Blog. Chicken Scratch.
Blog. Chicken Scratch.
The holiday is full of many traditions, some old and many unique to each family. In my household when you sort through the delicious food and endless piles of wrapping paper, you can find our most dear tradition, Christmas movies. Movies can be a great way to grow closer as a family and more importantly can teach your kids lifelong lessons. Here are a few go-to classics that will brighten up your holiday season.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This is hands down my go-to movie the minute the holidays come close. This 1989 classic is a must in my household. The movie stars Chevy Chase, who plays the unforgettable Clark Griswold. Clark spends the majority of the film trying to construct the perfect family Christmas. Soon you will see that the perfect Christmas can turn south quickly. I love this film and the message it brings which is that family is everything. Christmas Vacation is full of heartfelt humor that will have your family filling your home with laughter and joy. My advice is to find an edited version of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Though mostly family-friendly, there are a few scenes that have mature language.
While thinking of Christmas in my home growing up the one movie that comes to mind is Home Alone. I spent many Christmas Eves as a kid recreating scenes of this movie. I promise that parents didn't appreciate booby traps Christmas morning. Home Alone gives you a glimpse of the life of a bratty kid named Kevin McCallister. Kevin gets punished the night before a huge family trip to Paris. You can guess what happens next, Kevin gets left behind and needs to fend for himself until his family returns. As the movie progresses Kevin gains a deeper longing for family and the true meaning of Christmas. The great takeaway from this film is that sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. Home Alone, for the most part, is a safe movie to watch with your kids, there is minor violence, but once you get past that, Home Alone is a timeless classic.
Jingle All The Way
Jingle All The Way is one of those movies that just makes me belly laugh no matter how many times I've seen it. Howard Langston, a workaholic father, is really good at one thing - breaking promises to his family. Jingle All The Way is a story about a dad going through the longest Christmas Eve ever in search of an action figure in order to finally keep a promise to his son Jamie. Once you look beyond Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in a family friendly Christmas flick, there is a beautiful story under some hilarious moments. The message here is like many movies in the holiday genre - family is the most important part of Christmas. Jingle All The Way also exposes how foolish holiday shopping can become, a lesson we can all learn from.
All I can say about Arthur Christmas is that it is just a cute movie. In this animated feature, Santa does the biggest no-no and forgets to deliver a present to a child. Cue Arthur, Santa's youngest son. Arthur takes it upon himself to right his father's wrong. Arthur needs to deliver the package to the child before dawn. My kids love this movie, it is so darn cute and the great take away is that of never giving up. The most valuable lesson I can instill in my children is that they can do hard things and Arthur Christmas helps me teach that. This one might have flown under the radar but do yourself a favor and share this one with your kids.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Eloise at Christmastime
These selected few are a great way to grow closer to your loved ones this holiday season. What are some of your go-to holiday flicks? Let us know down below. Most of all Happy Holidays and a blessed New Years to you and yours!
Holiday traditions change as kids go through different stages of life. So how can you create traditions that evolve, but stay...traditional? Here are a few ideas.
1. Neighborhood with lights. There seems to be one neighborhood in every community that has a gaggle of homes that go all out with the outdoor decorations. Take a drive at night. Little kids will enjoy the lights and might even fall asleep in the car before you get home. As your kids get older, make a tradition of adding hot chocolate into the mix or going for ice cream after viewing the houses.
2. Visit local displays. Living in Southern California, there are plenty of options. We would visit the Santa Monica nativity displays before it was banned by the city. ICE! or Art Below Zero or something similar generally has a presence in many major cities where visitors can see impressive ice sculptures, slide down ice slides and go ice skating.
3. Cook. Food and Christmas always seem to go hand in hand. Select something you love and make it a part of your Christmas celebration every year. Teach your kids how to make it and let them help in the fun. At our house we make Almond Toffee every year. And it ONLY gets made a Christmas. So that first batch ALWAYS makes the house feel like Christmas. And it gets less and less messy each year as they get older.
4. The Nativity. Use tech to share the Christmas story. Break out the iPad and pull up a video version of the story of the birth of Christ. It's a great way to remember the true meaning of Christmas while putting those screens to use in a quality, family-time kind of way. Here's an 8-minute version of The Nativity that is well done and about as non-denominational as you can get.
5. Games! No list would be complete without board games. You generally have a couple weeks with the kids at home and lots of extra time! Create a tradition of giving a new board game each Christmas and spend time playing those games. This is a tradition that is very easy to grow with your children. Play basic games when they're little and the complexity can grow as your kids get older. Of course our favorites include What The Film?! and Camping with Sasquatch. But by next year, perhaps there will be a few new favorites to add to the mix!
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We live in a world in which our time has been taken over by screens and technology. Unfortunately, this epidemic has stretched beyond the adults in the world. As stated by the US National Library of Medicine, a whopping 68% of children under three are using screen media on a daily basis. Teenagers, on average, spend up to nine hours daily within some realm of media. If you ask me, it is time to take our kids back!
Board gaming can be the saving grace to combat the ugly face of daily media intake. We have as a company found that when we are playing a game with our families, it goes beyond just having fun. Board games can help your home and here are 3 reasons why:
1. Get to know those in your home
Too often do people find themselves more a roommate in their household rather than a solid functioning unit. Look at your own life at times. Do you ever see those in your home doing their own separate things? Board gaming can be that solid activity to get the kids to put down the Fortnite and force them to interact with those in the home face to face.
In our own homes, we have found, that if you set aside some time to meet at the table to play together you will find out amazing things about those you deem closest to you. For instance, I discovered my 6-year-old daughter had a love for singing over a game of King of Toyko. I also found out my two-year-old son loves the taste of meeples! Some of the best conversations we have had in our home have been when we meet around a good game.
Along with the fun conversation derived from getting together, we are able to dig deeper and find meaningful relationship building moments. Whether it be that you find out your child is struggling in math or is getting bullied by someone in his/her class, playing games around a table can help open up your child.
Gaming can become a relationship savior as well. We all know those teenager moments when everything a parent says is annoying; we have all been there. But granting your teen that moment of choosing their favorite game or selecting a specific character to use can grant you access to world of communication. This is done in an inviting, non-threating way that is both beneficial for the parent and the youth.
I, like you, have a strong desire to deepen meaningful relationships within the walls of my home. With that said, the inclusion of board games as a regular activity gets the whole house buzzing and adds a slow down we so desperately need in our everyday lives. Whether you’re new to gaming or a seasoned vet, there is both fun and accomplishment found in a simple night of gaming.
2. Develop character through imagination and play
If you ever want to be amazed at how humans develop, look no further than your kids. I never knew how cool that was until I became a dad. Watching my youngest expand his imagination beyond bounds is a joy to witness. Though media in moderation can contribute to the creative growth of a child, nothing, in my opinion, mirrors the creativity found in board gaming.
Whether it's becoming a screenwriter in What the Film?! or being a descendant of one of the three little pigs in Grimm Forest, the supply of imaginative excursions is endless. Along with creativity, your child will be able to learn cognitive skills through consistent gaming as a family. With a wide array of games, you can find the perfect blend for fun and any type of development your family needs.
In my household we have been able to use gaming as a life lesson tool as well. Among those lessons is that of problem solving. Having younger children, I find it really hard to teach independence on a daily basis and with that said I love to feel needed by my child. To fill that void I have been able to use modern day board gaming to teach my children about decision-making. Even though these choices don’t leave lasting effects on the world, giving a child the power to choose an outcome is magical.
Another great takeaway can be the lesson on patience, both with others and ourselves. Through turn-taking and consequences of waiting, you can give your child a glimpse of what the real world will teach them. I have found this to be amazing in dealing with my two-year-old, though rough to enforce, when you are able to have him understand this lesson, it really is parenting made easy.
3. Practice social interaction
One of the simplest facets of everyday life is social interaction. Unfortunately, now more than ever people are overlooking this key attribute of development. Social interaction like many skills in life gets better with practice. It is so sad to see so many fill the void of speaking to one another by endlessly scrolling through a Facebook feed.
Humans were meant to feel! It is so much better to laugh with others than it is to laugh alone. Board games help me teach this lesson to the little ones roaming my home. Take my 6-year-old for instance, she grew up a timid girl afraid to speak to people while hiding behind my legs. Now to watch her explain her favorite game to new friends is beyond heartwarming. Board gaming can be a conduit of comfortability to those trying to grow up and find themselves.
Board gaming is a great tool for introverted children to be able to open up in an easy fashion. I can recall having a young guest in our home who was very quiet and kept to himself. We played What The Film?! with him which involves creative storytelling. Though hesitant at first, he was able to open up and change in real-time. My family can be the same way as this guest. Just by the simple action of choosing the right game for the right person in your home, you can grant them access to the confidence they may need to reach their fullest potential.
Though this list can go on forever, these three things are benefits I’ve found in my own home. The inclusion of board gaming in your home can make a difference and help us gain a bit more control of our homes. I can attest that a family that plays together, stays together.
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Lethal Chicken Games, enforcing fun since 2017.
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