Magazine Article

Growing Closer Together

Making cozy moments

Karen Holford
Growing Closer Together
Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

There’s something about the cool, crisp weather of winter months that invites us to huddle together and find cozy moments. So step away from your devices for a while and plan some simple, fun activities that will help you grow closer together as a family. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Choose activities that help you get to know each other better, such as working on your family tree and sharing family stories. Or ask each person to write questions on separate index cards and take turns picking a card for everyone to answer.

Make kindness tags by cutting hearts from cardstock, decorating them, and writing “Kindness Alert!” on them. Each person starts with several tags and places them wherever they have done a secret act of kindness. Whoever finds a tag does another act of kindness within 24 hours to keep the kindness growing.

When we appreciate others, we are less likely to argue with them! Stick a photo of each person at the center of a sheet of cardstock. Pass the picture around the family and invite each person to write two things they appreciate about the person around the edge of the photo. Or start a gratitude board on which each person writes a short thank-you note to everyone else in the home every week.

Invite children to choose a cookie or dessert recipe and involve everyone in making the treat. Design a simple greeting card and make them together for everyone on your mailing list. Purchase a simple craft kit for making holiday decorations, and spend an evening crafting together, or set yourself the challenge of making all your decorations from recycled materials. Search online for hundreds of ways to make simple things from unwanted books, scrap plastic, and leftover fabrics.

Laughing and working together

Provide a stack of copy paper and ask each person to create an imaginary gift for everyone else in the family. These can be things they would love to give if they had the money, or even things that haven’t been invented yet! Have a time of imaginary gift sharing, telling each other what you made and why you chose it.

Ask each person to draw or create an imaginary machine using junk or construction toys. This machine is one that will help you to solve a family problem. Introduce your designs and say why you chose this machine. Maybe it will stimulate some creative solutions for your everyday problems!

Tackle a family task as a team. It’s much more fun doing something together than on your own, and it grows trust and love. Put on some uplifting music as you clean up, decorate one of your rooms, gather your unwanted clothing and belongings to share with others, or clear the yard or garage. Celebrate by making pizzas together and continue the teamwork!

Worshipping together

When everyone’s busy, some no-prep worship ideas can bring you together. The more our experience of God’s love is expanded, the more we can share His love with those around us.

Send everyone on a scavenger hunt to find three things in the house that remind them of God’s love. Bring them back together and describe how each item helps you understand something about God’s wonderful love. Ask each person to share a time they experienced God’s love, or the love of someone else, during the day.

Gather your craft materials. Read Psalm 103. Write a list of the ways that God loves you based on this psalm. Then each make something to remind you of God’s love. Display your creativity as part of your seasonal decor.

Write the alphabet down the side of a sheet of paper. List as many adjectives as you can to describe God’s love beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Praise Him for His love together.

Print placemats with worship-focused activities for family mealtimes from

Blessing your community together

Every winter the Johnson family creates a window of light with a heartwarming message for their neighbors. They use tissue paper and black cardstock to create a “stained glass” design, sharing a message of hope, love, or gratitude. Sketch out a simple design on paper. Use computer fonts and a printer to make patterns for the letters. Cut out the shapes together and fill the whole window with your design. Use colored tissue to bring life to the design. Leave the light on to shine your message to the community.

One church advertised their “Lights of Hope” project to the community. Families drove around, looking for the decorated windows in their town, and completing a worksheet to show which ones they found. Participants were invited to a celebration at the church with refreshments, and an opportunity to make a small window decoration to take away. One year the church told the story of Jesus’ birth through their window designs, and revealed a different window each day of Advent to make a community Advent calendar.

Sharing love together

During the winter months the Muller family regularly visit the neighbors on their street. They make small gifts, such as bags of roasted nuts, cookies, candles, or candies, and visit each home in turn. Dad plays the guitar, and the children sing a song on the doorstep, give the gifts, and ask how they can help. This year the Mullers are also inviting people to come to their home for an evening of cookies, hot chocolate, and a movie, or games.

Closing the day together

End your days with warm and encouraging conversations. List three things that went well, and thank God for the successes. Tell each other which character strengths you have seen in each other during the day (visit for a list of the top 24 character strengths). Ask where each person saw Jesus at work during the day, and what filled them with wonder. Ask what hurt during the day, and comfort each other with loving words and prayers. Make sure that everyone goes to sleep knowing that God loves them and that their family loves them too. The colder months might just end up being the warmest time of the year!

Karen Holford

Karen Holford is a family therapist based in London and the Family, Children’s, and Women’s Ministries director for the Trans-European Division.