Make A Memory

PJs and Movie Night

I don’t know what it is…a warm cup of hot chocolate…a big bowl of hot fresh popcorn…but there’s something about snuggling up in a cozy blanket to watch a holiday movie that makes me want to go home right now and get in my PJs. Turn this simple evening activity into a holiday Pyjama Party tradition. Invite everyone to bring one pillow and one “blank-ey” (we call them “binkies” in my house…don’t ask why…no one knows) and turn your TV room into a “Blanket Bazaar” for a night or even a whole day (fort building encouraged…no age restrictions)! Add some simple snacks and you have an unforgettable event.

The Family Puzzle

Find a flat surface that you can occupy for a few days over the holidays. Make sure it is near a main gathering space or foot traffic area so people walk past it regularly. Start working on the puzzle when everyone is in the house and see who you attract. Leave the puzzle out for the holidays and challenge everyone to complete it. Putting puzzles together is a great place to have both quiet times and cherished conversations with your growing kids.

Experience Charity, Pay it Forward, Foster Values

Holidays are a great time to teach and foster values in our kids. When it sometimes feels like our kids are only interested in toys and gifts, giving your child the opportunity to experience giving, for no reason at all, is a great way to foster strong values rooted in empathy, consideration, trust and charity.
If your kids are older volunteer at a local organization. For younger kids, gather canned/boxed/non-perishable food items for a local food drive. You can also grab last year’s coats, gloves and hats that don’t fit anymore and drop them at a local charity box together. 
If you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is, a fun activity is to send your kid into a toy store with a nominal amount of money. Tell them you want them to spend the money on the coolest gifts for a kids like them (I always encourage non-tech and no toys that require other toys like video games needing a console – double no-no!). Let them be the one to purchase the toys and donate them to a local toy drive.
Teaching your kids the value of charity over the holidays is a beautiful gift and not as hard as you think. Take this opportunity to explain to them the value of helping others and being kind and grateful. Learn the power of giving. There is no better time than the holidays.

Games Night

Choose the right games based on your child's age and remember the goal is to spend quality time together having FUN! Games are a fundamental way we teach our kids values like honesty, fair play, and respect as well as other life skills like memory, strategy and in some cases teamwork. Games are such a fun way to encourage our kids to draw, count, spell, or learn just about anything. They also just happen to be great memory makers. If you really want to make it count, Double-Down! Teach your kids some of the old simple games that your parents play…whether it’s euchre, cribbage, snakes and ladders or checkers, teaching your kids games that your parents can play is an amazing way to bridge generations for millions of amazing memories to come.

Go See the Lights

There are lots of places you can go to see big light displays this time of year but you may be surprised how many houses in your very own neighborhood really put on a show. Whether you bundle up for an evening stroll close to home, or pile everyone into the car, turn on some Christmas music and drive around looking for the best house, take a moment this holiday season to appreciate some time together doing almost nothing at all.

Bake!

What you actually make will depend on the age of your kids and also how savvy you are in the kitchen. Just about anyone can make a simple cookie recipe. The best part about baking is that it’s pure science. In most cases, if you follow the recipe exactly, it almost always works out! And when it does work out, you can also turn this into a great way to give small gifts to neighbors, teachers and coworkers. You can find inexpensive holiday candy bags at most craft stores. Turn on the music, give everyone a job and enjoy the spoils of your efforts! And as a bonus gift, I would be happy to share Camp Muskoka’s award winning chocolate chip cookie recipe with you. I hope you will make my family’s chocolate chip cookie recipe your family’s new tradition. This is the real deal so you’ll have to promise not to share this recipe with anyone but your family! Camp Muskoka Cookie Recipe