family fun

Winter Family Fun: Winter Festivals for the Whole Family

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With Jack Frost nipping at your nose, ‘tis the season for family gatherings, snow skiing and boarding, tobogganing, tubing, snow shoeing, and many other cool outdoor activities. It’s also a very active time for mom as she tries to coordinate holiday get-togethers, manage family activities, and find just a few minutes of peace in her busy world. One way to ease the seasonal burden of finding family activities is to attend a winter festival. It is something the whole family can enjoy and mom doesn’t have to be the cruise director.

People walking through lit up snow sculptures

What is a Winter Festival?

A winter festival is a big winter party usually celebrating something to do with the local community, such as its culture or something for which the area is famous. Winter festivals are put on all over the world and generally last 7-10 days, some even longer and they often go until the end of February. Locations are in or near mountainous areas where it’s cold enough that the snow doesn’t melt. In places where it’s not very cold, snow is trucked in to make the area suitable for, though temporary, winter outdoor activities.

Festival Activities

Typical winter festival activities and events include skating parties for the kids, crafts and games, carnivals, pond hockey, and, of course, winter sporting events, such as downhill ski and luge racing. And that’s just during the day. Nighttime family activities include fire dances, light parades, fireworks displays, and marshmallow roasts (a personal favorite).

Moms will appreciate how easy it is to just go and let the kids enjoy dozens of fun activities while they relax and watch their enjoyment, all without lifting a finger. Of course, parents can get in on the festivities, too.

Historical Festivals

Winter festivals date back to ancient times where the winter solstice—the start of winter—was central to many culture’s beliefs and rituals. Today, many festivals include the commemoration of the winter solstice as part of their commencement activities.
One winter festival of historical note is the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. It is an awesome family event where hundreds of flower-covered floats and marching bands celebrate the coming of the New Year in America. The very first parade was held on January 1, 1890 and continues as an annual event today.

Another famous winter festival is the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, Canada. This incredible two-month event turns Niagara Falls into a winter wonderland with over three million glimmering lights along a three-mile route. The falls get lit up from the underside, an amazing site.

The Perfect Winter Vacation

Not everyone wants to go somewhere cold on vacation. But a winter festival as a destination is a good alternative when you are looking for family-friendly entertainment and activities. Sure, Disneyland in the wintertime can be packed with fun but where else can you find winter adventure in the great outdoors? For a hard-working mom, it can be just the thing for spending quality time with her family without all the stress of planning a big destination getaway.

Do you go to winter festivals with your family? What is your favorite way to celebrate winter?

Karen Ho Fatt is a designer and writer who provides valuable tips and advice for families looking to improve their outdoor lifestyle. You can often find Karen warming up family and friends by her blue rhino lp firebowl on cool winter evenings. Karen enjoys quality time with her husband and enjoys all that the cool Canadian winters have to offer. Visit Karen at her website and chat with her on Twitter @familyfirepit.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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