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Friday, March 20, 2009

Homeschool Holiday Traditions

My childhood memories of holidays are so sweet that for as long as I can remember, I've wanted to create long-lasting holiday traditions for my own children. I was reminded the other day that some of our holiday traditions have always centered around good books. During a recent chemistry lab at our house, one of the moms was gazing at a couple of our many bookshelves (I too love checking out peoples' books) and remarked on a group of obviously older books on one of the lower shelves. I explained that this was a well-loved collection of holiday books with which I refuse to part. It is a group of books that I someday hope will become as much a part of my grandchildren's holiday traditions as they were of ours.

I thought I would share a short list of some of our holiday titles. These aren't necessarily award winners or what I would classify as "classics", but we have enjoyed them over and over as our children grew ...
  • Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
  • Jotham's Journey: A Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide - This advent favorite was used over and over in our home.
  • The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - which was made into a movie not long ago, but the kids and I agree that the book is still better!
  • Becky's Christmas by Tasha Tudor
  • An Amish Christmas by Richard Ammon
  • Winter Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky and published by Scholastic
  • A Story a Day Til Christmas published by Current - this was a series published by Current in the late '80s and early '90s. We owned Volumes 1 and 3.
Each year as our kids were growing I would create holiday "units" that included some of these books as well as two or three craft projects and some yummy baking. One craft project I remember in particular involved creating paper snowflakes. The Internet has some wonderful pattern ideas which combined with a little creativity of our own, resulted in some gorgeous snowflakes decorating our home one year. Check out the free patterns at Craft Ideas, Paper Snowflakes.com , and Dave's Snowflake Patterns (these are quite intricate). Use some colorful origami paper and glitter to spice up your designs.

Maybe I'll share some of our favorite holiday recipes in my next few blog entries. There are some phenomenal holiday recipes changing hands over on the Holiday Forum on the Sonlight Forums site. A one-month subscription is definitely worth the $4.99 (if you don't qualify for a free subscription) for all the great recipes and holiday ideas.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season with your family!
~Judy

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