Artful Holiday Expressions

Deating art together as a family this high holiday season and upcoming Hanukkah can allow a parent to gain better insight into how their child is feeling or thinking by encouraging them to participate in arts and crafts activities.
    Arts and crafts, for example, are a great way for youth to turn to their endless imagination while doing something productive and expressive through creativity.
     There are many materials and activities to choose from which can be used to explore different creative and artistic options that they find the most enjoyable.
    Doing art as a family also encourages quality time together and the holidays are a perfect opportunity for that, along with self-care and wellness time through art making. Even project planning can be a beneficial and fun bonding experience.
    Together you can explore the type of final art product you hope to achieve. Then the whole family can have fun searching for (in the home) or purchasing the materials needed.
    Art is a healthy way to spend time with the family. It is one of the best bonding experiences, offering memories to cherish always.
    This also allows for learning an entirely new skill together and for a healthy, fun way to express creativity.
    Here are a few art activities (with many more on my website I encourage you to explore) which families can try this holiday season. I often suggest and conduct the examples below, leading families at my art studio or via virtual art sessions. See images for visual examples of each.
*Collaborative Canvas. This is MissDee’s unique workshop where each individual will have their own canvas with the idea that all the canvases connect to make one image. For example, maybe this holiday season you might make a winter scene with holiday images that are meaningful or symbolize you as a family. You could also incorporate holiday music and every time the song ends you switch canvases, rotating as many times as you’d like, so everyone can contribute the art on each canvas. You will end up with your original canvas at the end but it will have a special touch by each person on it. For both of these examples, you’d need a pencil. You could either use canvas with an acrylic paint, watercolor paper with watercolor paint, or just use crayons, colored pencils or markers on a sheet of paper.
*Crafty Collage. This is a great art activity I like to do with younger kids and their parents. It is super easy, and the materials used can be things found around your home, as well as incorporating crafty fun items you purchase if you’d like. To start, you would either paint the canvas or watercolor/color a paper covering the whole background with any color/colored design you choose. After, you would use glue to apply holiday themed elements, or just any items you and your kids like or find around the house, such as fabric, ribbon, magazine cut-outs, photos, stickers, buttons, pom-poms and glitter all while overlapping each item or decorating it as you’d like for personal creative expression and as a great relaxing fun mindful activity.
*Emotion/Feeling Wheel-Mandala. This final activity example to try this holiday season is an absolutely great opportunity to check in with your kids and as a family by expressing and sharing thoughts and feelings through art. I encourage individuals to utilize this art activity frequently as a great and fun check-in tool! This can be done in an art journal and using any of the materials mentioned above.
    Start this activity by creating a circle (with the end product being a mandala). Next, separate the circle into “pie” slices with a drawing tool; it can be either four, six or eight sections depending on your preference. Then you will assign each slice with a feeling that you can personally choose, or you all can do the same ones and possibly later discuss that feeling or choose emotions/feelings that you all might be experiencing at that given time/holiday season. You may use the color tools you choose to illustrate each emotion or feeling by first closing your eyes and tuning into (with mindful breathing) what that looks like to you, whether it’s a color(s) or patterns.
    Finally, an all-time favorite of MissDee’s holiday workshops is her “Mindful Mosaic Menorah/Soothing Self-Care Sculpt & Paint” workshop choice. This is a great festive bonding activity to do with siblings, mommy and me, the family as a whole, group event, or Hanukkah pARTy. This includes creating your own step-by-step instructed personalized clay decorative and hand-painted menorah to cherish always—and it makes a great literal handmade gift.
    Happy Holidays!!

Diana Shabtai, Psy.D., ATR-BC is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine


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