Bringing joy to a cold, dark month with new traditions!
One morning the dinosaurs were caught in the act of stealing cookies from the cookie jar…

November is traditionally a cold, dark and relatively quiet month. It’s the deep breath between Halloween and the mass of celebrations, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Longest Night and New Year’s Eve, that make December such a beautiful time of the year.

But the month is not quiet for everyone; in our house Nov. 1 heralds the start of a month-long celebration: DiNovember.
DiNovember sees my daughter’s pet dinosaurs, full of mischief and hijinks, take over the house for a month. Each morning of November, the household wakes to a new scene of chaos from the dinosaurs. They’ve built ziplines and hot air balloons; they’ve stolen cookies and tried to make up for the trespass by trying to bake new ones; they’ve created art and taken time to honour the fallen on Remembrance Day; they’ve built movie theatres to watch Jurassic Park (and covered every surface in popcorn in the process); on one very memorable morning they tried to trap my daughter’s toy dog and received an intense scolding delivered with the wrath that only an irate two-year can produce.

The dinosaurs took the time on one Remembrance Day to learn about the family’s history with World War II

They always start their month-long escapades by attacking the carved pumpkins as a way of announcing that Halloween is over and that DiNovember has arrived. On Nov. 30, they always strive to make amends for the month of havoc they have wrought by decorating the house for Christmas, procuring my daughter’s advent calendar and making her a handmade card.

The dinosaurs bring a lot of joy to our household and we’ve worked to share that with others. Over the years that the dinosaurs have claimed November as their own, we have made sure to photograph their daily escapades and to share this evidence of their cleverness with our wider community through social media (the paleontologists who believe that dinosaurs’ small brain sizes indicate a lack of intelligence have never woken to find elaborate systems of climbing ropes and pulleys rigged up to facilitate the stealing of chocolate from the highest kitchen cupboard). In doing so we’ve found that the dinosaurs are bringing joy to many others besides ourselves. I don’t think I get stopped in the street more at any point of the year than in November, when I find myself stopped every few steps to discuss whatever the dinosaurs got up to that day.

The most important lesson I’ve been able to take away from allowing a set of prehistoric reptiles to roam my house for the month is the joy of creating and honouring our own traditions and celebrations. I would encourage everyone to take the mental space to create some of your own new traditions for yourself. Whether that’s letting the concept of DiNovember infect your own pet dinosaurs, starting a monthly ritual like “Eat Like a Pirate Night” (another of our family’s favourites that involve mandatory costumes, newspaper table cloths, no cutlery and rum for those old enough to imbibe), or something completely new and unique to you, I think you will find true joy in creating new traditions for yourself. And in a year like 2020, that has been so difficult for so many, I think any way that we can strive to bring more joy into the world is a worthwhile endeavour.

At least I’m not a giraffe’s backside this time

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