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Holiday calendar: 31 festive activities

Laura Grande | posted Thursday, Dec 3rd, 2015

December 1: Bring out your advent calendars and deck the halls of your house!

December 2: Have a “crafternoon” making our winter wreath and holiday garland.

December 3: Mail letters to Santa nice and early to ensure he has enough time to respond!

December 4: Start making (and freezing) those early batches of holiday cookies.

December 5: Find a local toy drive and make a holiday donation!

December 6: Today marks the start of Hanukkah. Make our easy DIY menorah.

December 7: Decorate the outside of your house and warm up afterwards with hot chocolate.

December 8: Bake (and decorate!) a gingerbread house!

December 9: Choose the perfect Christmas tree and decorate it!

December 10: Watch a holiday flick with the family.

December 11: Stay on budget! Make sure you’re tracking all your holiday purchases.

December 12: After dinner, bundle up the family and go for a mini-hike.

December 13: Get your Christmas cards written and stamped.

December 14: Hop in the car or go for a walk and take a Christmas-light tour with your family. Hanukkah ends.

December 15: Get your kids feeling festive by making your own holiday wrapping paper.

December 16: Schedule a date night with your partner before the holiday madness kicks in.

December 17: Today is the cut-off for out-of-province holiday mail delivery.

December 18: Go skating!

December 19: Take some “me time” today, even if just for an hour.

December 20: Have a screen-free evening. Read your family’s favourite holiday books.

December 21: Today is the cut-off for local holiday mail delivery.

December 22: Schedule a date night with your partner before the holiday madness kicks in.

December 23: Take a deep breath (and avoid the mall!). The Christmas madness is about to begin!

December 24: Put on a holiday playlist, hang up those stockings and listen for Santa’s sleigh.

December 25: Merry Christmas!

December 26: Boxing Day. Kwanzaa begins.

December 27: Play your favourite board game!

December 28: Declare today National Pajama Day. Play games, watch movies and stay cozy in your PJs!

December 29: For those eager to get their house back to normal, set some time aside to start taking down Christmas decor.

December 30: Make your New Year’s resolution and stock up on anything you need, the stores will be crazy tomorrow.

December 31: Prepare to ring in the new year! Host a family-style NYE bash.

Read more:
10 tips for baking with kids
Craft: No-sew Advent calendar
3 tips to getting a great picture with Santa

3 DIY creative Christmas tree alternatives

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Dec 1st, 2015

diytreealternative-featured

No room for a big Christmas tree? No problem! Designer Samantha Pynn shows us three DIY tree alternatives that are perfect for small spaces! Take a look at Samantha’s stunning festive creations in the video below.

Don’t make these 5 New Year’s health resolutions

Chatelaine | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2016

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Next year, say no to detoxes and yes to weight training

It’s that time again: You’ve gorged yourself on the wings and legs of every festive bird in sight and are now more than ready to engage in the ritualistic fitness and nutrition snapback prompted by a change in the calendar. While there’s nothing wrong with committing yourself to a more balanced, less bonbon-heavy lifestyle — and there’s certainly something seductive in a “new year, new you” mentality — there are just some health resolutions we should resolve ourselves not to try.

“This year, I promise to finally give that teatox a try.”

No, no, no! Jan. 1 is the day we are easily the most vulnerable to fad diets and detoxes, but stay strong. We’re talking about alkaline diets, juicing, and other deprivation schemes disguised as “cleanses.” In particular, “teatoxes,” which supplement a low-calorie diet with large amounts of herbal tea, can have a devastating effect, not only on your sanity, but on your bowels (sorry). Most teatox packs include senna, which can cause diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even heart irregularities. Anyway, isn’t tea supposed to be relaxing?

“This year, I promise to adopt an intense, all-cardio fitness regimen.”

Go ahead, get your blood pumping. But remember to make time for lower impact exercises, like walking. Not only is going for a stroll a potent calorie burner, but it also fights depression and can actually increase the size of your brain. Same goes for weight training, which is especially important in aging women to guard against osteoporosis.

“This year, I promise to finally cut out cheese [or bread or any other life-affirming food].”

For some (most) people, the idea of eliminating dairy or sweet, sweet sugar is a punishment tantamount to death. Dramatic? Maybe. But if you’re looking to give your diet a cheese-less makeover, most experts recommend avoiding the deprivation mindset entirely. Instead, resolve to add more water, whole grains and leafy greens to your diet. A simple yet effective mental switcheroo that gives your new nutritional outlook some staying power.

“This year, I promise to move my entire exercise regime into the comfort of my own home.”

We get why you’d want to avoid the frustrated and sweaty January gym masses. And, being Canadians, we are also plenty aware of the frigid hellscape that is winter. Still, outdoor exercise is a game-changer; it can boost your happiness and even contribute to a better night’s sleep. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take advantage of our country’s very attractive landscape and try snowshoeing.

“This year, I promise to avoid the frozen food aisle.”

Surprise! The quick convenience of the frozen-food section makes it seem like it would be a vitamin deadzone, but broccoli, chickpeas and blueberries on ice are actually quite high in antioxidants, protein and, yes, vitamin . C. Looks like you learn something new every year.

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