elf homes in Iceland

‘Hidden folk’ elves are all over Iceland


Forget the somewhat creepy and definitely over-done Elf on the Shelf. In Iceland, ‘hidden folk’ elves have been living throughout the Nordic country’s wilderness since Viking times — and they’ve got respect. So much so that a 2007 study by the University of Iceland found that 62 per cent of respondents thought that elf existence was… Read More »

A cardinal pair look like they're discussing something. Learn to decorate a tree for birds and help them out in winter.

Decorate Your Tree Yet? — For the Birds!


If you come over to our house this winter, chances are that the toddler will take you to the back door and show you the Dark-eyed Juncos dotting the snow, or maybe ‘Daddy Cardinal’. It wasn’t always this way. It started during the depths of winter, just last year. Our first foray into feeding the… Read More »

Murray A. Lightburn, Christmas Dad and his partner and eldest child

Murray A. Lightburn, Christmas Dad


By Murray Lightburn I can barely recall Christmases from my childhood. I don’t really want to recall a great many things from (at least) the first 25 years or so of my life. Not that it was very bleak but I cannot say that it was a barrel of laughs either. In our house growing up,… Read More »

Charlie Brown, kids, snow and a whiskey by the tree.


Here I sit on the 14th day of December: my youngest daughter Ursula has just gone down for a nap and my oldest daughter has reluctantly gone off to school in the mighty grade of JK. (This may not bode well for future waking when she’s a teenager, but she loves it once she’s there). Meanwhile,… Read More »

Conscript in Santa’s Army


We’re driving along the Queensway to get burgers the other day — I’m in the passenger seat trying to find the radio station that only plays Christmas music because that’s the only station the kids will listen to this time of year — when Colum, our six-year-old, starts trying to do the math. I mean, how… Read More »

A Slightly Ambivalent Christmas


By Brendan Murphy Recently, a friend on the Facebook was explaining the process of telling his kid that Santa wasn’t real. It was, like many things to do with parenting, quietly hilarious and heartbreaking, in large part because of what a clear and irreversible childhood milestone it was. Our son is 19 months old and… Read More »

one-hour (or less) DIY gifts


We are now in the thick of things. The lead-up to the most frenzied weekend of the year, the weekend before Christmas. As a family we decided to bow out of the rigmarole this year. We are spending the week off work and school just hanging out with each other, catching up on Dr. Who and… Read More »

Ingrid’s long-lost Swedish ginger cookies


My mom was known as the Gingerbread Lady. She spent over twenty years perfecting her cookie recipe, and then created her own custom baking business around it. She was famous for her perfect recreations of castles, houses, logos and teddy bears — all using a deep, dark, spicy gingerbread and royal icing. Sadly, she passed… Read More »

6 Glitter-free Handmade Ornaments


So sorry, but this is Christmas hell to me. As someone who’s already navigated one child safely through the craft years, the sight of glitter chills. Especially if the glitter is on the floor. The ubiquity of glitter, the way it coats clothing and turns up in breakfast cereal. Once introduced into your home, there is no turning… Read More »

Christmas Morning Traditions Reinvented: Tearing Down the Stairs, Making Granola-Bread-Men and Recycled Paper Stars


Holiday habits feeling a little crusty? Check out these cool alternatives TRADITION #1: Making a wifesaver, the venerable Christmas morning casserole of cheese, bacon, ham, eggs and bread. HOW TO MAKE IT COOLER: There’s nothing wrong with these breakfast staples, but sometimes even the mention of a casserole will sufficiently repel a child.Switch up your Christmas morning meal without sacrificing nutrition. Cookies for breakfast!… Read More »

3 Nature Based Crafts for Winter Solstice


Cool ways to commemorate ancient rituals for the shortest day of the year The traditions of pagan winter solstice provided the basis for many modern traditions like burning the Yule log at Christmas, lighting bonfires, and marveling at stone and sun alignments that occur in nature. We’ve cooked up three crafts to help you celebrate… Read More »

DIY Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments


Krista Rao blogs about crafty adventures with her kids If you are like me, when you dig out your box of christmas ornaments your stomach drops as you notice there are significantly less ornaments than you remembered from last year… thanks to a curious dog and a even curiouser little boy who just couldnʼt keep… Read More »


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