by Dr. Ken Canfield

I hope all grandparents are intentional about doing fun and meaningful activities with their grandchildren this Christmas. It’s a fantastic time for bonding with them.

Here are thirteen ideas that you can use or adapt with your own twist.

Join with your grandkids in a project or presentation of some kind. Maybe you can be in a Christmas musical or pageant with them.

Bundle up (if necessary) and get outside. Play in the snow or go for a walk or bike ride.

When the whole clan is together, go around and have each person share about their earliest memories of Christmas, their favorite traditions, or their best memories from last year.

Break up the normal holiday routine and get out of town together for a few days.

Surprise your grandchild by taking him out of school a little early one day, then go see a movie, shop for other family members, or do something else fun. (Just make sure you check to make sure it’s okay with his parents and his teacher.)

If you can’t be with your grandkids for the holidays, try sending gifts ahead of time, and then connect on Facetime or Skype so you can still “be together” and share that Christmas tradition. One family I know gives everyone new pajamas every year, and that would work great with this idea.

Bake cookies or prepare an entire meal together. (And granddads, you have to be more involved than just taste-testing.)

Go to the local rescue mission together to serve meals or offer whatever help might be needed.

Watch a classic holiday movie with popcorn, hot chocolate, or whatever the grandkids enjoy.

Think of someone who could use some Christmas cheer and then play “secret Santa” by surprising them with gifts or doing something special for them.

Maybe try a craft with your grandkids—even if that isn’t your thing. Make Christmas tree ornaments, for example.

Three words that most grandkids love: board game night! Some games are competitive and some are cooperative. Some are silly and some require some real skills or smarts. Find one the entire family enjoys—and remember that the biggest “prize” is time with your grands.

Stay Positive!

This last one is more of an attitude or approach, but it’s important. We hear so much these days about how busy and stressful the holidays are. Sometimes it’s compounded by other tough situations that make this time of year painful and lonely.

It might be nerve-wracking for some people—maybe even our adult children and their families. But I would challenge you to combat that notion. Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful.

We grandparents often move at a more relaxed pace, but I’m really talking about our attitude here. We need to go in with a positive outlook and expect Christmas to be great. We should come prepared with some extra grace and forgiveness.

Remember: our grandkids are watching, and we can help make a hectic season a little bit better for them.

What would you add to this list? What are your favorite holiday activities with your grandkids? Leave a tip and learn from other grandparents on our Facebook page here.