Sandra Magsamen, author of Living Artfully, shares creative and artful ways to keep the "happy" this holiday season.
By Sandra Magsamen
Have a cookie-baking party. Supply ingredients and make cookies with your friends to give as gifts.
Create a breakfast tradition for your family and repeat it each year: banana-nut pancakes or cinnamon French toast. Make something that warms the heart and the tummy.
Adopt a charity or cause and give a gift that helps it succeed in its mission.
Donate gifts to a family in need. Make a Christmas dinner and deliver it to a family less fortunate than yours. Local churches often have a list of families that need a helping hand and a giving heart.
When it's time to trim the tree, play carols and serve cookies, make it a party. Do the same thing when it's time to put the tree and the trimmings away. Turn a chore into a pleasure. It's all in how you see it.
Instead of placing gifts in stockings, hide the gifts and tuck clues into the stocking about where the gifts are secreted away. Have the kids (or adults) go on a treasure hunt Christmas morning.
Purchase puzzles, card games and craft kits as gifts that you can have fun doing with the kids. You can even have your family photo made into a puzzle.
Have a gift-making day with your family. Knit a bright red scarf for grandma (this only takes a few hours), turn old CD cases into frames that work as coasters, or make personal stationery by cutting a special someone's initials from magazines or by using a stamp on colored pre-bought stationery. Teach your children and remind yourself that, when it comes to giving, it really is the thought that counts.