What a joyful time of year it is! Stores are filled with busy shoppers; trees are draped with sparkling lights; homes are brimming with the sweet scent of baking and classic holiday tunes play on radio stations everywhere.
But oftentimes, we are so busy preparing for the big day not much thought is given to the days that follow.
For example, what are your plans to keep the kids busy during the holiday break? After all, students don’t resume classes until Jan. 5 — yikes!
To keep your brood free from boredom, try these low cost activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Cooking is an important lifestyle trait to learn as early as childhood. Why not spend time teaching the kids how to make the family’s favourite dish?
Or use a recipe that requires a full day of prep and cooking time — this will keep everyone interested for hours.
Demonstrating techniques to slice vegetables, handle hot dishes from the oven and properly use countertop appliances is a great way to ensure your kids learn safe methods of cooking. And it doesn’t cost much to do it.
Volunteering your time is a great way for families to spend time together while helping others.
A good place to start, especially for children, may be a local pet adoption agency or animal rescue shelter. Cheer up a lonely pooch with a long walk outdoors, or get your hands dirty and clean up the animal pens and litter boxes. Every helping hand counts!
Another great way to help others is by dedicating some time to seniors or people with disabilities. Know someone in need on your street? Shovel their driveway or drop off a tray of freshly baked goodies. Nothing warms the heart more than cheering up others at this special time of year.
After all the gifts have been unwrapped, the tags removed and the batteries inserted, you may need to make room for all that new stuff.
What better time to organize and de-clutter your closets and toy bins than during the holiday break. Take time tackling each room together and sort through items like toys and clothing.
Place items in piles designated “Garbage,” “Donate” or “Keep.” This process makes it easy to zip through your things quickly and determine what to do with what.
Clutter cleanup is another free activity that allows you to spend time together while reorganizing your home and helping others in need of donations.
I hope you find these low-cost family activities handy during this holiday season. Stay tuned for more money saving tips in the New Year, and thank you for your support throughout 2014.
May you and your family have a very happy, healthy, safe and warm holiday season!
Heather Tarnopolsky is a Sun Life Financial adviser in Greater Sudbury.