The holidays are never more wonderful than when seen through the eyes of a child. For grandparents, one of the best parts of the season is helping create that special magic for your grandchildren and watching them experience and enjoy long-standing family traditions. Even the Grinch-iest of us have to smile when a little one’s eyes get round with wonder at seeing Santa at the mall, or as they write their Christmas list, or as they sing Christmas carols loudly around the house.
“We often think of the holidays as a specific day of celebration, because that’s what we’re all building towards,” says Jake Quigley, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle, a luxury independent living community in the heart of Boston at the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut. “But remember being a kid yourself, or when your kids were little, and the anticipation and excitement of the entire season. If you focus only on the big day, you’re missing out on opportunities for lots of fun.”
One of the not-so-secret joys of being a grandparent is making things magical for our grandchildren. So, this holiday season, don’t wait until the actual day to pull out all the stops. Fill the weeks before the holiday with different activities, events and traditions – whether you live nearby or across the country.
Share Classic Holiday Stories
What’s more cozy than curling up in a chair, reading a classic holiday story to your grandchildren? From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to The Story of Hanukkah, A Christmas Carol and more, reading traditional stories together are a great way to build the wonder of the season. If you live far away from your grandchildren, use Skype or FaceTime to read to your loved one from across the miles. This could become a new, beloved family tradition!
Create Special Matching Ornaments
Each ornament on our tree is a snapshot of a beloved memory. Think of the little flour dough ornaments your kids made when they were in grade school, or the decades-old popcorn garland that was made during the great blizzard of ‘78. Create yet another memory with your grandchildren by making ornaments together. It doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, you could even go to the store with your grandchild and purchase matching ornaments (or send them one from far away) – all that matters is that it’s something you share that both of you will remember when you look at the tree in years to come.
Reminisce About Holidays Past
Pull out some old photo albums and show the grandkids how you celebrated the holidays when you (or their parents) were their age. They may laugh at some of the old-school antics you all got up to (“what do you mean there was no Elf on the Shelf?”), but we bet they’ll love seeing this slice of family history and seeing traditions and decor that’s been a part of their celebrations forever. You can even mail them copies of old photos with stories attached to give them something fun to open, whether they live blocks or states away.
Bake Holiday Cookies
Of course baking cookies rises to the top of the list. It’s a time-honored tradition that’s fun, messy and delicious. Break out some old family recipes, pull out the aprons and invite the grandkids over for a wild afternoon of baking. For grandkids who live far away, you can still share the fun. Put together a batch of dry ingredients along with a recipe card and mail it to them so they can still have the experience (you can even video call them and bake “together” once they get the package).
Play with Dreidels
The classic dreidel game is something children (and adults) look forward to every year. Besides the classic spinning game, you can mix it up with different variations on this old tradition. You can do a “spin off” where you see who can spin the dreidel the longest. For a messy (yet artistic) take, give grandkids a box, put paper on the bottom, dip the dreidel in paint and have them spin it to create masterpieces. There are many great resources online that can help you add a modern, fun twist on this classic.
Do Unto Others
‘Tis better to give than to receive, and this time of year is a perfect opportunity to spread cheer to others. You and your grandchildren can pick out gifts for Toys for Tots, volunteer for a local charity or simply donate some money to a charitable organization. You can also bake cookies for neighbors or friends, or help your grandchildren write special notes to family members and loved ones about how much they’re appreciated. Find something that’s meaningful to both you and your grandchildren (and fun, too).
See a Holiday Performance
This time of year, there are many family-friendly classical (and pop) concerts going on. If going together with your grandchildren is possible, get all dressed up and head out for a fun evening of music, theatre and magic. If your grandchild is performing at school or church, be sure to attend – having you there will mean a lot.
Do a Holiday Countdown
Purchase an advent calendar or other holiday countdown for you and your grandchild, and count down to the holiday together. You can open them together over the phone or simply do it at a certain time each day. Thanks to technology, you could text your grandchild as soon as you open yours to get their reaction.
Write Gift Lists Together
Little kids especially like being helpful. Ask their help in figuring out what you should give everyone this year. The suggestions your grandkids give for their parents, siblings and other family members can be surprising, touching and downright hysterical. You can also help your grandchildren come up with gifts they can give their family members.
Enjoy Every Moment
You may get to spend a lot of time with your grandchildren this holiday season, or you may only have a few days. However you’re able to celebrate, be present and enjoy every moment. Take pictures, record them opening presents and write down memorable phrases and events. The memories you create will stay with your grandchildren throughout their lives and hopefully will be traditions they continue with their children and grandchildren.
For more information about fun ways to celebrate the holidays with grandchildren, contact the staff at Waterstone at the Circle.
Luxury Senior Living in Boston
Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and a vibrant lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill.
Elegant Independent Living Apartments
Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.
Senior Living Supportive Services
As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.
The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.
Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring ... it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our vibrant Boston independent living community and discover the Circle lifestyle today!