As we head into the holidays, I can’t help but reflect on the importance of family. Although I grew up in Granby Quebec, after graduating from university, I moved out to BC in 1990 when I first became a French Immersion teacher. I told my parents I would only be away for a couple of years, long enough to pay off my student loans. Well, twenty-eight years later, I’m still here in BC, a beautiful place I call home. Having no extended family in BC, I have often found the holidays challenging as I longed for the warmth and familiarity of the family traditions I grew up with. With my spouse and children, there were many trips back and forth to visit Grandmaman and Grandpapa and thankfully Facetime made it a little easier for us to stay connected over the years.
As I longed for the traditions that I grew up with, year over year, without realizing it, we slowly created new traditions for our very own children and family. I am reminded of this when they ask for their favourite holiday dishes, when we giggle as we look at the eclectic craft projects they made when they were little and when we still take time to watch our favourite Muppet movie classic together as a family.
I recently came across this interesting article that outlines the importance of spending quality time as a family. Having had a very busy but rewarding first year as Head of School, I look forward to putting my laptop away, turning my cell-phone off, and spending some quality time with my family. I often get caught up with the “busy-ness” of the holidays but this year I intend to turn the self-imposed dial of expectations down and I invite you to do the same. I’ve come to realize that my children don’t remember the gifts they received 10 years ago, but they certainly remember the fun movie night we had, the baking we did together and the long-lasting vacation memories we created as a family.
There are so many fun things you can do as a family, but here are my 10 suggestions to get you going:
- Plan a “tech-free” day together and create a list of activities that you post on the fridge.
- Have a “DIY” day. This “Do It Yourself” day is a day where as a family, you make or fix something in the house. You can fix, modify, or repurpose something old into something new! Or maybe you can make some blue glitter slime (always a hit!).
- Have a read-a-thon. Turn off TVs and all that is “tech”, put on some soft music, get cozy in the living room with some lovely hot cocoa and read together! Maybe even read about various cultural celebrations that exist around the world.
- Go for an “I-spy” walk. Before you head out, identify 5 things to look out for and see who spots these first.
- Cooking time! It can be as simple as baking together or make it more elaborate and have family members set the menu, shop for items, decorate the table, and room to create an atmosphere.
- Go for an outdoor excursion together. It can be skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, or walking near the beach.
- Plan a family home spa day including facials, hand and foot massages, and maybe even aromatherapy. Someone is bound to look funny with cucumber slices resting on their eyelids!
- As a family, create a gratitude list and post it on the fridge, then think of how your family can give back to others in need.
- Movie night! This is a classic and one of my favourite things to do. Pick your family’s favourite movie (no arguing on which movie to pick!) and get your snacks and snuggle up together on the couch.
- Pyjama day. Plan a fun day around the house where all members of the family relax in their pyjamas all day. Maybe even your family pet has a cute little PJ outfit. Make it fun!
Of course, these are just a few ideas, but ones that I have always enjoyed with my family. As we head into the holidays, my wish for you is that you create memories that will last a lifetime and I’d love for you to share some of these with us. As you spend time together, I’d like to invite you to send us a photo that depicts the theme of “York House Family Time”. Following the holidays, we will create a compilation montage of photos to be shared with our community. Send your one photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following info in your email.
- Family Name:
- Description of the Family Memory You are Creating:
We would love to capture some of your great family moments, so please do share with us. Finally, to all York House families, may the closeness of friends, the love of family and the comfort of home be with you throughout this holiday season.