Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Goals and Rhythm

If you have not followed this blog before these monthly planning pages lay out a general structure for the month, including a theme and seasonal table, a way to wake, a table candle blessing, a couple of projects and a verse for going to sleep. These are goals the follow up varies from great to imperfect but having the plan helps it to happen and helps bring rhythm to our days!

December! Our favorite month of the year! I am going to try to keep the month peaceful even if its busy.. time for home, time for family, time to prepare our hearts and rest our souls. Possibly say "no" to some invites. Maybe more guests here for cozy dinners and hot tubs?

Festival or Theme is Advent / Christmas
The children spend time decorating the house and setting up our (several) nativities. We have a lovely fabric wall calender for advent and they usually get one of the beautiful European paper calenders too. As a family, over the years we have made pieces for a wooden nativity (very simple) and we set that up daily through Advent too.

Seasonal Table
Our favorite wooden Nativity made by Jalu of the Sunshine Coast - lovely! Children set up and reorganize as they wish all month.

Breakfast Verse (all December while lighting advent wreath candles)
Advent, advent, a child is born; Advent, Advent a child is born
First one, then two, then three, then four and then the child is at the door
Advent, Advent a child is born! Blessing on our meal today.

Waking Song
We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year! (Children's choice)

Bedtime Verse
Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright etc.
My children love to use carols, these are simple, traditional, everybody knows them. They reflect rhythm, routine, security.

December Project 1 Advent Wreath
If you haven't made one yet here is a simple method.

1. Use a floral wire ring from any florist. Either stuff it with moss or cut strips of floral foam.
2. The moss version is already very green so great for children, simply add garden greenery - clipped holly, evergreen, cones or even small Christmas balls or cinnamon stick bunches or nuts. Attach by wrapping the whole thing with thin floral wire. If using floral foam you will have to add lots of greenery. The easiest is clipped cedar. For either poke on four plastic candle holders and in the case of the moss, wire in. Ass candles (3 purple, 1 pink is traditional Christian, however 4 white or 4 red are also lovely). Light one additional candle each week of Advent at breakfast and dinner (week 1 light 1, week 2 light 2 etc).

Finish November Fundraiser
This year the children raised an amazing three hundred and something dollars for education in both Ethiopia and West Vancouver! Many thanks to all who gave so generously! The children have announced winners and delivered the prizes ( a book by my son, a candle by my daughter) and donations to respective charities! Outstanding! At ages 9 and 12 the children handled most of this themselves this year!

December Project 2 Rosca de Reyes
As in past years we baked Three Kings Bread for Epiphany (Jan 6 so I suppose it is a Jan project :-), a "rosca" ring to symbolize a crown. We do the Mexican version but their are all kinds of recipes from Latin countries and from Europe. Traditionally beans were hidden in the rosca, symbolizing baby Jesus. We use the more modern metal babies (found at a Catholic book store)wrapped in foil. Other years we have used clay babies (from an African import store) use your imagination. My children love to hide many babies not just one so this year we hid 6 babies and then delivered slices to many friends. In Mexico those who find babies make the tamales or host a party on Candlemas, however we just make our rosca with much love and no obligation!

Traditions / Ritual and Routine

Christmas Advent reading most nights.

The "humbug" game all season (once my father gave a stern Victorian woman's face Christmas decoration as a Christmas gift - she looked very grouchy so she was named the humbug - we sneak he on to each others trees all Christmas - the idea being you do not want to end up with the humbug at seasons end!)

Christmas Eve new pajama s from Nana and Granddad

A Very Merry Christmas to you all!
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