The winter holidays are fast approaching which means your children will soon be out of school, sleeping in and running around the house again. It’s important to keep them occupied and entertained of course, but most importantly we should all take this opportunity to spend time together. And Northern Colorado definitely makes it easy to do so!
We brainstormed our favorite holiday activities to keep kids of all ages active and excited for the entire winter break. Follow our list to find chances to explore your community, meet Santa, revel in the Christmas lights, and even hibernate in front of your living room fire.
Photos courtesy of Climbing Grier Mountain
With the kids are at home, you have more opportunities to bond, make memories and get them to help make dinner! It’s a win-win. Try cooking something festive and new. Our list of pumpkin-inspired recipes from local Colorado bloggers is filled with fun ideas — from breakfasts and dinners to desserts and drinks!
It would be a crime — especially during the holidays — to skip dessert. You’re already in the kitchen, getting your hands messy anyway! If you’ve already tried everything on our list of pumpkin recipes, smores are always a quick, fun idea. And these adorable Owl Smores are sure to be a hit. For a dessert that will warm your heart and fill your bellies, try this Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Cookie Cup recipe.
Or, bake something you can decorate the tree with — like these Ornaments made with cinnamon and applesauce.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a tour of the area light displays. For a short trip, take a stroll through your own neighborhood or a drive around town. Then, for something grand and impressive, visit the Garden of Lights at The Gardens at Spring Creek. Every evening through January 8, the gardens are lit up by hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights.
Just down the street in Old Town you can see their famous holiday light display and get some shopping done while you’re at it!
For a longer trip, make the drive to Denver to see Zoo Lights 2016. Lights completely cover 70 acres of the zoo campus, including illuminated animal sculptures, playgrounds and festive light shows on the water. Until January 1, you can experience live entertainment, animal encounters, meet-and-greets with Santa and more!
Northern Colorado is filled with ways to celebrate the holidays, whether you’re looking for something traditional or brand new. The long adored classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is coming to The Lincoln Center on December 20 and is the perfect way to get the kids even more excited for the holiday!
There are so many opportunities for live shows this weekend — including concerts, comedies and theater. Check out the full list and buy tickets here.
After you see Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol live at the Lincoln Center, curl up on the couch with the family and watch Jim Carrey’s rendition — or maybe even The Muppets’ family version. Let everyone in your family choose their favorite holiday classic and watch them all!
With plenty of time to spend together, you could also see a new movie. The much-anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes out December 16. Why not host a marathon event and then go see the new one in theaters?
Whether you’re making a gift for someone else or a gift for yourself, Do-It-Yourself crafts are a great way to give the kids something fun to do. You can do something simple that you put together at the last minute — like making hot cocoa jars — or Google something you’ve never tried before!
We love this Pumpkin Pie Play-Doh DIY from Crystal & Co. because it merges one of our favorite festive squashes with a fun, homemade toy!
First things first, you and the kids will want to decorate the tree. Get all your ornaments out and let everyone hang their favorites until all your memories are displayed!
Turn the festivities up a notch with a few DIY home decor projects as well. Let your kids help as you put together this Knock-Off Crate & Barrel Ornament Tree or the extremely easy DIY No-Sew Christmas Tree Skirt.
Without the worries of school and homework on their minds, the kids will have plenty of brainpower to dedicate to last minute wish lists and Santa meet-and-greets. You can visit him in Old Town Fort Collins, at The Promenade Shops at Centerra or the Greeley Mall — all while getting last minute shopping done too!
Whichever you choose, get out to one of Northern Colorado’s museums and we guarantee everyone will go home with new knowledge to share.
Photo courtesy of Jessup Farm Artisan Village / Darren Squashic
Fort Collins is filled with unique stops and festive shops you may not have had time to explore during your school and work-filled weeks.
Stop by the Waffle Lab for a meal everyone can get excited about. Give your children a real treat with The Choc-ffle, a Belgian waffle topped with melted Ghirardelli dark chocolate and powdered sugar!
Rebel Popcorn is another sweet option while you’re out shopping and exploring. With festive flavors like Pumpkin Cheesecake, Gingerbread and Bourbon Eggnog, you can all get in the holiday spirit and maybe even pick up a gift or two.
Jessup Farm Artisan Village is a must-see if you haven’t had time to explore it yet — especially while it’s under a blanket of snow and shining with Christmas lights. You can shop; you can play; you can grab a treat and a warm drink while you’re out in the winter wonderland!
Then, on New Year’s Day, you’ll all want to get to Old Town for First Night, the town’s annual New Year’s celebration. Alcohol-free and arts-centered, it’s the best way to wrap up the holiday season.
Do you have any NoCo traditions or family favorites for the holiday break? Let us know how your family spends time together!
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