Comfort and Joy

We are all about comfort and joy around here, especially during the Christmas season. And that means everything from preparing whatever we want for Christmas Eve dinner, no matter how nontraditional, to letting the only man in our house wear his worn out, out of date, and too short sweat pants when friends come over, without so much as a whining complaint from the mommy of the house. The man loves those darn, comfy sweatpants, and Christmas ain’t about clothes, no matter how much I enjoy them. I just can’t get into the whole hustle and bustle of a stressed out, over-booked Christmas season. I am celebrating the birth of Christ, for goodness sake, and for me, I can do that much better without deadlines, maxed out credit cards, and exhausted and over-stimulated kids. Now that does not mean we are a bunch of couch potatoes during this season, and it certainly doesn’t mean we are perfectly chill at all moments, never giving into stress and material temptation. We just try to stay focused on what really and truly matters, or rather, on what really and truly should matter to us. And this holiday season has been pretty joyous and super comfy. Even when we are learning about insects in our kindergarten class and wondering why our live ants haven’t yet arrived, we are doing our best to cherish the moments.

And cherishing the moments during Christmas time usually comes with all sorts of school time festivities. I gotta be honest here and say this is one weakness of mine, remembering to incorporate seasonal celebrations and projects into our curriculum. I have to keep remembering that our curriculum was created to begin any time of year, which means it does not follow seasons, holidays, and all those fun childhood school time festivities found in public and private school settings…….so, it’s up to the mamas to plan and follow through with the fun. Here’s a little of what my kindergarten gal did to celebrate this holiday season (of course her little sisters also enjoyed the fun of some of these activities):

My daughter completed five days of sharing during her final week before school ended for Christmas break. She came up with one thing to give, share, or do for someone every day. Her sharing activities included donating some of her dolls and stuffed animals to a local charity and making sweet treats as a surprise for daddy. One of her strengths is gift giving and surprising, so she loved this week of sharing.

I also wanted her to have some kind of festive play date or event, something to give her the same kind of fun experience she would have in a classroom setting Christmas party if she attended a large school, so…..we had some friends over to decorate cookies.
Fun, sweet, sugary, and not even messy….not messy because we used snowflake, angel, snowman, and dove cookie cutters, which all make for cookies that can be decorated with all white icing and white sparkled sugar. We aren’t afraid of messes around here, but it is nice to find a fun way to avoid food coloring when possible. We ordered pizza, the kids all decorated a plate of cookies, and then we finished off with a viewing of the classic Rudolph movie. Our kids had more wheat flour and sugar than they usually have in a week or maybe even a month, but hey, they had fun and they understand it was a special treat. I think it’s so important that kids learn to appreciate special occasions and treats for what they are: special, once in a while gifts or indulgences, things to be thankful for and excited about because you don’t see them all day and every day.

And then there is the Christmas and winter decorating. This year I realized that when we are decorating our home, we are also decorating our learning environment, so we made sure to make use of calendars, count down to Christmas displays, and seasonal manipulatives. Our favorite Christmas time addition to our house was a basket in our living room which holds our Christmas and winter storybooks, movies, and music. This helped to decorate our house for the season in a small way, while also reminding us to stop throughout our day and share a book or short movie with each other while the season matched up with the stories.

Add some of our favorite homemade spiced tea into the mix, and we had a pretty great season filled up with bunches of comfort and joy. Happy Birthday, Jesus!