. You can't go wrong with lunch.
One of my favorite lunchtime memories with my siblings was when we all went out to McDonald's to celebrate my brother finishing his math class. Yes, he picked McDonald's. We sat and watched the people trying to figure out the self-order kiosks and laughed at the happy meal toys. That year, the toy was a Christmas themed train engine, which we turned into an inside joke. We hid the train randomly around the house for others to find, and eventually, we hid it in my dad's stocking for him to find on Christmas day.
2. Shop for Christmas gifts.
Shopping for Christmas gifts is a GREAT bonding experience. You get to talk about things your other family members like or don't like and laugh
at with them about it.
I always try to split Christmas presents for my parents with my brother. That way, between the two of us, we can afford to get them a bigger gift they might enjoy more.
3. Have a movie marathon.
Marathon movies you've already seen and loved. Marathon new movies you think you will like. Marathon movies one of you has seen and want to show the others.
This year, my goal is to finally watch all the "Harry Potter" movies with my brother. I also always love watching "The LEGO Movie" or "LEGO Batman" with my younger siblings.
4. Share some book recommendations.
Books always invite discussion. You and your siblings can discuss books you've already read and loved or you can suggest new books and explain why you think the other would like it. Books are pretty much the best and I'll always suggest reading as a fun activity.
I'm always trying to get my little sister to read "Toliver's Secret," one of my absolute favorites! My littlest brother likes to write and draw comic books, so that turns into my winter break reading list most of the time.
5. Bake Christmas cookies.
My family bakes and decorates Christmas cookies every year. We make cutout sugar and gingerbread cookies. I always try to make a TARDIS cookie that never really turns out the way I'd hoped it would. My brother always makes a cookie with literally every decoration (sprinkles, frosting, M&M's, you name it!) we have covering it. It's great. None of us are very good at cookie decorating, so there's always a good laugh.
6. Play video games.
This is seriously some sibling bonding time. Sure, it can turn into sibling rivalry, but that depends on the kind of game you play. I like playing cooperative games with my little siblings, such as "Little Big Planet" or any of the LEGO games.
But of course, we also get competitive. One of our favorites is "Little Big Planet Karting." We all take turns picking a track and could race for hours on end.
7. Run errands.
Mom forgot to get laundry detergent at the store? Your brother is craving Sprite Cranberry? Hop in the car together! Target runs are always better with more people. Get distracted in the dollar section together and come home with a bunch of more unnecessary Christmas decorations!
My little siblings and I love going to Target for something our mom needs because we always stop at the Starbucks Cafe our Target has on the way out. My little siblings love Starbucks—I've trained them well!
8. Host a game night.
Board games or card games are always fun and so often overlooked as a go-activity. Invite some family friends over or just have a siblings-only game night!
My family loves Apples to Apples. It's always a good time and creates plenty of inside jokes. My littlest siblings also like Eye Found It games or that old Cranium game Whoonu. My personal favorite card game is Uno—a classic. If you're looking for something a little more complex to play with older siblings, I highly recommend Terraforming Mars.
9. Help mom or dad with jobs or chores.
Okay, okay, I know. Not the funnest of activities. But helping with chores or jobs promotes those small moments that make good memories!
My siblings and I always share some laughs unloading the dishwasher together. And in Florida at least, yard work is better in slightly more chilly December.
10. Find somewhere to volunteer.
If you go to church, see what you can do to help out for their Christmas services. Find a local toy drive. Do a hunger project with Feeding Children Everywhere. Find a way to get involved at the hospital to help bring Christmas to families who can't be all together during the holidays.
My family has put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. It's great to find ways to give back year-round, but can still be extra special at Christmastime.
I hope you're able to spend some quality time with your siblings this year. I hope you get to reconnect and create lasting memories for years to come. I hope you will find time to continue in old traditions and start some new ones as well.
If you need me, I'll be in the Starbucks drive-thru ordering some Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccinos for my little brother and sister and some Peppermint Mochas for me and my brother.