The official start of the Christmas shopping season is upon us. The weeks to come will include nothing less than an all-out wish-fulfilling frenzy. This, of course, means trip after trip to the mall.
We all know how those trips work. You just need to grab one little thing! Three hours later, you’re huffing and puffing past the carolers’ joyful rendition of the “Hallelujah” chorus. That’s right—road rage and traffic trauma got to you again.
Fume no more, folks. We’ve got just the distraction you need—a list of games and activities guaranteed to make time spent sitting in your car a little more cheerful.
Host a cookie-toss party.
Before hitting the road, bake up a few batches of your favorite holiday treat and divide them into a bunch of plastic baggies. When traffic slows to a crawl, get the attention of the car one lane over. As soon as a passenger rolls down their window, toss over a sweet surprise!
Challenge neighboring cars to a slow-speed NASCAR race.
The never-ending road circling the mall is the perfect setting for this activity. You’re already turning the steering wheel in one constant direction. Why not get a quick tune-up from your impromptu pit crew, rev your engine, and get your race on? The twist: You never know when your neighbor will reach his destination.
Play the Christmas sweater counting game.
Like the love bug of the ’60s and the mullet of the ’80s, spotting a tacky Christmas sweater from the 90’s is a much-loved mini sport. Award one point for a basic Christmas sweater and two points when it accompanies a holiday-themed turtleneck. Three points goes to the rare—but all too real—light-up sweater sighting.
Give your holiday bod a workout—bucket-seat style.
Make a dent in those extra dessert calories by conducting a full-body sitting workout. Start with the neck roll and end with the 10-toe wiggle. Be sure to add a whole bunch of sweat-inducing moves in between. If video games can change your physical life, so can this.
Create a whimsical winter wonderland.
Bring along supplies for a rolling craft workshop featuring the paper snowflake. The driver should stick to driving, but—depending on the speed of traffic—passengers can cut out triangles, square, and circles to their hearts’ delight. String a few up in the car and take the rest home for mantel or staircase décor.
Learn and perform Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
This activity requires serious dedication. Spend some time listening, careful to note every twist and turn in the melody. Assign each family member a part so that no Galileo is left unsung. Sing with gusto and—if you’re sitting in the back—be sure to get it all on camera.
Open up shop as a traveling gift-wrap station.
You’ll feel much better about spending money if you make a little money in the process. This idea works well because while you’re in the traffic loop trying to get in to the mall, others are trying to get out. They’ve already made their purchases—all that’s missing is a pretty wrap job. Display a few signs on your window, and you’re in business!
Of course, there’s always the option of planning your attack: Who will hit which stores, in what order, and how long they have before everyone has to stand down (i.e. return to the car).
For those who would prefer to be a little more—shall we say—productive, you could also get a jump-start on planning your New Year’s goals. Discuss your values and dreams. Look for areas of opportunity for personal growth. Keep it casual, make it fun, and write it down!
No matter what you choose to do while riding along at five miles per hour to grab that one little thing, we hope you find a way to make it enjoyable. By the time you actually find a parking spot, you might not care to go inside!