Think back to last year’s winter holidays. What memories do you have? How did you capture the feelings and spirit of your celebrations? If it was all one big, tinsel-filled blur, worry not, I’ve got you covered this year!
Believe me, I know how hectic the holidays can get! Time commitments seem to multiply as family and friend invitations and obligations begin to role in. Then there is the shopping, the food prep, the wrapping, the decorating and the organizing of teachers, child care staff , coworker and charitable gifts. When the holiday dust finally settles, what will you have to show for the chaos? By implementing some of the tips and suggestions below, you can you create lasting memories for your family that can be enjoyed and even passed down as new traditions for future generations!
Get out the sleeping bags and snuggle up under the glow of the twinkle lights. Make some hot cocoa or smores and sing songs or chat about what you are all thankful for this holiday season.
My children LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing their younger selves ham it up on video! Pop some corn and enjoy the laughs and the nostalgia of days gone by. Bonus points if you can pull out any videos from your own childhood!
As the days turn colder and the daylight shorter, we see our neighbourhoods come to life and transform into a glowing, magical world. Schedule some evening walks to take in these beautiful scenes. Children marvel at how dark it is outside (and that they are still awake!) and everyone can enjoy the crisp evening air and sweet sights!
As a parent, I have read at least one bazilion books to each of my chlldren. And while I do love reading aloud I think it a fine gift to give to grandparents, aunts, uncles and older cousins. Gifting a children’s book to the other adults in your child’s life creates a pocket of time for the person receiving the gift and your child, who will obviously ask for the book to be read immediately, and several times, with different voices! A personal favourite in our house is the book by B.J. Novak called The Book With No Pictures. Hilariously fun!
Get your children involved at family gatherings by having a ‘Helping Hands’ jar with simple chores written on pieces of paper (you can use visual images for the wee ones). Chores can include taking coats from guests, passing out napkins and snacks, getting guests to participate in a holiday puzzle or game, clearing the dirty plates, laying out the dessert (although you may want to monitor this one!). Children develop a great sense of pride in helping out so don’t miss this opportunity to help them grow while divvying up the multitude of tasks on your holiday list!
Since my mother passed away, 20 Christmases ago, I have had the annual joy (and tears!) of unboxing all of the ornaments from my childhood home. I love taking them out every year, reminiscing about which one was given by whom and when. Which were homemade and which store bought ones hold special meaning. A tradition I’ve continued is gifting an ornament to my husband and to each of my children. Each child will eventually have a box full of ornaments to take with them when they have their own trees to deck!
One Winter Holiday, my husband had the idea of creating our own Family Movie. Together with our then 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter, we scraped together a loose outline that quickly developed into a full feature! (My husband was really into this and so he actually drew up storyboard with every scene laid out!). We spent an entire day filming The Fantastics and it was awesome family fun! Regardless of the final product (videographers we were not!), we created space and time to be together, playing characters, creating costumes and just having a ball! If you are curious about our home movie, you can check it out here!
Whatever activities you decide to implement this holiday season, do them with
slow intention and savour every (non-stressed out) moment!
Tanis Saucier is a Montreal photographer who specializes in capturing the moments that matter most.