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How to create holiday traditions with your kids

From Christmas crafts to festive cooking, you and your wee ones will have a merry time building these family traditions

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You want to make it perfect, the kind of holiday your kids will bury deep in their memory for the rest of their lives. And to do so, you’re mulling over which traditions to carry over in your family, or start brand new. Need some tradition inspiration? Here are some of our favourite activities to tackle with the kids this holiday season.

Be busy bakers

Kids love helping out and getting messy in the kitchen. How could they not? They get to stir dough, lick bowls and nibble on treats after they’re pulled from the oven. And bonus! All that measuring and counting of ingredient puts those newly acquired math skills to work. So if you’re hunting for holiday goodies to bake with your babes, have a look at our Cookie a Day feature for a tempting list of treats to pick from. (Some of the kid-friendlier recipes include the Sugar crackle gingerbread cookies and the Double chocolate chunk cookies. Or get your hands dirty making this classic Gingerbread cookie.

You could also get a jump start on holiday dinner by employing the kids in the kitchen to help make a pie. (At our house, the kids help out with our family’s secret recipe for Christmas pie.) To find a recipe you’ll like, here’s a list of truly mouth-watering pie recipes.

Deck those halls

Cold temperatures outdoors means it’s perfect for crafts indoors. I love this 10 minute project idea and given how much glitter we’ve got around the house, we’re going to try it soon. And while you’re decorating, twist up your notion of traditional wreaths—forget the holly and the boughs of pine. Wreaths can be fashioned out of more unusual items such as pot scrubbers or fabric scraps. And while the craft supplies are out, get your kids to wrap some presents. At our house, not all of the presents come from Santa—some are set aside as to and from fellow family members. So we sometimes wrap presents in plain paper and get them to break out their craft supplies and go nuts decorating the wrapping, or have them pick out blank colouring pages to wrap gifts if it’s for another child. Check here for more ideas on easy and kid-friendly wrapping ideas.

Now, whether a gingerbread house is a holiday snack in your house or a holiday decoration (or both!) is up to you. But if you’re looking to make one this year, here’s a recipe to get you started. I always double the amount of candy I have on hand only because most of the candy ends up in the mouths rather than on the roof or walls of the house.

Entertain yourselves

Holiday tunes are key to getting in the festive mood so why not try putting together a playlist with the kiddies for an upcoming open house? Not sure what to put on the list? For some inspiration, this playlist can get you started.

And once the cookies are in the oven, plug in the kettle for some marshmallow hot chocolate and settle into a holiday movie. While The Polar Express and Frosty the Snowman are holiday favourites around my house, here’s a good selection to have a look through. Or to help put sugarplums into their heads, crack the spine on one of these holiday books. While ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nutcracker are classic reads, there’s lots of fun other picks out there including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Olive, the Other Reindeer.

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