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Surprise your family by starting a new family Christmas tradition this year. Create a fun magical atmosphere for your family with the 12 hours of Christmas on Christmas Eve day. All it takes is a little planning and a little creativity to share activities and sweet treats with them during your 12 hours. The day will fly by and after you tuck your children into bed, you can sit, take a deep breath, and then help Santa when he arrives at your home!

Decide what time you will start your 12 hours. If 12 is too overwhelming change it to 5 or 6 depending on the age of your children and what will work best for your family. The following are suggestions. Adapt this activity to fit your family's needs. What better gift can you give the spending time with your family? So get ready and enjoy the day! Sure to be a cherished tradition for years to come!

You will need a bell to ring to signal each activity. Your kiddoes will love hearing the bell ring. You can have everyone meet around your tree each time the bell rings or have them follow the sound to where the next activity is.

First Hour: Plan a special breakfast for the kiddoes so kick off your first hour of fun with this easy activity. Yummy homemade cinnamon rolls or doughnuts and hot chocolate, breakfast burritoes whatever you think will be extra special for your family. Something you don't usually have for breakfast!

Second Hour: Nativity Activity Ring the bell and have your family gather. Ask your children to go to their room and come up with their own costume to be a part of the nativity. Give them 10 minutes. You can assign who will be an angel, a shepherd, etc... or your can let them choose. Ring the bell again, and have each child tell why they chose the character they did to be a part of the nativity. Then have dad or an older child read the Nativity from Luke 2 in the Bible.

Third Hour: https://recentstore.com/collections/christmas (visit our website) Craft Actitivity Time to ring the bell again. This time have some fun supplies for everyone to make a simple Christmas craft. For example, melt some chocolate chips. Have peppermint sticks, jumbo marshmallows and sprinkles on hand. Then stick a peppermint stick into each marshmallow. Let each family member dip their marshmallow into the chocolate and then let them dip their chocolate coated marshmallow into sprinkles or small candies. Set each when it is done on wax paper and let it set up. Then let each one eat their creation!

Fourth Hour: Snowman Pizza Lunch Can you believe it? It is already time for lunch...where has the day gone? Time to gather the family again. Have some made ahead pizza dough and pull out a cookie sheet with your pizza dough already designed into three different circles one on top of the other to resemble a snowman shape. Have your children put various topping on and of course use items to make a snowman face. Pop it in the oven and eat it for your 4th hour! Add a green salad and a dessert if you like.

Fifth Hour: Puzzle It! Before today, buy a puzzle that the whole family can work on and finish in less than an hour or purchase 2 or 3 simple puzzles that you can make two teams and have a race to see which team can assemble their puzzle first!

Sixth Hour: Game On! Play a relay game called Santa's Beard. Choose 2 teams. Each team will need a Santa. Put shaving cream on the face of each Santa. Then each team member starts throwing cotton balls at Santa's face and at the end of your time limit 1 or 2 minutes. The team to get the most cotton balls on their Santa's face wins. Have a small prize for the winning team. You can add some other fun short relays to your sixth hour if you like.

Seventh Hour: Cookies for Santa! Have ready made sugar cookies with a variety of frosting colors and candies and sprinkles to decorate with. Let each family member decorate a cookie. Also prepare goodies for Santa's reindeer. Set on a festive plate and let everyone sample a cookie as well and add some milk.

Eighth Hour: Treasure Hunt! Give clues to family members and let them search for a present that you have previously hidden for them.Let each family member open a festively wrapped present with pajamas inside!

Ninth Hour: Christmas Charades! Write Christmas carols or names of Christmas movies or Christmas things such as reindeer, candy cane, Christmas stocking, etc... written on a peice of paper and put in a hat. Have kids act out and guess each others Christmas item.

Tenth Hour: Take everyone out to your favorite burger place. Grab a quick bite to eat and head back to the ranch for more Christmas cheer!

Eleventh Hour: S'more Bar! Ring the bell. Have a variety of cookies, marshmallows, chocolate candies, and a variety of toppings available. Roast marshmallows in your fireplace and have fun making creative ooey gooey s'mores!

Tenth Hour: Carols of Christmas! Sing together. Either gather around the piano or go to your computer and play some free Christmas music on the radio. Then sing along as a family. You don't need to be professional singers to have fun doing this. Focus on the season and just enjoy this moment together. You can have some simple rhythm instruments on hand to add to the fun if you want to.

Eleventh and Twelfth Hour: Have everyone don their PJ's. Then pop some popcorn and watch an old Christmas movie favorite like "It's a Wonderful Life", "White Christmas", or"Lemon Drop Kid".

Time to tuck the little ones into bed. Memories made today can last a lifetime. No better time spent than being with your family. So put your feet up for a few minutes and grab some hot chocolate. Re charge and help usher in Santa's arrival!

Cathy Ramage is the founder of Christmas Twigs, seller of handmade wooden french rolling pins and bolt action bullet pens handmade .

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