Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December Traditions - Indoor Activities With My Kids

Some people do Advent calendars, but I prefer the construction paper chain countdown because it brings me fond memories of elementary school. Right now this activity is mostly shared between Ellis and me. We have the fun of making it (I cut the rings, he staples them and writes the dates on them) and he loves to wake up every morning in December and cut off yesterday's ring. For anticipation's sake, it helps that the chain sits on the piano below the presents that he can't wait to open. I'm looking forward to next year when Charlie's growing skills allow him to get more involved in this tradition.

This weekend, Josh remarked that some cookies are about the product and some cookies are about the process. In my opinion, there are definitely cookies that are more delicious to eat than decorated sugar cookies, but in terms of pre-holiday weekend fun for kids these are the best.

For me, making sugar cookies is also a spiritual exercise in battling my inner control freak as I let go of my anxiety about how much colored sugar and sprinkles gets poured on places other than the cookies. It helps to have two grownups on the task, and with each passing year I get rewarded for not being uptight as the kids motor skills improve. It is indeed about the process.

Sometimes the most fantastic traditions are ones you stumble upon. When Ellis was four, he went to a birthday party around the winter solstice and got some glow sticks as party favors. That year, when it hit peak darkness, we had fun playing with the colored light during the long evening.

Last year, Charlie fell in love with glow sticks sometime around Halloween and began calling them jack-o-lanterns. When the solstice rolled around, I revived the tradition of darkening the house, putting on music and creating our own light show.

This year, I made sure to pick up a pack of glow sticks during my Christmas shopping, and I eagerly anticipate enjoying them tomorrow.
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