Editor’s note: This post was updated on Dec. 2, 2021.
‘Tis the season to be with those nearest and dearest! While your circle of co-celebrants may be smaller this year, there are still so many ways to keep the holidays joyful and active.
Here are just a few ideas you can use to make special holiday memories and enjoy the warmth and happiness of spending time together with the people you love most.
1. Make a Santa snowman together
Place a red hat and scarf on a snowman to make an extra jolly Santa. Or use a red rubber ball for a nose and twigs for antlers to create a Rudolph to lead his sleigh.
2. Go for a sparkly ride
Decorate your bikes or pedal cars with a garland, ornaments, or ribbons of multiple colours and go for a festive ride around the neighbourhood.
3. Spin dreidels
With a set of dreidels, there are hours of fun to be had! It’s easy to play and the whole family will have a blast! You can even make your own dreidels out of paper [PDF]. There are so many wonderful traditions associated with Hanukkah that your whole family will love.
4. Send a smile
Let friends and family you won’t be seeing over the holidays know you’re thinking of them by having your kids draw or paint holiday pictures. Take a family walk to the mailbox together to send them. There’s nothing like a personalized drawing from a child to put you in the holiday spirit. Bonus: pulling back the chute and watching the letters go into the mailbox is super fun—or is it just me who likes doing this?
5. Enjoy a festive pet walk
Dress your pets in holiday sweaters (did you know you can get ugly Christmas sweaters for dogs?) to make your walks more festive. No dog in your household? No problem? Dress a favourite stuffy in holiday style to take along. And if you don’t have an ugly sweater for your pet or stuffy, a Santa hat, reindeer antlers, a jingle bell collar, red bandana, or bow on your pet’s collar will bring festive pizazz to your companion.
6. Organize a
Easter egg candy cane hunt
Make this a new minty tradition inside or outdoors. Hide mini candy canes around the house (and outside, if the weather is nice). Give the kids Christmas stockings to put their finds in to give the hunt an extra festive touch.
7. Spread the sparkle
Hang ornaments in your yard on trees, bushes, or fences—or on trees in local parks or ravines—to bring joy to passersby.
8. Design a Kwanzaa necklace
Paint dry tube-shaped pasta in the colours of Kwanzaa (red, black, and green) then string them on a cord for a fancy touch to holiday outfits.
Kwanzaa is a holiday rich in history and traditions. If it’s not a holiday your family celebrates, it’s one you’ll definitely want to learn about with your kids.
9. X marks the spot
Have your kids use a spray bottle filled with water and food colouring to make a message in the snow to help Santa find you. A big X or a “Please land here, Santa!” will help the man in red locate all the kids on his nice list. (Don’t forget a “Thank you, Santa” after Christmas!)
10. Venture out on a night wonder walk
Bundle up the family and head out together to enjoy the Christmas lights, inflatables, and lawn reindeer around your neighbourhood. If your neighbourhood isn’t well-lit, have kids wear headlamps to make the walk even more fun.
11. Play the gift mitt game
Have your kids open a present wearing oven mitts. You might want to make sure you get this on video for future hilarious enjoyment. To make it even more challenging, add extra layers of paper when wrapping the gifts.
12. Follow Santa’s journey
On Christmas Eve, check the NORAD website to track Santa’s travels from the North Pole. Just make sure that everyone is tucked in their beds (visions of sugarplums are optional) before the big man in red arrives.
Have a happy, joyous, and active holiday season!