Home for the holidays


We’re all spending more time at home this year, thanks to COVID-19.

‘Close to home’ takes on a new meaning during the pandemic, Kita Szpak writes

No question about it, the phrase “home for the holidays” has a feel-good vibe: the coming together of family and friends all wrapped up in an atmosphere of warmth and good cheer. Ironically, this Hallmark card setting has taken on a whole new meaning when you speak of being close to home in these changing times.

As I write this, the idea of visiting for the holidays is framed in restrictions – so much so that staying home with loved ones will be a likely scenario – a scenario that is all too familiar to us these last nine months or so.  A lot of you may be pining for an “anywhere but here” setting come the holiday season… let’s face it, anything is possible. In the event parameters still exist, you as responsible parents, definitely face a challenge to make the holiday season a warm and happy time for your kids – and yourselves in the process.  Let’s explore the possibilities.

Writing and mailing Christmas cards This went by the wayside once technology upped its game, but going the old-fashioned route can serve as a fun activity and great way to connect with the family and friends your kids may not be able to see during the holidays.

Getting those cards from a local charity Buying the cards through a local charity may be an opportunity to let your child learn about and be aware of those who are less fortunate.  If the possibility arises to drop off items such as gifts or food items at the food bank, have your child experience giving in this manner.

Trivia night and a movie There are lots of holiday movies coming out at this time of year. Set up a trivia game before the movie comes on. Whether it’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Scrooge, kids can learn a bit more about how present traditions originated from these original stories.

Holiday dinner If a turkey dinner is your usual fare, turn things around and do a BBQ instead.  Change it up! The novelty will take you out of the routine and inject a sense of adventure and fun for everyone. 

Outside, everyone This means you too, Mom and Dad. Whether you’re building a backyard fort or snowman, making snow angels, going tobogganing, trekking out to get the Christmas tree and returning home for hot chocolate, doing it together will create lasting memories – hopefully not escapade-ridden like the Griswolds’ holidays!

Cuddle time When the baking is finished, puzzle-fatigue sets in, the letters to Santa, Nana and Grandpa are written, the latest Picasso hung on the fridge and boots and mitts propped up to dry, cuddle time is nigh. A favourite blanket or two, and nothing can beat being close to your kids even if it means having to be “close to home”.