The holidays are a great time to explore new traditions and enjoy old favorites too. While you’re cramming your schedule with tried-and-true adventures, why not incorporate some fresh options and make them your own? The Hancock Health Connection Center has some suggestions for fun, family-friendly activities that will enhance your holiday experience without breaking the bank.

Get your hands on some reindeer and have breakfast with Santa!

Greenfield Main Street is the place to be this weekend! There were still a few tickets available for the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Breakfast with Santa at Bradley Hall on Saturday, December 16th. But carve out some time to see the other various sights and sounds of the day, including the Boho Holiday Artisan Market and Reindeer on Main, where the kids can check out Santa’s favorite helpers before they get ready for their big trip around the world in a couple of weeks. Many of the downtown Greenfield shops will be open as well, giving you the chance to finish your list. Don’t forget to check out the last weekend of Christmas in the Gallery Festival of Trees, sponsored by the Hancock Arts Gallery.

Reach out to a neighbor

Think about your neighborhood. Did someone lose a job or a family member this year? Brainstorm ideas for dropping off little gifts, Secret Santa style. If you’re hosting a big holiday gathering this year, extend an open invitation to friends and coworkers who may be facing the holidays alone. Your children will remember how there was always room at the family table during the holidays.

Make new ornaments to hang for years to come

There’s something special about opening the holiday boxes each year and seeing the handmade ornaments that reflect your life’s touchpoints. Invite some of your BFFs or include the neighbor kids in an ornament day, where you can paint a craft stick snowman or preserve a handprint in salt dough. If you’d rather let someone else handle the set-up, the AR Workshop in McCordsville is hosting a Holiday Ornament Open House on Saturday, December 16.

Learn about different winter holidays

Christmas may seem to be the focus for many, but December is also a time for several different celebrations, including Hanukkah, which began December 7 and ends on December 15; the Winter Solstice on December 21; and Kwanzaa, which is celebrated from December 26-January 1. See the Menorah Aflame on Thursday, December 14, at Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt. Plan a celebration on December 21 to observe the Winter Solstice, complete with a yule log in the fireplace. Or, immerse yourself in Kwanzaa traditions at the Umoja Village Celebration in Indianapolis on December 26.

Warm up with a soup night

Instead of spending the entire last week of December camped in your recliner watching Bowl games, warm up your hearts and bodies with a soup pitch-in. Ask your favorite people to bring a pot of soup in a slow cooker. Pull out those teacups that came with your fine china and encourage guests to sample the different offerings. Pull out the board games to finish the evening.

Keep moving

The weather forecast says it’s going to be a warmer-than-normal December. Take advantage of the mild temperatures and take a walk along one of the many Hancock County trails. We’re big believers in sticking to a fitness routine, even during the busy holiday season, but feel free to mix it up.

Take care of yourself

Your holiday traditions may focus on the people around you, but remember to give yourself the care you need as well. Whether you’re dealing with an uninvited case of the flu or you’re struggling with loneliness or despair while everyone around you is celebrating, Hancock Health is here for you. Our multiple immediate care locations can help you determine if you have a simple cold or a condition that requires antibiotic treatment. The Hancock Health Connection Center supports people who are struggling with mental health and substance use problems, as well as other challenges of daily life. If you need help connecting to the appropriate care resources this month or throughout the year, call the Connection Center at (317) 468-4231 or stop by the Connection Center office at 120 W. McKenzie Road, Suite G in Greenfield, during regular business hours.

The Hancock Health Connection Center staff wishes everyone a happy, memory-filled holiday season.