Little L has been playing with her Bamboletta doll next to the lights of the Christmas tree while it is still indoors. On New Years Eve, we will be taking the tree outside, taking the Christmas cards down and packing the Nativity away. It feels good to get our home back in order before January 1st. A fresh and tidy start to a brand new year.
I think there will be more de-cluttering in 2011, carrying on from where we left off last year of trying to make our home as simple as possible. This will help us make our daily rhythms and chores and general day-to day living so much easier. With less 'stuff' in our home we can shift our energy from tidying and cleaning all the 'things' and focus on enjoying family time together instead.
It's good to be able to take this time to focus on what needs to be done before the rush of 'normal' days start again.
K and L have named their Christmas bedtime dolls Laura and Mary (inspired, I think, from our favourite Little House story books) They have been carried, held and kept close pretty much since they have been opened. We chose these dolls because they are stuffed with organic wool, K mentioned how warm they are to cuddle. It's sweet to see the dolls in the girls arms when they are fast asleep at night.
We are enjoying this quiet pocket of time in between Christmas and the New Year, enjoying having unscheduled family time, keeping things slow and simple and not having to rush. I think we have a lovely week ahead of us, here together.
I wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays!
The English Heritage held open access to Stonehenge this morning for Winter Solstice celebrations as sunrise on the 22nd is closer to the actual solstice (which took place at 11.39 pm yesterday evening UK time) than that on the 21st of December. We got the children out of bed early so we could reach Stonehenge before sunrise. It felt like quite an adventure wrapping them up warmly and bundling them into the car even though it wasn't light yet, K was amazed when Stonehenge suddenly appeared from the darkness. Dawn was breaking as we walked through the snow up to the stones and K went straight over to touch them to see if she could feel the magic. I picked K up in my arms and the crowds were kind enough to let us through so she could see the inner circle and hear the chanting of all the people gathered to celebrate the ancient ritual.
As each Christmas passes we are more and more striving for simplicity in our celebrations. We want the holiday season to be celebrated by traditions and activities we do together as a family rather than through consumerism. I started thinking about Christmas as far back as July over on Mothering.Com so I could consciously decide not to over- buy toys for our children, when really, they had so many beautiful toys already. We wanted to move away from buying toys completely. In my heart, I knew that I didn't want to give in to the pressure of just buying more and more 'stuff' because I felt I had too.
Lots of ideas came up over on Mothering.Com and I realised that I am not the only one who is trying to move away from consumerism at Christmas, there are lots of families striving for simplicity and celebrating through experience rather then through things.
This idea seemed very popular:
Something you want,
Something you need,
Something to wear,
And something to read.
We decided to only have one present for each of our children on Christmas day from mummy and daddy. We chose these organic Pink Stripy Toddler dolls made by Nanchen so the girls can have a cuddly bedtime doll each. Each one is stuffed with wool which makes them very cuddly and warming!
We also decided that 'Father Christmas' would keep their stockings special with a few nice quality things, but simple at the same time.
For K we got:
For Little L we got:
We tried to keep in mind things the girls could actually use. We knew they would need some new play-doh. Little L has just started to wear hair bands but has been borrowing K's, so we knew she would like some of her own. The dwarf dice game we bought for little L will be great for when we go camping in the summer as it is so small and easy to pack. K will enjoy making friendship bracelets to give to the girls at her school in the new year....
To help put this into context for any new readers, this is what the girls already have in their playroom collected over the last three years:
We're really looking forward to keeping Christmas simple this year!
The children woke up to a blanket of thick snow this morning and wanted to get straight out to play right after breakfast. We plan on staying indoors this afternoon with our favourite co-operative board games, mugs of cocoa and quilts to keep cozy and warm and having some family time. The sofa sitting in our bay window is a popular spot in our home right now as the children keep checking for fresh snowfall.
I'm enjoying the comforts of home today.
K has finished school today and was allowed home early straight after the Christmas family sing-a-long. It's been a great opportunity to get started on some holiday baking. K wanted to get warm and cozy so asked if she could get straight into her pajamas and dressing gown even though it is the middle of the day.
Traybakes are popular in our home, especially with icing and hundreds and thousands! This is actually a great recipe from Mary Berry's Baking Bible. There is one basic mixture which you can create a number of flavoured traybakes from with just a few extra ingredients. The one pictured here is the basic sponge tray bake coated in glace icing finished with sprinkles. I had some eggs that needed using up so I also made a Sultana and Orange tray bake to slice and pack away in the freezer.
We seem to be moving so quickly towards the height of the holiday season, it's less then two weeks until Christmas day! Lots of things have been happening around here, Christmas cards are being written, there are questions about Father Christmas and a golden window star has been made for our nativity. K has been to see Aladdin at the Playhouse during the weekend which she was so excited about. All the Christmas cards that have dropped through our letterbox are being hung on string in the hallway, they are a welcome sight when coming in from the cold. Everything seems to feel so festive and busy.
The children paused for a moment outside the Lantern Community Cafe next to the Waldorf school to look at the wintery scene in the window. It is lovely during the holiday season to catch glimpses of Christmas, a tree lighting up someone's window in the twilight, snow lying on the ground, wrapping paper peeping out of shopping bags...I enjoy the sense of anticipation that hangs in the air at this time of year.
Even though there are lots of jobs I haven't done yet, like baking mince pies (I have yet to master the art of pastry!) wrapping presents, making Christmas biscuits, it's nice to stand still and enjoy these precious, fleeting moments that this season brings