We can be so busy making the holidays magical for everyone else that we forget to stop long enough to enjoy them ourselves. Especially THIS year. Let’s make sure we soak up some festive cheer for ourselves and try to spend our energy on holiday activities that truly bring us joy. Of course, it can’t all be fun and reindeer games. So our Savvy Guide to December in Ottawa offers up ideas that will help the busiest month of the year unfold as smoothly as possible.
The Savvy Guide to December in Ottawa
Get out and be merry
Why? We’re well versed in managing activities and Covid protocols so our newly (and perhaps, permanently) modified activities and events are way better than no activities and events at all. Our cities are celebrating the season so even if you’re not feeling particularly festive this year, heading out to enjoy some lights and jingle bells might do the trick. Check out these fun family things to do in December for Ottawa.
Get your skates sharpened
Why? Outdoor rinks are open now in Ottawa and you’ll definitely want to take part in this most Canadian family pastime. You might not be able to imagine having time for lazy circles around the pond (or the flooded tennis court, as the case may be) while you juggle holiday shopping and work, but remember that most kids have two full weeks off school before and after Christmas and you’ll be desperate for active family fun. In fact, it’s not too late to add skates to your own holiday wish list.
The Big Countdown
Maybe it’s a good thing you forgot to grab an Advent Calendar since that chocolate can often be blech. Some of these non-chocolate Advent Calendars may still be in stock, but creating a Family Activity Advent Calendar is a festive way to work in some quality family time.
The First Candle of Hanukkah on December 18
Santa’s big night is not the only festive event this month. Hanukkah runs from December 18 until December 26 so no Guide to December would be complete without sharing where to stock up on your Hanukkah supplies. Here’s a list of Judaica and Jewish shops for Ottawa.
Classic holiday stories as a family
Why? There’s nothing like revisiting your favourite holiday tales at this time of year to put everyone in the festive spirit. Pile a few of these yuletide picks next to your little one’s bed and bring a some seasonal joy to bedtime throughout the month. We love Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Little Tree by e e cummings, Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko, Simon and the Bear by Eric A. Kimmel, and The Sound of Kwanzaa by Dimitrea Tokunbo.
Elf on the Shelf ideas
Why? Those who love finding new hiding spots for their Elf on the Shelf every night don’t need to be told about how much joy it brings to their families. But even the skeptics will have their frozen hearts melted by pictures of elves hanging from trees, sitting in candy dishes, or passed out in a bucket of popcorn. The official website has a section for kids with quizzes, games, and trivia, and one for parents with craft ideas, recipes, and ideas, but we’ve got 24 Elf on the Shelf ideas — one for every night leading up to the big night.
An Air Fryer
Why? The air fryer is the latest small kitchen appliance of the moment and, from all accounts, this one is worth the counter space. It’s basically a countertop convection oven that replicates deep-fried food using only hot air and a teeny tiny amount of oil. For heating frozen appetizers to perfection or prepping your favourite roasted vegetables, an air fryer is a kitchen gadget that’s put to great use in families looking to up their healthy meal game without giving up deliciousness.
12 days of Holiday Cookies
Everyone has their tried and true — is yours a classic, traditional gingerbread recipe or old-school Rice Krispie squares? But if you’re looking to shake your baking up, we’ve got 12 days of holiday cookie recipes for festive treats perfect for edible gifts or to shake up your mother-in-law’s dessert table.
Why? Homemade gifts are easy on the earth and the wallet, but big on love. These are the perfect token of holiday cheer to give out to friends, coworkers, teachers, coaches, and more. Spend an afternoon with the kids baking batches of holiday goodies to be packaged up in pretty tins or wrapped with a bow, parcel off DIY lavender bath salts in pretty paper bags, or choose any one of the wonderful DIY gift-ideas listed here. Not into doing it yourself? Packaging DIY gift baskets is just as thoughtful and a lot less work.
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