I’ll start this off with what every blog starts with in 2020……. Things are a little different this year but don’t let that get you down…. Or, in these unprecedented times….. you know, all that stuff!
Here’s the thing. It’s true. But it’s almost as if I’m used to it now; operative word being “almost”. I don't know about you, but I'm just going to go with the flow and PIVOT (insert Ross’ voice from Friends) from our norm. Here are some ideas to do with the kiddo’s in the days leading up to the big fat man’s appearance.
1. Holiday Light Adventure!
On the first day of Christmas, I gave my kids a lift around the city. This should be a tradition in every household COVID or no COVID. Get out and see those lights! Every year the kids say “mama, can we go to the brother’s houses?” Now, most HRM’ers know what the kids are referring to. The two houses that are in the South End of Halifax of course! But in case you are new here, they are at the end of Connaught Avenue almost where it meets Jubilee. You can't miss it, seriously. Along with the Halifamous houses in the South End, this year the city is putting on the Evergreen Festival. So, make sure to bring your mittens, hats and masks and park your car in the downtown core to take in all the downtown lights! You can find out all the sweet spots to look at here. Just in case you didn't know, we have some pretty awesome lights up at our office. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but.... TOOT TOOT! You can also find an interactive map of all the places you can drive by here.
2. HOUSE PARTY!!!
Hold your horses! I didn’t mean an actual party. I meant, have a gingerbread house making party! We always get the pre-made boxes because, let’s face it, baking is just hard for me okay? Kudos to you if you make the gingerbread on your own. You are my hero. Oh! Life Hack Alert!!! I read something recently that told me to cook/melt sugar (just white, refined sugar) and to use it as glue for your houses. It apparently sticks so much better than just the icing. Click here for your sugar glue fix.
3. Movie Night
Let the kids pick out a holiday flick, pop some popcorn and get snuggling! We have already had one these already when The Christmas Chronicles 2 came out on Netflix but, who doesn’t love a feel-good holiday movie, snuggled up with your family more than once? If you haven’t seen The Christmas Chronicles yet, I highly recommend them! Elf is always a classic one as well. The list of fantastic holiday movies can go on forever. What are some of your faves? Tell us in the comments!
4. Snowflakes & Hot Chocolate
On the fourth day of Christmas, I'll give up a little bit of control.... We have a rather large pane window in our living room and this year, I thought I’d let loose and let the kids decorate it with homemade snowflakes (this is a big step for me!). We are going to have a hot chocolate bar set up with all the fixings and make an afternoon of it. Another great idea for hot chocolate is, contact a local baker to hook you up with some of those delicious hot chocolate bombs that are all the rage this year! Have you heard about Dartmouth’s best kept secret? We happen to have an inside connection here at our office! Nick, one of our newest agents, is married to the owner and creator at the Teaspoon Cake Shop! ZOMG. So good!! You can check out her Facebook page here.
5. Games Night
I don’t know about y’all but I LOVE board games. There’s nothing better than pitting your family against each other. It’s not a family game night until someone is crying, am I right? This year, we are going to playing Christmas movie Bingo, Jingle Bell Toss (think beer pong but with bells and no beer) and Would You Rather that is Christmas themed. You can visit Pinterest for ideas on the Bingo game and I found the Would You Rather Game here.
6. Wreath Making
Get out into nature or pop in to see your local florist like Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone to pick up some pine branches, cedar branches or any other type greenery you think will look good. * Please don’t do it on Crown Land, you might get in trouble and I don’t want to be the reason why! * Making your very own wreaths can be so fun and is a great opportunity to make some great memories with your kiddos and family!
7. Ornament Bird Feeders
Since the pandemic started, we may have been a little short on toilet paper and paper towel, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who has been able to get an ample supply, you’re golden! Grab some of those empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls and start spreading the love (aka peanut butter) all over! You’ll need to pick up some bird feed as well. We plan to hang them on our apple tree in the backyard and do some bird watching. In our family, there are certain birds that represent different loved ones that have passed away and kids love seeing them in our backyard. It makes this activity a little bit more special in our home.
8. Holiday Learning
On the eighth day of COVID Christmas I gave the kids some knowledge! We will be learning about the different holidays that people all over the world celebrate during the Christmas season. This will take some planning on yours and the kids part. Ask your kids what countries they might be interested beforehand and see what they come up with! Having knowledge and understanding of other cultures and their customs will last a lifetime.
9. Christmas Cookies
So, I know I said baking is hard for me but, there’s no harm in trying for the sake of your kids, right? My grandmother always made the best, melt in your mouth, shortbread cookies. I really tried to be a part of a cookie exchange one year with that recipe. Let’s just say, I did not do my grandmother proud. However! If you’re looking for a great recipe to try out this year why not try Sandra’s shortbread recipe! If you’ve ever had the pleasure of our Broker/Owner/Agent, David Yetman being your REALTOR over the years then you know how good Sandra’s oatmeal crasin cookies are. Just imagine what those shortbreads are like!! Don’t forget to get all the fixen’s so your kids can go crazy with icing and sprinkles. That’s the best part! Let us know how they turn out, we would love for you to comment if you get a chance to try the recipe.
10. Getting Out a Little RONA Frustrations
On the tenth day of COVID Christmas I gave the kids the chance to let off a little steam. I found this funny yet satisfying idea on a website called A Girl and a Glue Gun. It’s called “Hit the Grinch”. So, you’ll need a couple of NERF Guns and a couple of balloons. For this character, you will need green balloons. Draw the face of the Grinch of the balloons, line them up, aim, and fire! If you don’t have NERF guns on hand, you can use a bean bag or a small light ball instead. If you’re so inclined, you could also make them look like a virus cell and really go at ‘er. Show it who’s boss.
11. Candy Cane Hunt
Yep, you’re right! If you thought Easter Egg Hunt, it’s the same but with candy canes! How fun is this? This can be an inside and outside game and you can make it as easy or difficult as you like. Just try to remember how many you put out so you’re not finding a candy cane next year when you’re putting out those Easter eggs!
12. Handmade Ornament Gifts
On the 12th day of COVID Christmas I gave the kids an opportunity to give. To round out the 12 days of COVID Christmas I thought the art of gifting would be the perfect thing. I know that gadgets and electronics are much sought after gifts, but my favourite gifts are the ones that are made with love and thoughtfulness. This year, we will be making hand print bulbs to give to family members for their trees. You will need paint and your favourite colour bulb ornaments for this activity. Get your children to dip the palm of their hands in some paint and then carefully place their hand on the bulbs so it leaves their hand print. An idea of one design to try would be to have them cup the bulb in their hand where their fingers are coming up from the bottom of the bulb. Their little fingers can be made into a snowman family or something even more creative if you can think of something! Remember, patience is a virtue…. Ha!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, things are very different this year (is that an understatement? I think it’s an understatement). We can’t go out and visit or do all the things we normally could. So, let’s just try to make the best of it. If I’ve adopted any new way of thinking this year, it’s just to remind myself that everyone is doing their best. That’s all we can do. And if you can’t do your best, that’s ok too. It’s 2020. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
If you decide to just do one of these things with your family, that’s fantastic. You don’t need to do all the things. Let’s make this season just about spending time together. We will never forget what 2020 has brought us so let's try and make the best memories out of the hand that we have been dealt.
Wishing you nothing but peace and happiness this Holiday Season, whatever that may be for you.
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