AT THE NORTH POLE Santa’s list of suppliers has been revealed!

• Footprints. Leave boot prints in the snow (or use soot from the fireplace) to trace Santa’s footsteps. You can also leave rein- deer tracks in the snow to show where Dasher, Dancer and the others stood to eat their carrots. • Signs of Santa. Leave a piece of red vel- vety fabric near the chimney to make it seem like Santa tore his coat on the way down. If you don’t have a chimney, Chris- tmas tree branches will do the trick. • Magic dust. Unbeknownst to him, Santa left a trail of magic dust behind. Spread a bit of glitter around and you’re done!

Are your kids looking for proof that the presents under the tree were indeed delivered by Santa Claus? The jolly old man is known to leave behind bits of evi- dence in the homes of those who made the nice list, so here are a few things to look for come Christmas morning (and for Mom and Dad to prepare the night before). • A gift for Santa. Ask your kids to leave a drawing, a card or a handmade gift for Santa to keep. It’s sure to raise his spirits and help him along the rest of his jour- ney. • The half-eaten snack. Have the kids pre- pare a small snack for Santa and his rein- deer (who might lose a bell or two in the snow while they eat). The leftovers will be undeniable proof of Santa. • A letter from Santa. Did Santa enjoy his snack or gift? Maybe he should leave a thank-you note for the kids! Just make sure his handwriting doesn’t look too familiar.

helping a sibling put away his toys, for example.

Advent calendars are great: they allow children, for whom the concept of time is still abstract, to keep track of the days left before Christmas. This year, instead of the usual chocolate countdown, why not switch things up with one of these cre- ative alternatives? • Family fun. Fill each calendar square with a voucher that the kids can trade in for a fun activity, such as going to the movies, building a snowman or baking cookies. • Christmas stories and carols. Write the name of a different Christmas story to read — or make up — with your children each day. You could also include new Christmas carols you’d like to learn and sing. • Good deeds. Swap out candies for a daily good deed for the kids to do for family members or neighbours. You could in- clude doing the dishes with Mom or When it comes to entertaining the guests at your holiday party, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics — Pictionary, charades and the like are fun and easy to play. However, if you want to try something new this year, here are some ideas to mix things up. Musical bingo Make bingo cards, but replace the word “bingo” with “piano” and write down the titles of Christmas carols instead of num- bers. When a song that’s on your card gets drawn, you have to sing it (stick to one verse and one chorus, if you prefer) to be able to place a chip on that square in hopes of get- ting a “piano.” Is the song on more than one card? May the best performance win! Guess my resolution Have everyone anonymously write down one of their New Year’s resolutions, and

• Discoveries. Teach your kids a new word each day; ideally something having to do with the holidays. You could also teach them about a different tradition that people celebrate around Christmastime in another part of the world. You’ll prob- ably learn a few things yourself! • Recipes. Whip up a dish a day with the kids. Choose different desserts, or even 24 delicious cookie recipes. One thing is certain: you won’t run out of holiday des- serts! Envelopes, numbered socks that you can decorate and hang like a garland, a Christmas village made of different-sized boxes, empty toilet paper rolls arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree — there are a thousand and one ways to create a unique Advent calendar with your children. Have fun! then try to match each one with its author. Whoever has the most correct guesses is the winner. You can also play this game with famous quotes or expressions, as chosen by your guests. Logos Print out a variety of corporate logos — making sure to mask any visible company names — and ask players to match each one with the business it represents. You can also play this game with slogans instead of logos. Fun for everyone Organize a three-legged race in the snow. Have a contest to build the world’s most beautiful snowman (with toilet paper) or tallest Christmas tree (with humans). Fill an oversized Christmas stocking with differ- ent items and take turns trying to guess the contents. Fun times guaranteed!

to exclusive content like additional fea- tures) 2. A new game (find out what they like and ask an em- ployee at your local game store for sug- gestions based on with microphone 4. A new console (budget permitting) 5. For a PC gamer, a gaming keyboard or mouse 6. A steering wheel that) 3. A high-quality wireless headset

for racing games 7. Extra controllers to let more friends in on the fun 8. A charging station for wireless control- lers 9. Books about the video game industry (the history of video games or a cult game encyclopedia, for instance) 10. Clothing (t-shirts, slippers, scarves) or other merchandise (figurines, plush toys, key chains, flash drives, beer steins, coffee mugs) related to their favourite games or characters

Ah, video games. Is the world of consoles and controllers uncharted territory for you? If you have a gamer on your holiday shopping list, have a look at the follow- ing gift ideas for inspiration. First things first: find out what gaming platform he or she uses and make sure that the gift you choose is compatible. 1. A gift card for a video game store, a prepaid game card or a subscription to an online gaming service (these unlock online multiplayer gaming and access

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