How to beat the holiday blues

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No matter what event you celebrate during the holiday season, or if you don’t celebrate any at all, this time of year provides many wholesome opportunities to spread love and give back to the community. Here are a few events happening in London that will get you out of the house and involved in the warm atmosphere, despite the cold.

Winter Wonderland (Victoria Park)

Every winter, Victoria Park lights up dozens of trees to create a magical landscape in Downtown London. The lights are turned on for the entire month of December. On certain days you can enjoy a beautiful view of the park from the City Hall Promenade Deck across the street on Dufferin Avenue. The first night where everyone gathers around to view the annual lights creates a wonderful nostalgic feeling. It makes for a beautiful evening walk, especially with a cup of hot chocolate to warm up your winter hands.

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Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is a charitable program that collects new and gently used toys and donates them to children from low-income families. For many children this time of year they expect gifts from ‘Santa’ or their parents. There is no better time to help with that and bring a smile to their faces. There are many companies that accept donations for this organization, but the default drop-off spot is any Canadian Tire location.

Humane Society London & Middlesex (624 Clarke Rd.)

The holidays are a very busy time for pet shelters as they want to get their animals looking their best for upcoming adoptions. Volunteers are needed to help clean and prepare the animals. Sometimes they will need people with creative skills to help sew and knit gifts for them. Animals can sense the increased energy in the air during the holidays when everyone has a bit more spring to their step. Including them during this time makes their wait for a forever home a bit more enjoyable.

Free Ice Skating (Victoria Park)

When the weather permits, a skating rink is open daily beside the bandshell. It is free to use and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can either rent skates for $7 a pair or you can bring your own and get them sharpened for $6. It’s a great way to get into a new hobby if you’ve never tried skating before. Don’t be shy, the family-friendly atmosphere will encourage you and perhaps an experienced skater would be willing to teach you a thing or two.

The Shoebox Project

Every year multiple businesses participate in the Shoebox Project which collects necessities and small gifts to donate to women’s shelters. Often women who are at risk of homelessness cannot access basic needs such as shampoo or a toothbrush. The Shoebox Project wants to provide these things to make their holiday season as stress-free as possible. Information on how to put together your shoebox gifts and where to donate can be found at

You don’t need to be rich to make the most of your winter break! Make it your goal to create lovely memories this holiday season. The rewards of treating yourself and others right in times of need are immeasurable.