It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yet the steady stream of sale flyers and myriad of holiday activities may leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed and sympathetic to Mr. Grinch. That’s why we put together a few suggestions for your family to create fun traditions that will make your heart grow three sizes this holiday season.

Home DepotPhoto Credit: Home Depot Kids Workshop Facebook Page 

Get Crafty
Turn your kids into Santa’s elves by helping them build their own holiday craft. Visit your local home improvement center to take part in fun and free workshops designed for kids. Little builders receive a craft kit, apron and extra goodies at these two workshops.

Build a Holiday Train Engine
Lowes Build and Grow Workshop
Dec. 13, 10 – 11 a.m.

Register: Online (pre-registration opens Dec. 1)
Ages: Kiddos in grades 1 – 5 Cost: Free
Online: lowesbuildandgrow.com

Create Holiday Yard Steaks
Home Depot Kids Workshop
Dec. 6, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Register: Online (registration now available)
Ages: 5 – 12
Cost: Free
Online: workshops.homedepot.com

Bates Nut FarmPhoto Credit: Bates Nut Farm Facebook Page 

Festivities on the Farm
Some of your favorite places to visit transform during the holidays. Enjoy fresh air (and a fresh perspective) on these local farms with celebrations geared to bring out the kid in all of us.

Christmas in the Valley
While you may be familiar with Bates Nut Farm during the fall, be sure to visit them in December for offerings that go beyond their famous pumpkins. The 3rd annual Christmas in the Valley event features live entertainment, storytelling, Christmas carols and a Polar Express hayride to visit Santa.

Bates Nut Farm
15954 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, CA 92082
760-212-0738

Dec. 12, 4 – 8 p.m. and Dec. 13, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
Online: batesnutfarm.biz

Holiday at the Rancho
Swap out the partridge in a pear tree for a peacock in a palm tree when you visit the historic Leo Carrillo Ranch for Holiday at the Rancho. Holiday lights, decor, a snow hill, and their festive peacocks set the tone during this event. Kids can decorate holiday cookies, create crafts, enjoy holiday entertainment and pony rides. Face painting, an outdoor movie and a special visit by Santa are also included.

Leo Carrillo Ranch
6200 Flying LC Ln.
Carlsbad, Ca 92009

Dec. 6, 5 – 8 p.m.
Cost: $8 at the door; $5 pre-sale tickets (through Dec. 6); Free for kids 3 and under
Online: carlsbadca.gov/parksandrec

KidsCookingPhoto Credit: WoodleyWonderWorks via Creative Commons Flickr 

Recipe for a Tasty Tradition
What better way to come together as a family than over a delicious seasonal treat. Whether you are teaching your kids how to make a recipe that has been passed down over generations, or you are learning a new dish, cooking together is a tradition you can look forward to each year. If you’re looking for inspiration, try one of these cooking class options that are geared toward kids.

Williams-Sonoma Junior Chef Classes
Williams-Sonoma offers free classes that focus on teaching kids delicious recipes, from main courses to desserts and snacks. In December, the store offers a gingerbread house decorating class. Call your local store to save a spot; class size is limited.

Westfield’s UTC and Fashion Valley Mall

Dec. 6, 10 a.m.
Cost: Free instruction plus cost of materials
Ages: 5–13
Online: williams-sonoma.com

Olivewood Garden’s Family Dinner Night
Your family can work together to prepare a seasonal meal. Olivewood Gardens highlights age-appropriate, easy, wholesome recipes that everyone will enjoy. The Family Dinner Night is designed to allow families to create and converse over a delicious meal. RSVP to reserve a seat at this fabulous dinner.

Olivewood Garden
2525 N. Ave.
National City, Ca 91950

Dec. 4, 3:30 – 7 p.m.
Ages: 5 and up
Cost: $25/person
Online: olivewoodgardens.org

BonfirePhoto Credit: Colby Stopa via Creative Commons Flickr

Create S’more Memories
Forget about chestnuts, this year s’mores will be roasting on an open fire during Bonfire Nights in Old Town State Historic Park. This fun and free event takes place on multiple nights throughout December, and features carols, performers and of course marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. So bundle up and head down to Old Town to create wonderful memories with your little ones around the warmth of the fire.

Old Town State Historic Park
4002 Wallace St.
San Diego, Ca 92110

Dec. 13, 14, 26–30, Dusk to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free

What family traditions does your family enjoy during the holidays? Tell us in the comments!

— Roxanne Holmes