1.) Visit a Colorado State Park for FREE!
Turn Black Friday into a blue sky Friday, a green trees Friday, a white snow Friday, a Fresh Air Friday. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is providing free entry to all 41 state parks in what has become an annual tradition of encouraging Coloradans to get out and give thanks. #FreshAirFridayCO
2.) Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree!
When you cut down your own live Christmas tree in a national forest, you take an active part in managing our national forests as you celebrate the holiday season! A permit is required, so if you can't go on Friday, you can at least begin the process of getting a permit, gathering your supplies, and finding a date on your calendar for a fun family outing!
The Every Kid in a Park initiative is offering one free Holiday Tree permit to 4th graders enrolled in the program. These permits are only available at U.S. Forest Service District offices; your 4th grader and your pass must both be present.
3.) Decorate Your House!
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, crank up the Christmas music and begin the process of decorating your house. Starting the process now will make the holiday season feel longer, and you can take the whole day to enjoy it and get everything just so.
4.) Go Play With Your Kids!
Play, move, learn, and bond together. Visit an old favorite or explore someplace new.
5.) Adopt a Furry Family Member!
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and the Weld, Boulder and Larimer County Humane Society have a number of older feline and canine companions eagerly waiting to meet their new families. All adoptions include spay/neuter surgery, initial vaccinations, microchip ID implant, and a free initial office visit with a participating veterinarian.
6.) Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange!
Invite 10-20 of your friends and family members for a fun party. Each person brings 3-6 dozen cookies (depending on the size of the guest list) along with enough copies of the recipe for all the guests. Everyone leaves with enough baked goods to last the rest of the season.
Keep it simple or follow Martha Stewart's 8 Steps to Hosting a Cookies Swap for a fancy fête!
7.) Purge Outgrown Toys and Books!
Between Santa, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends, many kids get a LOT of new things coming in so it might be a good time to for a pre-holiday toy purge. Donate what you can and throw away the rest... no regrets!
8.) Sign Up to Adopt a Family!
Give your children the gift of compassion in a very tangible way and make another family's holiday wishes come true too. You can adopt an entire family or simply donate one new unwrapped toy. Here is a wonderful local Adopt a Family resource Serve 68.org
9.) Plan Your Elf on the Shelf Adventures!
Shop for all the treats you'll need for an Arrival Letter on the first day and then come up with a loose plan for the remaining days or follow ours to make it a little easier on yourself. Want even more ideas? Our Elf on the Shelf Pinterest Board has hundreds!
10) Plant some flowers.
Winter is a great time to start an indoor garden or just add some great house plants to your décor. It brightens the days and cleans the air.
(Editor's Note: If you haven't started Elf on a Shelf in your house, you should know that it is a LOT of fun but also a LOT of work. We have used most of our brainpower coming up with or copying new ideas. We've been doing it for 9 years and, since it is our girls' favorite tradition of the holiday season, we think we'll be doing it till she goes off to college!)