By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
There is nothing quite like the bond between father and daughter. Daughters not only learn how men should treat women from their relationship with their dads, but it also dictates who they marry and how they relate to their future spouse. The father's presence in a child's life—especially a daughter's—can make or break a child's future. So, men, even if you have trouble relating to daughters because you do not have as much in common, you must do what you can to bond with your daughters.
There is no better time for a father to bond with their child than at Christmas. Kids are often off from school and have plenty of spare time. Dads that spend quality time with their daughters create a bond that can never be severed.
In this economy, however, having daddy-daughter dates may be hard on a budget. But with a little ingenuity, fathers and daughters can have a great time and not spend too many dollars to do it.
Here are six daddy-daughter Christmas dates to try this year:
1. Ice Skating
One of the best gifts you can give your daughter this Christmas is the gift of experience. By doing something that requires movement, like skating (or even dancing), you not only focus on each other but also relive memories of when you were a kid. You can have a magical experience by going to Rockefeller Center or taking a mild hike to your local frozen pond. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it's a memory she will never forget. (Consider packing a thermos of hot chocolate for your outdoor adventures!)
If this is your first time skating, or she's not that confident on the ice, take the time to show initiative and be her strength. Help her out by allowing her to lean on you when she feels unsteady on her skates and hold her hand. Even if your child is older, there's nothing wrong with holding your child's hand. The beauty of gentle touch communicates the love you share with each other, even if your relationship has been strained lately.
2. Movie Night
While movie nights focus on a screen, they can still foster quality time between you and your child. It can be as expensive as going to the movie theater and seeing the newest blockbuster hit or renting a few Christmas movies on demand, popping some popcorn, and laughing at your favorites. Allow her to choose the movies so she can be most engaged. Even if the movies are not your choice, the memories you create will quickly become your favorites as you reflect on the effort you showed to take more interest in your daughter.
3. Baking Christmas Cookies
Baking Christmas cookies is a great bonding experience between you and your daughter. if your food budget is tight, be sure to simplify your Christmas cookie list and buy only a few simple ingredients. Simple sugar cookies with no decorative icing can be just as tasty as more complicated recipes like peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses on top or Snickerdoodles. Take the time to encourage her when the cookies come out lopsided or too burnt. Words of encouragement will go a long way in the relationship with your daughter.
You can not only have a great time making cookies together, but you can also bless your neighborhood or community by buying small cookie tins, placing the baked cookies in the tins, and passing them out to neighbors. This is a great way to show Christlike character during the holidays. This will also show her that it is indeed better to give than to receive.
4. Christmas Spa Day
Lots of girls like to get their nails done or relax with a massage or a haircut. Opt to go with your daughter and get a haircut or a pedicure while she gets a Christmas manicure. Although this may go against some of your preconceived notions about what a man is, you may enjoy it, and your daughter will certainly cherish the memory. You can both go to your favorite hair salon or go to one that has back-to-back appointments. You can also go to the mall and indulge in a chair massage. Whichever you choose, open your mind to just having fun and spending time with your daughter. Don't worry about what people think; rather, focus on the great time you're having with your daughter.
5. Shop Till You Drop
Whether your daughter likes to shop or not, she will still likely want to buy gifts for family members at Christmas. You can take her to the mall and let her shop till she drops. Or you can make it a thrift shop Christmas. Give her an allowance and tell her to use her creativity to buy gifts at thrift shops for her family members. Although the gift may be inexpensive, it will encourage her to use her creativity and live on a budget while buying thoughtful gifts for each member. This will not only teach her that it's the thought that counts but also that Christmas doesn't have to be expensive to be fun.
If shopping is not her thing, take her to the local craft store and have her make gifts for each family member. Make that your experience and create the gifts together.
6. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
If you have a teenage daughter, create a day of nostalgia by visiting all the same places you used to take her when she was a kid. Visit the same park, toy store, or restaurant. Go out for ice cream and have dessert for dinner. Re-create a special day you've had with her in the past. Whether she admits it or not, she will enjoy the nostalgia and a moment to go back to a simpler time in her life. If you are unsure of what she would like to do that day, ask. Better to ask questions and do your best to make the day special than to assume you know what she likes and make the day not as enjoyable.
If your child is younger, anything you do with her will be enjoyable. Have you ever played a favorite game? Have you ever taken her fishing or bowling? Sometimes the simplest experiences can be the most enjoyable. As long as the focus is on her and making sure she has fun, you can't go wrong.
Special experiences don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. The most important part of having daddy-daughter Christmas dates is that it focuses on the time you have together and the special bond you share. By engaging in fun activities for both of you, you reinforce that bond and allow your relationship to start a new chapter if your relationship is strained, or it can make it stronger than ever. We all get the same number of minutes in a day. By focusing them on your daughter, you're not only creating memories that will last forever, but you're also shaping your daughter into a woman who knows how to have healthy, non-dependent relationships with men. Ultimately, you are showing her what it is like to have an impactful, intimate relationship with the Savior, which is the real reason for the season we celebrate.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/kipgodi
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.