Fun family Christmas activities | Living with Gleigh

I needed a new calendar, which would sound easier to acquire than it is. I have specific needs for my calendars: they have to have a pocket, but only one pocket, and they have to have decent sized squares. I don't need name categories; I use wall calendars like a date book and put the morning events on the top of the square and the evening events on the bottom. I'll let you figure out where I put the afternoon events.

So I knew what I must do: I had to head to the mall to a calendar store and fast. January’s schedule was gearing up. I personally try to avoid the mall during the Christmas season. I get my Christmas shopping done before the crowds get whipped into a frenzy with the rush of the approaching day.

We had gone to see Rise of the Guardians at the theater. Then we went next door to the Super Mall in Auburn. The Auburn Super Mall is in the shape of an oval and like trying to figure out a shortcut from one highway to the next in Westport, it's impossible to quickly and easily move from one store to the next at the Super Mall. So unless you know where to park when you arrive at the mall, you just have to walk all the way around the oval until you get where you are going; it's a mile total.

It’s not a bad thing to get a mile or so walk in, because not only is it the season for shopping, it’s also the season for eating. I really only went in for a calendar, but when we got to the mall, my youngest wanted to spend her $25 Hot Topic gift card she had gotten back in September, my oldest daughter and husband needed shoes, we walked by my favorite clothing store and went in so I could find a nice blouse for Christmas day.

I have to admit, it was a nice family time to be at the mall shopping and seeing the Christmas festivities as we put in the mile. It made me think of other Christmas activities my family and I like. So as my Christmas gift to you, I will share a few of them; remember, even though Christmas day is upon us, these events last through New Year’s:

A Christmas movie always tops our list and we highly recommend Rise of the Guardians; it’s a good one to see on the big screen.

We always try to find a great place for Christmas lights. This year we went to Zoo Lights at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. I hear Woodland Park now also has a zoo light display. We’ve also been to Clam Lights at Gene Coulon Park (this one is free) and Bellevue Botanical Gardens.

There are also a couple of things you can do right from the comfort of your laptop:

You can Snow Globe your house for free at: Put your address in and up pops a picture of your house encased in a snow globe. An added benefit of this is a donation is made in your honor to the Coalition for the Homeless every time you do it.

I received an email greeting card from my aunt and uncle from Jib Jab. They were singing and dancing to Feliz Navidad. It was very entertaining, so I went onto and put my family along with my mother into several animated greeting cards: Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree, Feliz Navidad and a sledding scene in which my husband threw a snowball in my face. My kids and I had a lot of fun with this as well as all the people we sent it to. It is $12 for a year’s subscription, but worth the laughs we had creating them, plus you can use it all year for every occasion.

So I hope you find Christmas joy this week with your family and friends. And from my family and me, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

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