2020-21 School Year–Christmas School

Hymn of the Week–“Where Shepherds Lately Knelt” (Lutheran Service Book #369)

It’s been a long time since we’ve dedicated a week to “Christmas School,” but if ever a year needed it, it’s 2020. So this week was spent making ornaments, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories, and watching different versions of The Nutcracker.

I was especially excited about the ornaments. I had originally planned for the children to make them two years ago, but that was the year I broke my ankle, and I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it. Last year I found ornament kits that I really wanted to make, so these beautiful sequin ornaments got pushed back one more year. We had lots of options for colors and sizes:

They were definitely worth the wait (and the seed beads that may be rolling around the kitchen forever!), because they are beautiful!

We also decorated gingerbread houses, something we have done in the past, but it’s been a few years, and I’ve never had a house for each child (the mansion was a group project).

Speaking of gingerbread houses, we did get out of the house to see the gingerbread creations in the store windows on Main Street. We might not have been able to do most of the Christmas activities I had planned this year, but it was nice to do one familiar thing!

This was also “Cookie Week.” I decided we should bake a different kind of cookie every day, and they should all be cookies we don’t usually bake. On Monday, we made eggnog blossoms, Tuesday was chocolate crinkles, Wednesday we baked kolacky, Thursday we made both Madelines and palmiers, and today we baked spritz.

We did a lot of reading this week, too. We finished A Christmas Carol, and made it through most of Letters from Father Christmas (I plan on finishing that next week). We also read a bunch of storybooks:

  • Lucia Morning in Sweden
  • Lucia: Saint of Light
  • The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Jackie’s Gift
  • The Carpenter’s Gift
  • Fear Not Joseph
  • Madeline’s Christmas
  • The 12 Days of Christmas
  • The Three Wise Women of Christmas
  • The Nativity

It was also “Nutcracker Week.” This is not totally unheard of for us, although this year we were supposed to see a live production. We watched a different version every day:

  • Monday: Ballet Company of The National Opera of Ukraine
  • Tuesday: Dutch National Ballet
  • Wednesday: Wiener Staatsballett
  • Thursday: The Royal Ballet
  • Friday: The Bolshoi Ballet

We saved our favorite, the San Francisco Ballet production, to watch tomorrow. If we have time next week, we’ll watch the Berlin Nutcracker, too…that’s the only one we have on disc that we didn’t schedule for this week.

This was a really fun week of school, but I’m looking forward to taking a break for a few weeks. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Crafts–Ornaments

Our favorite kind of Christmas craft every year is making Christmas ornaments. These are particularly good, because they’re so keepable, unlike pictures and other paper crafts, which often get wrinkled or torn and have to be thrown away. Over the last few years, we’ve made many different ornaments, some variations on the same theme, but all of them different in some way. They also make great Christmas gifts for special people like grandparents, pastors, and Sunday School teachers!

We’ve done very basic candy cane and wreath ornaments with beads on pipe cleaners…I think every child in America has made one of these at some point!

Glitter ornaments are another standard, and they look so pretty in the lights on the tree:

IMG_9588

Pipe cleaners are useful in so many ways…these came from a pattern I found in a book about Christmas during World War II. Super easy, but the metallic stems make them so sparkly and pretty on the tree!

We’ve made a lot of stars/snowflakes…it can be difficult to tell the difference! Some have come from craft kits, and some are simply done following a pattern, and strung on wire or pipe cleaners.

We’ve made other things from kits, too, including one attempt at foam. I really don’t care for foam projects in general, but the penguins we made did turn out really cute!

IMG_8112

P1340058

This year, for something new, we made wreath ornaments using buttons. For some reason, the buttons, as opposed to the beads used in years past, were particularly entertaining to the children!

We’ve also made ornaments using bells:

P1210088

We even made jointed Nutcracker ornaments. These look really cool, but due to some, uh…teacher error…they didn’t turn out quite as planned. They’re still fun, though, and they’re even┬áposable! Turkey designed his to look like the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Prince.

Of course, sometimes it’s fun to let children design and create their own ornaments, too!

Next year, I want to make jingle bell ornaments, glitter ball ornaments, and maybe a paper ball ornament, (even though I was terrible at making those as a child!), but after that, I’m out of ideas! That’s OK, though, because other than this year’s wreath, Ladybug hasn’t made any of the other ornaments, so I can just start the whole cycle over again with her!