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How Can I Prepare for the Holiday Break?

The holidays are a wonderful time of year but it can also be very stressful with lots to do and having our children home with us, so we have put together some information to help you prepare for this holiday season! 

  1. Develop a Routine 

The first thing you can do is create a routine for you and your family over the break while everyone is home. Keeping a consistent routine helps things run smoothly and helps your little ones know what to expect from day-to-day!  

When you are creating your routine it’s a good idea to involve your children. This will give them an opportunity to ask questions so they understand what will be happening beforehand and what will be expected of them. You can sit down and talk with them about the routine you’ll be following over the break and utilize this opportunity to communicate the expectations you have for their behaviours while they are at home. That being said, keep in mind children need lots of reminders and they may not meet all of our expectations on the first few tries.  

If your family has a hard time with routines, you can use images to create a visual schedule on a wall or even the fridge, as long as it’s a place where everyone can see it. This can support your children in following the routine you have set up. 


  1. Prepare Activities 

Second, we can prepare activities to keep our children entertained and occupied while you’re home for the holidays. Children get bored quickly, so having activities prepared in advance means you won’t be scrambling to find something to do while also trying to manage everything else on your plate during the break. You can also put these activities in your routine/schedule so your children are able to see what’s going to be happening day-to-day over the holiday break. 

First, you’ll need to decide which indoor and outdoor activities you’d like to do. You can do this with your children to get them excited for the holiday break!  

Next, you’ll need to gather the supplies. Do you need to get more arts and crafts supplies from the ReUse Centre, find the sleds or buy ingredients to do some Christmas baking? Gathering supplies for the activities you’ve chosen means you won’t have to do it later and they will be ready to go when you need something to do! 

Lastly, enjoy, everything is done, now you can enjoy time together as a family! 


There are also lots of free or low-cost activities you can do as a family and there are lots of free or low-cost events happening all over the city you can attend! Plan both indoor and outdoor activities.  

We have included a list of activities and events you can do together as a family below! 


  1. Create a Self-Care Plan 

The next thing that can help reduce stress over the holiday season is to create a self-care plan to make sure you are taking enough time for you during all the holiday season chaos.   

The first thing you can do to practice self-care is schedule in time for self-care into your daily routine. This will help to ensure you are taking time to care for yourself at least a little bit every day!1 You should plan to take 5-15 minutes every day to engage in some self-care. This could be reading a book, having some quite time before the children wake up/after they go to bed, having a friend over for coffee, journaling, cleaning, going for a walk, and so much more.  

Another way to prepare is to plan some alone time for yourself. Having our children home more than usual can be stressful, even if we’re prepared and it’s important to dedicate some time for yourself too. Ask friends or family now if they can support you by watching your children for a few hours or even a day if they are able too. You can also access the Bissell Centre and Kids Kottage respite programs as they will be open during the holiday break! Having a plan in advance can help limit the stress of trying to find childcare when you really need a break and can help limit the stress you are feeling leading up to the break because you’ll know you have time to rest and recover. 


Lastly, we have put together a list of free/low-cost activities, free/low-cost events happening around Edmonton and we have included resources you can access if you need support over the holiday while Norwood is closed. 



For complete information on social, community, health and government services in Alberta, dial 211


For health information, simply dial 811


If you're having thoughts of suicide or are worried about someone you know, simply dial 988


For emergencies dial 911

Check out our resources page for more supports.

Support over the holidays

December Activities

If you’re looking for some fun family activities to get up to this December, check out Family Fun Edmonton’s Holiday Event Guide Holiday Events in Edmonton | Family Fun Edmonton (

Winter Fun (Sledding)

Looking for some sledding hills around the city here is a link to Curiosity’s 10 Great Hills for Sledding 10 great hills for sledding to check out around Edmonton (

You can check the conditions of the hills and outdoor skating areas on the City of Edmonton website

Skates and Sled and other sport equipment

Skating Around the City

Looking to get outside with your little one into the fresh air especially on a beautiful winter day. Check out some links below to find an Edmonton winter adventure such as adding to snowman to the snowman army in Louise McKinney Park to voting on ice sculptures at Ice on Whyte or even participating in the legend of the Flying Canoe festival and more.

Edmonton Public Library

The Edmonton Public Library has various locations around the city with events for all ages. Libraries are closed December 25, 26 and January 1 but are otherwise open. Hours vary by location.

Find the library that is closest to you at this link.


Winter Clothing

Need a Coat?

If you are looking for a coat, please call 211 or call 780-482-4636 (INFO) to find the agency distribution depot closest to you. Coats are not distributed by United Way directly to the public; all coats are distributed through various community agencies throughout the Alberta Capital Region.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

This program provides free clothing donations for individuals and families. The phone number is 780-471-5577. They are open Mon-Thurs, 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Family Futures Resources Network

FREE coats and winter items for all family members while supplies last.

Call to find out more 780-413-4521.

Jasper Place Family Resource Centre

This program offers a children's clothing exchange.


They are open Mon-Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Elizabeth Fry Community Resources Program

Has a clothing closet for Women.

Hygiene kits as available which can include shampoo, soap, deodorant, menstrual supplies.

As well of as other supports and resources.

Other Clothing Resources (South Edmonton)

Thrift Stores are a great option for low-cost Winter Clothing. Some thrift stores will give coupons or discounts when you donate items.

  • Bissell Thrift Shop

  • Value Village

  • The Salvation Army Thrift Store

  • More Than a Fad

  • The Mustard Seed Thrift Store


Find recipes, a schedule of free community meals and community supports (including Bread Runs) on the Edmonton Food Banks website.

Childcare over winter break

Bissell Centre's Early Childhood Development Program provides full-time childcare as well as adrop-in/respite program that provides low-income families with free temporary childcare. Spots need to be reserved 1-2 days in advance.

Bissell Centre is closed December 25, 26 and January 1, but are otherwise open for their normal hours: Weekdays from 8:30am - 4:30pm.

Call 780-429-4126 to learn more.

Kids Kottage's Crisis Prevention Shelter offers emergency respite to families in crisis by admitting their children from birth to the age of 10 for up to 72 hours, free of charge.

For more information call: 780-944-2888


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