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Don’t Celebrate Christmas? Here’s How to Spend December 25

No matter what your traditions are, this can be a meaningful day for your family.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, December 25th can be a dreaded day for parents. The kids have off from school, most of their friends are busy, and almost everything is closed! However, there are ways to make it a special day with these tips for meaningful family fun.

Bundle Up and Get Outside: Parks, Hiking & Ice Skating

Christmas Day is a wonderful time to experience and enjoy the quiet emptiness of winter. Bundle up, fill thermoses with coffee or cocoa, and head to a favorite park. It’s a whole different experience in the winter and there won’t be any waiting for the slides! Check out one of our top playground picks, which are open year-round: Freedom Playground, Ashbridge Memorial Playground, or Kids Castle.

Another good activity is a winter, family hike. While you’re out and about, notice the sights, sounds, and smells of the season on a winter trail. While the visitor center is closed on Christmas, all the trails in Valley Forge Park are open. Additionally, portions of the Schuylkill River Trail and trails in Ridley Creek State Park are also maintained in the winter. If snow is on the ground, sledding is also great fun near these trails! For even more walking spots, check out the All Trails app to find places that might be new to you, even if they’re almost in your backyard!

A day of ice skating makes for a memorable day and Philly’s popular outdoor skating rinks, at Dilworth Park and the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest at Penn’s Landing are open on Christmas. Both have “cabins” where your family can warm up with some yummy hot cocoa and snacks.

If you’ll be out over a mealtime, plan a winter picnic! Pack up hot soup and enjoy it outside or lay out blankets across your laps and eat your packed lunch in the car.

Do Good in the Community

Put your free time to good use by volunteering on Christmas. Make cards for residents of nursing homes or children’s hospitals that you can send for distribution. Purchase items in advance to prepare some meal bags for those in need. Make cookies or sandwiches and thank you cards to bring to your local firehouse for the firefighters on duty on Christmas. To find a volunteer opportunity for your family, try searching on Volunteer Match for ideas or ask for some recommendations on Main Line Parent Community Facebook group!

Embrace the Tradition: Order Out

Chinese food on Christmas may be a joke, but it’s also a great idea! Many Asian restaurants are open on Christmas (call first), so make it a fun opportunity to introduce your kids to new dishes or enjoy old favorites. There are also many local restaurants offering full holiday menus and no matter what you celebrate, supporting small businesses is good for everyone! Consider taking a break from cooking and ordering a meal from one of these awesome caterers and restaurants as a treat.  

Enjoy the Holiday Lights

The roads are often empty on Christmas, making it a great opportunity to drive slowly and take in your neighbors’ Christmas lights. If your family enjoys Christmas music, tune in to the final day of holiday programming. And all cliche aside, there’s an app for that! Local dad Mike Kane created an app called Christmas Prism where users can find holiday lights, list homes with lights for others to find, and even share reviews!

You can also use the Main Line Parent Community Facebook group as a source to find holiday lights. Around Christmas time, the community group is buzzing with talk about the most over-the-top light displays in the ara. Enter “Christmas lights” in the search bar to make a list of addresses and then involve your kids in mapping out a route.

Some of the holiday light show attractions are also open on Christmas day, like Longwood Gardens and Shady Brook Farm. Check out Main Line Parent’s roundup of Holiday Lights Around the Main Line for some more light show destinations to add a twinkle to the 25th!

Snuggle Up for Games & Movies

Christmas Day is the perfect time for a roaring fire, so get one going and then pick an activity. Choose a theme — from holiday films to all the iterations of Batman — and binge watch movies. Or haul out your board game collection and start a marathon game of Monopoly, Risk, or even Twister. Love puzzles? Get out the biggest one you own and see if you can finally finish it.

Look Forward to Your Own Tradition

No matter how you choose to spend December 25, the key to making it a fun day with no (or few) exclamations of “I’m bored!” is your positive outlook. Look forward to this day with no distractions. Talk with your kids about how you’ll spend it. Create your own traditions. Next year, they will be anticipating, not dreading, Christmas Day and so will you!

Lead image via Canva. 

Contributing Writer