Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Family Activities to Do with Grandparents During the Holidays

happy family portrait in dining room
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By LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

As we head into the latter half of the year, holidays will begin showing up in quick succession, which is why it’s a smart idea to have an advance plan for what family activities you can do with the grandparents. Your grandparents might not be as spry as they once were, and health conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can make certain holiday traditions such as ice skating a non-starter for older family members. Here are seven ideas for family activities to do with grandparents during the holidays:

Decorate their space.

Decorations are part of what makes the holidays feel like the holidays, but it can be difficult (and sometimes unsafe) for grandparents to put them up on their own. This is especially true for Christmas lights, the tree, wreaths and other decorations that require a ladder. Offer to help put up decorations and turn it into a family activity so that you all can spend some quality time together while taking the burden off the grandparents.

Wear festive holiday outfits.

Getting dressed up for the holidays — whether it’s just wearing certain colors or decorating your own Christmas sweaters — will get the entire family in a festive mood. Sort through your grandparent’s adaptive clothing for men and women and pick out some garments that might work for the holiday theme if you want to keep it casual, or commit to getting matching shirts or sweaters for the entire family if you really want to lean into it.

Cook or bake a traditional recipe.

Pretty much every family has certain dishes they make for each holiday, which is why cooking or baking with the grandparents is the perfect holiday activity (even if it does require you to loosen up those men’s elastic waist pants). If your grandparents always do all the cooking and/or baking, ask to help out and get the kids involved too — even little ones can help with simple tasks like mixing batter or mashing potatoes. This is also a great opportunity for both kids and adults alike to learn any secret family recipes that the grandparents have been guarding closely.

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By Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

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Make a scrapbook of holiday photos.

Chances are that your family has many years of family holiday photos stored on phones and SD cards, just sitting there. Sorting through those pictures, printing out the best ones and immortalizing them in a physical scrapbook is a great craft project to do over the holiday break. If your family is more tech savvy, you can upload the images to a digital photo frame instead. While this is more of an investment, it’s a great way to display your most recent family photos without needing to print them out (and it makes an excellent Christmas gift idea if you’re trying to plan ahead).

Create handmade holiday cards.

Another great craft idea besides scrapbooking is to make handmade cards together that you can mail to other family members. This is an activity that works for family members of all ages, and even the smallest kids can help glue paper or apply stickers. If the entire family wasn’t able to gather for the holiday, then mail the cards to the people who couldn’t make it so that they will know that you’re still thinking of them even though they couldn’t make it in person.

family sitting around festive table
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By FamVeld / Shutterstock.com

Watch holiday movies and TV shows.

If your grandparents aren’t mobile enough to do some of the other activities on this list, you can still watch holiday-themed movies and TV shows with them, even if they are suffering from dementia. The Hallmark channel is always a good source for this, but if you don’t like to sit through commercial breaks, many streaming services have holiday-themed movies and TV shows, including lots of original content so you don’t have to rely on reruns.

Share or read holiday stories.

Sharing stories from the past is a fantastic way to stimulate your grandparents’ memories and ensure that their tales are passed down to the new generation. If your grandparents have trouble telling a coherent story or following along when someone else talks, they might enjoy reading from a familiar holiday story or religious text instead.

Is your grandparents’ closet in need of a refresh before the family holiday gathering? Consider getting them some new adaptive clothing from Silverts. We stock a wide range of styles and sizes, from women’s elastic waist pants to men’s adaptive pajamas. Get free shipping on your U.S. order, no minimum needed!

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