In Praise of November: Fun Family Things to Do to Make the Most of the Month

Janice Quirt November 7, 2019

November gets a bad rap. It can be dismissed as a dreary, grey month in which nothing happens. But that really doesn’t have to be the way to view it. Here are some easy ways to enjoy and celebrate November and the lead up to the holiday season.

Make something of Remembrance Day

Not as spook-inducing as Halloween, nor as tradition-heavy as Christmas, Remembrance Day is still an occasion to be marked with discussion, education, and ceremony. Are the kids having a Remembrance Day assembly or memorial at school? Why not plan to attend – we often make time for holiday shows, so why not this important date? My daughter put on a shadow play last year and my son walked with his class to lay a wreath at the cenotaph in our town. Holidays don’t need to have presents or chocolate to be meaningful.

Take advantage of the break

Between labour-intensive back to school season, Thanksgiving, Halloween and December holidays, it’s busy. But November is a great time to enjoy the downtime. Take a moment to go out for a fun meal just because. Browse a bookstore as a family. See a movie without feeling rushed.

Play hooky

Give yourself and the kids a break and take the day off and do something together. Take advantage of the off-peak hours to check out an exhibit, museum or art gallery. Go shopping when it’s not crowded. Revel in the newness of being together on a school/work day.

Get a head start

Baking holiday cookies is way more fun when you’re not rushed. Find some recipes that freeze well (as most cookies do) and do some batch baking with the kids. Have a cookie tasting and allow everyone to take notes on each variety made and proclaim their favourites. It’s fun to be interactive when you’re not trying to cram five hours of baking into two hours when you’d rather be sleeping.

Enjoy shopping

I absolutely adore shopping for gifts for people – but only because I do it in November. I take my time to browse online and am able to make purchases calmly, whether material or experiential, that I think work for people. I enjoy it and I don’t overspend because I’m frantic. I can even involve the kids in a shopping expedition if we avoid malls and stores in December and instead visit them in November.

Get outside

Sure, the fall foliage may be past its peak or gone, but November weather can be quite lovely! Blizzards and icy weather haven’t usually descended yet, there are no bugs, and it can be a great time to go for a hike, bike or zip line. You’ll see the landscape in a different way and get in some heart-healthy exercise before (and after) the calorie bombs of the months that sandwich November.

November is a fantastic time to enjoy the relative peace and quiet. You may even find yourself creating some new family traditions to make it one of your favourite months of the year.


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