Tis the season for creativity! Not only is there some allotted time off for the holidays, but the preparations and demands of the season lend themselves beautifully to tapping into all kinds of creative endeavours, giving everyone a chance to dive in. From decor to gifts, there is endless space for us to all get a little creative in the coziness of Christmas.
My favourite Creative Feats of the Christmas Season:
Making Christmas Decorations: Whether it’s popcorn strings, ribbon wreaths, or homemade ornaments to adorn the tree, making Christmas decorations is one of the best ways, I think, to bring family and friends together while encouraging everyone to express themselves through the season. Being able to physically make a marker of the holidays, sewing your joy and love and warmth into the adornments for your home is a constant reminder of the love this season brings around. Creating decorations is imbuing your home with your own unique magic, and getting the kids involved reminds them that they have a say in how their holidays look and feel too. This essence of togetherness is the foundation of creativity. By inviting everyone to join you are making creativity and the holiday magic accessible to old and young alike.
Gingerbread Construction: Another holiday hallmark (aside from the fantastic movies that come out all season long) is the ever revered Gingerbread house competitions. Though not a fan of gingerbread myself, I am a fan of all the fixings - gumdrops and gummies and icing and sprinkles. Constructing and decorating a gingerbread house is a fantastic outlet for creativity in concept, design, skills and fun!
Decking the Halls: Making homemade decorations may not be your thing, maybe you’ve never enjoyed crafting, or just have too much going on over the holiday season to dig into making your own bespoke decor. But most people manage a garland or two, helpful reminders of the festive air all season long. Placing objects in your home, office or on your own desk is a great way to express your creativity through visual and sentimental cues. How you inhabit a space is a personal expression of who you are and what you love. Decorating for the holidays may be an art form for you. Whether your home looks like it came straight out of a catalogue or is rustically and eclectically your own jumble of sentiment and season, decking the halls is a wonderful way to flex your creativity.
Oh Christmas Tree: From the selection to the installation and dressing it up, the Christmas tree is a central piece in many homes over Christmastime. With so many tree options, colours, lighting strings, tinsels, garlands, and ornaments every tree is distinctly your own. In my household we have a mix of classic Christmas balls, lights and sentimental ornaments collected through the years. We always decorate the tree as a family, even back at my parent’s house. It used to be the big joke that we all helped and then mom would rearrange it all when we went to bed. Then we extended to have the official tree upstairs and the kids tree downstairs with all of our more clunky and silly ornaments adorning the rec room tree, decorated solely by the children of the house. It gave us this sense of agency over our holidays and getting to see our handiwork on display was creative affirmation at its best. It also gave us a great exercise in teamwork and collaborating creatively together instead of on our own.
Cookie Making and Christmas Baking: My Aunt Janet began the cookie painting tradition for the cousins. Each year we would ‘paint’ Christmas cookies (I think shortbread?) with all the cousins and siblings we could wrangle together for the afternoon. Paintbrushes were broken out and icing was provided in every colour you could possibly need. We painted bells and ornaments, snowmen and sweaters. Looking back it was a clever way to get us all together, get creative and get help decorating the army of cookies required for the season's entertainment. In our home, my mom hosts all of us siblings and SOs for the playdough cookies we make ourselves each year. Again dough of every colour is provided and we sculpt the various Christmas themed shapes from the dough to make our own cookies for Santa. We still do this wonderful tradition and we all get into the spirit of creative competition, getting more complex each year from single lights to embellished hats for Frosty. Baking itself is a wonderful way to fill the home with the scents of the season and bring people together in creating consumable magic.
The Gifting: I love this one. We were always taught that it was never the gift that mattered, it was the fact that this person thought enough of you, thought about you and worked hard to get you something they thought would bring you joy. Whether you like to use your creativity to make gifts for those in your life, or you enjoy the thrill of shopping for others, the gifting process from selection to wrapping is a wonderfully creative endeavour we all engage in. One year my husband and I put together a holiday date night basket for my parents of various pieces we thought they would enjoy. Another time I made my brother an exercise library, breaking down different exercises, equipment uses and movement patterns for him as he was really getting into the gym and wanted something to shake up his routine. It is my favourite thing to put effort and energy into doing something that will bring another joy. My husband and I now follow this simple guideline for Christmas: One you want, one you need, one to wear and one to read. And let me tell you sometimes we get very creative with what qualifies as a read or a wear. It also really helps us drill deep and focus on the needs of the other person. My family also gets very creative with the wrapping. A contest started a number of years back where siblings would duct tape wrap another’s present and the recipient was not allowed scissors to aid them. One year I made a scavenger hunt for my brothers to find their Christmas presents from me scattered throughout the house with clues to guide them.
A Very D&D Christmas Campaign: This tradition of ours began a few years ago. My family and SO’s gather around the table Christmas Eve or Christmas day, depending on preference that year, for a D&D Christmas themed one shot. We all take turns creating and running the campaign and crafting players for the event. My dad has the OG Nikolinin who is not in fact Santa, but a distant druidic cousin. We’ve had to save Santa, save the elves, fight penguins and yetis and traverse icy landscapes to save the magic of Christmas. The year I ran it I did the Twelve Tokens of Christmas which had us running around to collect the tokens and reindeer required to summon the deity of Christmas and restore joy and magic to the land. We have been running these for around 4 or 5 years now and this year we are all being given characters to play; a new twist for us!
However you spend your holiday season, make time to enjoy the creative elements of the season. It may not be working on your creative project, but there is plenty of creativity to be had in the course of the Christmas season.
Let us know your fun creative holiday traditions, Christmas or otherwise!