I adore the holidays; the sights, smells and the warm fuzzy feelings.  With the current economy, now is a great time to bring back the real reason for the holidays (which is not retail shopping).

Our children’s favourite things about the holidays are not the gifts … no, really!  Their favourite things are the traditions we have made together as a family.  They talk about the foods, activities and yearly activities.  Here are a few ideas that might work for your family.

Start the season off with a family craft. Before you think this is boring and your kids would not sit still for a family craft … try this.  On a day where everyone has school and work off, set up the art supplies right after breakfast. This way everyone can dig in before the day starts to get busy. Our favourite is making your own dough … we make Christmas ornaments like candy canes, wreaths, stars, and snowmen to give as gifts. The cornstarch clay recipe is easy and fun.  The salt makes it sparkly and if you want them tinted right away you can add food colouring.

Going to pick out a Christmas tree can be a great fun tradition. Check out this website for a tree farm near you.  The farms usually have a hay ride and other festive fun.  Don’t forget your camera.

Decorate the Christmas tree and make it an evening, complete with holiday music, snacks, and hot chocolate.

Most cities have lovely Christmas lights on display and going out for a family drive to enjoy them makes for an enjoyable evening.   Getting lattes on the way make it even more cozy.

Movie night is another great tradition.  Make a pizza together and pick out one of your family’s favourite holiday movies, the choices are endless.  Some of our favourites; It’s a Wonderful Life, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, Christmas Vacation and The Grinch (Jim Carrey edition).

The week of Christmas is a great time to bake, bake, bake with the kids.  Have your children pick out recipes they can help create with you.  Bake extra for friends and neighbors and deliver them together.

Christmas Eve is the perfect time to give thanks and read the Christmas story, complete with a cozy fire in the fireplace.  If you are in a warm place you can always crank down the air condition and throw on a sweater.

Whatever traditions you celebrate will be lasting because you are creating them together as a family.  Happy Christmas to you and your family.