To focus on the more meaningful side to Christmas, we've started a good deed garland at our house. Remember those construction paper chains made in grade school to celebrate accomplishments or to count down to an important event? It's just like that!
Each time something good happens at the house, one of the adults writes it down on the strips of paper and links it to the chain. At least, this is what is supposed to happen. We've been so busy lately that our chain is not as long as it should be--great things are happening, but we're on to the next thing before we have a chance to write the good deed down. I'm sure as the kids get older they will be sure to either remind us, or start writing it down on their own!
This garland would also be fun for other purposes...you can link (see what I did there!?) it to any event, milestone, or skill you want your kids to master no matter the season. A certain number of links can lead to a fun treat or reward. For example, this technique could be used to motivate reluctant readers to tackle more books. For each book a kid reads, they get a link (be sure to note the title of the book!). When they've earned 10 or 20 links, reward them with a fun treat.
There's still some time before Christmas...if you are looking to encourage or recognize good behaviors in your house, then this garland could be a fun way to get the whole family excited and on board. Good luck!