Bet You Didn't Know
In early Victorian times, this was the day of the Open House, when everyone went from house to house "making calls." Open House was usually held from noon to 6 p.m. Ladies and children stayed at home and gentlemen went calling, leaving their calling cards in a special holder near the front door of every home. This practice was eventually limited to family calls and receptions for invited guests only.
What follows is a calendar of holidays, month by month, for you and your family to use to celebrate and find themes (and an excuse, if you really need one) for crafts. Some of the special days listed here may be obvious and familiar, but you may never have heard of some others. More adventures to embark on with your children!
New Year's: December 31-January 1
New Year's as it's celebrated today tends to be a distinctly adult holiday, but it needn't be. You can certainly include children in the symbolism of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new. Here area few ways to meaningfully welcome the New Year:
Shift the emphasis from New Year's Eve to New Year's Day and host a dinner or brunch with other families. You might want to make the traditional New Year's food called Hoppin' John, a mix of black-eyed peas (symbolizing luck), rice(health), and collard greens (prosperity). Everyone's required to have at least a taste.
Make it a day to reflect on the year passed and the one ahead. Kids can write their New Year's resolutions out on paper and tuck them away to read the following year. They can roll them up into little scrolls, tie them with a ribbon, and decorate with small flowers or charms.
New Year's can also become a celebration of winter: When the Christmas decorations come down, decorate for a Winter Festival. This is the time for sledding, ice skating, making snowmen, sipping hot cocoa, and creating paper snowflakes.
This is also a good time to start window-sill gardens or small pots of herbs, force bulbs, pour through seed catalogs, and plan a spring garden. Make calendars for each member of the family using family photographs, paper scraps, stickers, and other crafts materials.
If you and your children are into miniatures, celebrate the changes in season in miniature. You can do this with a dollhouse, but even a simple box turned on its side (which can become a room), can be furnished and decorated with images of the passing holidays and seasons. The furniture and accessories need not be expensive (although you may want to begin collecting some special ones). Many can be made from small found objects. A lamp, for example, can be a small round bead with a toothpaste cap on top for a shade. The possibilities are endless.
Instead of just a Christmas tree, make a seasonal tree.
Project: Seasonal Tree
Age: 5 and up with adult help
Materials needed: Small tree limb with lots of branches, spray paint (any color), heavy decorative pot, sand, stones, moss
Spray paint the limb (or you can leave it natural, if you prefer) and let dry.
Block off the hole in the bottom of the pot (if there is one) and fill with a mixture of sand and stones. Make sure the limb is firmly planted and won't fall over. Making the sand damp might help.
Cover the top of the sand with stones or moss.
Decorate. Change decorations with each season, holiday, or special occasion.