The holidays are filled with special moments spent with family and friends from near and far, but there’s one person you should always be sure to make time for, and that’s your mama. We’ve learned (from many, many holidays past) that our Southern mamas are always busy with holiday prep. When December arrives, so does the constant prepping, baking, shopping, traveling, and celebrating. With so much going on, the holidays tend to slip right past, and before you know it, it’s New Year’s Day.
But not this year. This year, we’re making plans with the hostess herself, our mother. We’re going to be intentional about making memories with her and savoring every moment spent with our families this holiday season. From going on a Christmas getaway to wrapping gifts to sipping on hot apple cider, there are plenty of fun things to do and Christmas activities to try that will make it the best holiday season ever—so grab your mom and get to planning!
Bake Dozens of Christmas Cookies
If you think you’ve made enough, make another batch or two. Christmas cookies have a way of disappearing mighty quick during the holiday season—must be those pesky elves! Baking cookies is fun but can be time-consuming. Doing it with your mama makes the prep time go by like a breeze. Here are some of our all-time best Christmas cookie recipes to choose from.
Go Holiday Shopping Together—As In, Not Online
We know, what a novel idea! Online shopping has reached an all-time high, but we’re still nostalgic for the days you could grab a hot chocolate or cider, walk around the town square, and handpick gifts for your family and friends. Some things are best Amazon Primed, we understand, but you can still hit the shops with your mother for some productive quality time.
Make Food Gifts for All of Your Friends
This is the best kind of Christmas gift to receive, in our opinion. We’re suckers for giving our friends and family customized presents, and nothing beats a homemade stash of Hot Honey, Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake, or Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls. Tag-team the prep work with your mother for double the options! Here are more homemade food gift ideas to try this year.
Plan a Girls' Weekend in a Christmas Town
There’s always time for a quick girls’ trip. Sneak away with Mama to do some last-minute shopping, grab lunch, or wander an antiques store. Slowing down and getting away for a few hours will provide both of you some much-needed together time away from the hustle and bustle of holiday prep. These 25 Christmas towns in the South will have you singing fa-la-la-la-la in no time.
Make Your Own Homemade Garland
You (and your mother!) might have done this with your siblings growing up, and she’ll love to keep the tradition going with you and her grandkids. Popcorn or cranberry garlands are a classic craft that keeps giving all season long—they look just lovely wrapped around a Christmas tree, hung from a mantle, and strung from a banister.
Plan a Mother-Daughter Cookie Swap
Cookies swaps are the Christmas equivalent of spring baby showers in the South. Invite all of your friends and their mothers, ask your mother to do the same (but with their daughters!), and have everyone bring their best-ever Christmas cookie. Each duo will leave with tasty new holiday treats! Make it a brunch affair with a little help from these 57 top-rated Christmas brunch recipes.
Go See the Nutcracker Ballet
This one’s a classic Christmastime outing that lets you deck out in your holiday finest and get a taste of culture. Plus, you’re required to stay silent during the show—here’s hoping it’ll quiet your mind from all of the holiday chaos, too!
Learn How to Make Her "Famous" Christmas Recipe
Everyone in the family knows her specialty Christmas dish—be it rum balls or oyster casserole—and it’s time you learned it, too. It might even be stored in her brain, not her recipe box. Really, it’s about putting in the time and effort to make her feel like you care about keeping the tradition alive.
While you’re at it, make copies of her treasured recipes to share with your siblings and to practice throughout the year. Once you master Mama’s favorite dish, you can surprise her with it for her birthday in June. Here are 35 vintage Christmas desserts to get you inspired.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or Food Bank
Giving back is the greatest gift you can give during the holidays, so reserve a day (or more!) to help those less fortunate. Serve breakfast at the soup kitchen, gather supplies and funds for the food bank, or go Christmas shopping for a struggling family. These are the experiences you’ll remember for years to come.
Have a Gift-Wrapping Night Complete Homemade Hot Chocolate
No one wraps a gift like Mama. A sprig of rosemary here, an artfully curled ribbon there—she has vision, that woman. Wrap with her this year, and you’re sure to learn a few tricks that will make your presents look professionally done. You bring the homemade hot chocolate, she’ll bring the extra scissors! Hint: This Slow-Cooker Hot Chocolate will stay warm all night long.
What plans are you making with your mom this holiday season? Do you have any special traditions the two of you share every year? We'd love to know.