The cold winds and snowy weather of winter just seems to make everyone yearn for cozy nights snug and warm at home. The slower pace of the season, coupled with the increased desire to hibernate with our loved ones makes winter a wonderful time to plan and enjoy low key activities that strengthen family bonds. While the beginning of winter vacation is usually a flurry of holiday shopping, visiting and entertaining, the end of the break is a perfect time to designate a night for a family slumber party. It takes little money to plan an execute a great slumber party for the entire family. It requires only a favorite pair of pajamas and a desire for fun and laughter.
Essentials: There are very few essentials required for this family activity, just cozy pajamas for all and sleeping bags or air mattresses set up in a space where everyone can sleep comfortably. If you wish, you can use this opportunity to surprise everyone with a set of matching pajamas to change into at the beginning of the night. This will surely get everyone in a happy and silly mood. While the older kids may roll their eyes at this turn of events, later on they will surely view this as a fun family memory. Last year I purchased matching pajamas for us all for New Year’s Eve so that we could start the new year off all wearing the same thing. My older daughter protested this idea and begrudgingly put on her pajamas with the rest of us to watch the ball drop. She has already asked me if I planned to do this again this year, and has given me several suggestions on what I should buy for us all. She admitted that she didn’t like it at the time, but has already realized what a fun family time that was and is eager to do it again.
Games: Once everyone is properly attired for the evening, the games can begin. Seek the input of the older children so that they do not get bored with the activities. Be sure that they understand that the goal of the evening is for everyone to have fun, so there may need to be a bit of compromise in the activities. The older children can act as helpers to the younger ones during board games that may be a little over their heads. Instead of becoming frustrated, the little ones will love the attention being showered upon them from their older siblings. A round or two of a word game where everyone adds a line to a continuing story will definitely get the giggles going and create a sense of unity among the family. My girls absolutely love this game. We play it on car trips, in the pool and even when we are waiting on line for something. Minor annoyances and little arguments between the siblings is soon forgotten as they get lost in the silly twists and turns of the story.
Snacks: No good slumber party is complete without some yummy snacks to enjoy while snuggled up in pajamas and sleeping bags. A tray of chocolate treats or leftover holiday pie or cake is perfect to enjoy during this family activity, washed down with a seasonal drink that warms the stomach. Be sure to invest in plenty of paper napkins and plastic plates and bowls so that the end of the evening does not find you standing in front of the sink washing a mountain of dishes. Last New Year’s Eve, I spent the wee hours of the morning in front of a pile of soapy dishes that remained from our cozy family party in the living room. I simply couldn’t wake up to that mess of dirty dishes. While I don’t generally uses plastic or paper utensils and dishes, I vowed that next year I would make the exception and use disposable serving ware so that I could end the evening with everyone else and be spared the hour of dish duty.
Wind Down: After the snacks have been eaten and the games have been played, little sleepy heads may be starting to droop. Now is a great time to brush teeth, pop in a favorite DVD and then snuggle in to fall asleep together. Let the fireplace or wood burning stove keep you all cozy and warm while you enjoy a great night’s sleep surrounded by your loved ones.