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There’s no place like home for the holidays!

As a favourite Christmas carol reminds us, ‘there’s no place like home for the holidays’ and though our new normal might disrupt time-honoured family traditions, we can still have a holly jolly Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa and maybe even create new traditions.

I’ve pulled together some ideas that I hope you and your loved ones will enjoy:

1. Chop down a fresh Christmas tree for home holidays

First in your list, travel the rural roads just north of Bowmanville to Powell’s Tree Farm. There, you can harvest your own or select from pre-cut trees, including Scotch pine, spruce, Balsam fir and Fraser fir.

Same, at Prestonvale Tree Farms in Courtice, you can harvest your tree from a selection of Fraser firs, Balsam firs, spruce and pines. There’s nothing more delicious than smelling that special scent that makes you enjoy your home more for holidays.

2. Enjoy a Christmas movie marathon

Following your journey to the rural roads, spend the day in your pyjamas as your family rediscovers classics. Your choices? It’s a Wonderful Life, or newer classics like Elf. Of course, don’t  you forget the popcorn and other treats! Every detail will make your home warmest for holidays.

3. Take in the holiday lights home for holidays

Next, take a walk around your neighbourhood or hit the road to take in beautiful light displays. Nothing screams “Christmas Cheer” like the scenic drive down Old Scugog Rd in Bowmanville *insert hot chocolate in hand*

4. Take a hike

After, take a hike. It is a a good idea to visit Clarington. As you know, Clarington has an abundance of scenic trails and hiking spots that are perfect for a day out in the fresh air. Then, the parks and trails in Oshawa are also a great place to explore the outdoors. 

It other words, extend the limits of your home for holidays, and explore what nature has for you.

5. Explore Durham Region and home for holidays

In the same fashion of adventure, check out 2020 Holiday Events in Durham Region – Region of Durham for a list of activities you can enjoy close to home.

For example, The Pickering Museum Village, invites you to discover the seasonal beliefs of the First Nations Little Spirit Moon, early Scottish and Welsh settlers, and the Victorians who brought us many of the traditions we celebrate at Christmas. Book your 50-minute tour at What’s On – City of Pickering

6. Decorate cookies. Pull out the aprons!

Coupled with fresh air scent, baking cookies will make your home smell delicious and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour throughout the holidays. Make sure you have some fun cookie cutters, frostings and decorations on hand.

Consider putting together an assortment of your creations and deliver them to someone you wish you could spend time with at home for holidays. 

7. Give to those less fortunate

Especially on these days, there are many ways to support our community. Durham Regional Police Service – Durham Region Police Service is holding its 32nd Annual Food and Toy Drive and is reminding the community that the pandemic has brought a greater need to our community.

In the same spirit, you can opt for activities such as Feed the Need in Durham – All In! #feedingdurham is encouraging members of the community to give the gift of security this year so it can help local food banks.

8. Host a virtual gingerbread house competition

Additionally, you can challenge family and friends to build a gingerbread house and to post pictures of their creations on social media. Invite participants to vote on their favourites. Recreate in them your home for holidays.

9. Shop local

Important to remember: The Clarington Board of Trade is among those encouraging us to find unique gifts for everyone on our lists by shopping locally. Not only will doing so strengthen the economic base of our community, it will also help your neighbours. Visit www.cbot.ca/shopclarington/.

Same, the Oshawa Loves Local campaign, meanwhile, highlights small community-owned and family-led businesses that would appreciate your support.

10. Host an outdoor hot chocolate party

Similarly. arrange a small outdoor gathering with extended family, perhaps after tobogganing, skating, hiking or other socially-distanced activity. A fire pit would add warmth and ambience to the get-together.

11. Get creative

In order to add an extra touch to your list, visit the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington. This centre is hosting Creations from the Couch: Winter Edition that invites kids and their parents a virtual worry-free option. Like this, you can stay at home and explore a variety of activities ranging from watercolour to sculpture. Learn more at www.vac.ca/winterbreakcamps.html.

The City of Oshawa’s Virtual Bright and Merry Market offers online activities for your family, including puzzles, craft video, colouring page, word search and bingo. Click on the community calendar at www.oshawa.ca/festivals-and-events.asp to learn more.

12. Make ornaments

Many people will remember 2020 with three little words borrowed from the Grinch: ‘stink, stank, stunk.’ Commemorate the year by making an ornament to hang on your tree and make another for someone special.

13. Have a virtual ugly sweater party

Don’t let those ugly sweaters go to waste – a virtual party allows everyone to show off their most questionable holiday attire. Don’t forget to vote for the ugliest sweater! Another idea for a virtual party: Christmas karaoke or a cocktail party. All of them will make a warmer ambience at home for holidays.

14. Video chat to open gifts

No matter the distance, you can still gather your family around the Christmas tree to open gifts this year, even if it’s virtually. Set up a video chat using Zoom or Facebook Messenger and share the excitement face-to-face.

15. Put together a puzzle

The popularity of jigsaw puzzles has surged during the pandemic and for good reason: they can be put together by a single person or an entire family. Create a designated puzzle table and challenge everyone to put it together over the holidays. Your family likes a bit of competition? Schedule a board game and/or charades night.

16. Welcome the new year

Can’t wait to bid farewell to 2020? You’re not alone! The City of Oshawa invites you to ring out the old and ring out the new virtually at www.oshawa.ca/oshawacelebrates.

Enjoy an hour-long performance video of balloon making, a magician, fire juggler and animals, as well as crafts, jigsaw puzzles and other activities.

However you and your loved ones choose to spend the holidays, I encourage you to stay safe by following pandemic prevention measures and hope you create many wonderful memories that you will cherish for years to come!


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