homemade holiday decorations


we’ve endeavored to make our own winter wonderland decorations for the house again this year. we add some pieces to our holiday decorations annually but making them is by far my favored option. what better to do while sitting around watching the classic holiday films than string some popcorn garland or cut out snowflakes over breakfast. here’s our first project:

coffee filter snowflakes

this is a throwback to first grade. all that is needed is a package of coffee filters, some white thread, scissors and tape. we’ve had a really good time experimenting with shapes and using it as geometry lessons for darla. “Darla, repeat after me: line of symmetry.”

just fold the suckers up, cut shapes and unfold to see what ya got. we then flatten them under a stack of books for a couple hours before we string them up and affix to the ceiling with packing tape. scotch tape seems to be too wimpy. also, we cut the strings to all different lengths so the falling effect looks more real.

it still gets oohs and aahs from darla.

i thought i was all artistic edward scissorhands until our art school friends came to town and really showed me up. can we say ‘minor in snowflake art?’ actually my friend james did say that. and then the following morning darla said “james is a good snowflaker” over breakfast. soooo, with this activity, not only can you make beautiful holiday decorations AND holiday memories but apparently you can make up new words too.

my friend katie posted a link from michele made me for making snowflakes out of junk mail which i think is brilliant and must be added to our project list. maybe a garland out of these to add to the falling flakes?


saint nicholas feast day

we celebrated the feast day of saint nicholas with darla for the first time yesterday. it’s time for a little history lesson:

most of us 80s babies have been so far removed from the history of christmas that a lot of people don’t know that santa claus and many of our christmas traditions stem from a third century benefactor hailing from what is now modern day turkey. i found this website today and i have to say i’m digging the art by elizabeth jvanovsky.

to make a long story short, most countries celebrate the gift giving of st. nicholas on december 6th unlike in the u.s. where we simulate it on december 25th. the most common practice is for children to leave their shoes out for st. nicholas to stow treats and treasures inside.

this was always one of my favorite christmastime traditions in our household. my mother had little shoes from the netherlands that she would put out for me and i was always so excited to see what i would find the next morning. i think i was even more excited than christmas morning. well, probs not but st nic’s day always felt like a BONUS. i usually would have some candy, money and my commemorative christmas tree ornament for the year.

we’re not raising darla to be any specific religion but i thought keeping this little tradition in the mix was essential. i think the spirit of generosity was conveyed to me much more for st. nic’s feast day than christmas morning. i hope we’ll be able to teach darla the history behind the gift giving season and not just shoot her up with consumerism that is inescapable, even for myself.

anyway, i’d highly suggest adding st. nicholas feast day to your christmas traditions if you want to give a little extra push on the emphasis of charity and goodwill toward all. here’s darla’s feast day festivities:

darla received a pair of new toms from st. nicholas and a coordinating pair of socks. green corduroy with orange soles!!! ahhh they are too cute for words. there’s plenty of room to grow so i’m hoping we’ll get lots of use out of them to make the price sticker worth it. but i think it’s appropriate that st. nic brought her toms since a pair of shoes is donated to a child in need everytime a pair is purchased. st. nic would approve of that business model. maybe he’ll bring her a pair every year. also, the toms sticker is already on her bike helmet. BONUS.

i’m trying to get her a book every year to augment the collection passed down from my parents. Eloise at Christmastime was the only suitable option for this girl. she really, truly admires eloise and i think she and the little Plaza dweller have a lot in common. thanks again to fraunty amanda for introducing us to the world of Eloise.

we rounded it out with The Muppets Christmas Carol. this is my favorite version of the christmas carol. it is really just superb and does a great job following the verbage used by dickens. I admit this gift was really for me.

┬áso far everything was a success. we read eloise, we watched our movie and she wore her new shoes all day. i’m thinking this girl will like st. nic’s feast day every year, too.

if you’re interested you can find these items for your household here:

the muppets christmas carol
eloise at christmastime
toms toddler