It’s Wednesday evening, my daughters have broken up from school and I finally have time to reflect on what we’ve been up to since I last wrote…in November!….Goodness, how can it be that we are already in mid-December! The last week passed in a bit of a blur with a sickness bug affecting all our family in turn. I became sick on Monday (missing my usual spot for writing here) and by the time I was feeling better on Wednesday, my youngest took over and we spent a whole long night in and out of the bathroom 😦 This weekend it was the turn of my eldest. I think we are all on the mend now and are hoping to stay well for the rest of December!!!
Somehow we have still been keeping up with our Advent traditions. This period is so precious to us, we wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 I wrote at length about these traditions here, but here are a few glimpses:
All the different ways we mark the passing days of December/Advent.
Mary is travelling on her Star path towards the stable. Due to illness, we have had a few false starts (!) and she has remained on a particular star for a couple of nights…but we help her catch up 🙂 We dim the lights before bedtime, light the candles (according to the weeks of Advent) and sing “Mary’s Starpath” as one of my daughters moves Mary forward to the next star. It creates such a beautiful reverent mood, I really appreciate it. As you can see, the path is filling up slowly; with crytals and golden shells (placed in the first week of Advent) and pinecones, little trees and golden hazelnuts this week. Toadstools are on their way 🙂 These are added by the “elves” overnight, both to our main Nature Table in the lounge and to my daughters’ own Nature Tables in their rooms. The elves have been known to forget (especially when they don’t want to disturb sick children!) but generally they know how important their job is 😉
Steiner attributed each week of Advent to a different Kingdom and I base my Advent activities and additions to the Nature table around this:
The first light of Advent is the light of stones,
Stones that live in crystals, seashells and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of plants,
Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts,
All await the birth, from the greatest to the least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of humankind,
The light of hope, that we may learn to love and understand.
This Advent, there are only three weeks in total due to the fourth Sunday in Advent falling on Christmas Eve, so we will start the arrival of the animals to the Nature Table a little earlier so there is enough time to add the humans too!
In the week of stones, I don’t usually do too much craft-wise as the children are still at school and there are a lot of things to organise and events to attend at this time. I do always give the girls a rock to crack (with a hammer) on one of the mornings and they each receive a lovely crystal (I cover the crystal in white clay and leave it to harden).
We sometimes make clay or saltdough ornaments, but due to illness, we had to forgo that this year. No matter…
This week I have a couple of crafts in mind based around plants. I will report back in my next post. I feel this post is going to be long enough!!!
So to rewind, we had our Gnomes Bonfire on the evening of 30th November to bid farewell to autumn and decay and make way for a peaceful light-filled Advent. We let go of all the dry leaves, acorns and conkers we had collected on our autumn walks and warmed ourselves by the fire accompanied by warm drinks and spicy biscuits 🙂 The girls set the gnomes up and took over most of the procedure this year. These traditions are so deeply ingrained they always know what to do 🙂
I felt a strong urge to tidy and clean the house thoroughly in preparation for Advent: It helps to set the mood to one of anticipation when the decks are cleared and the energy is lifted. Things can get quite tired looking at the end of a season, I find. It is always a joy to set the Nature table up for a new season and there is no season I love more than Advent 🙂
The girls wrote their letters to Father Christmas which the ‘elves’ took during the night. The elves also filled our angel Advent Calendar with ornaments to adorn the bare branches over our Nature Table.
On the 2nd December we had our school Christmas Fayre. We helped set the Fayre up on Friday and my husband did the cooking, as he has done for many years now.
The school looked really fabulous, all decked out in homemade goodness. I always feel so proud of our school at this time of year, when everyone pulls together to make it happen.
We baked some cakes for the cafe as every family does. My daughters were keen to be involved.
I love that my youngest felt she needed to wear high heels for this 🙂
As I mentioned, my eldest daughter had a stall in the Children’s Market.
She sold most of her doll skirts and paper angels and all of her needle felted baubles and window stars and made a grand total of £75! She paid a percentage to the school, paid me back for the materials and gave her sister some money to treat herself with and there was still £55 left for her. She was delighted as you can imagine. The needle felted Christmas pudding my youngest made was one of the first things to sell, so she is considering making more for next year….plans are afoot already 🙂
St Nicholas paid us a visit on 6th December. The girls put their boots out by the back door and were richly rewarded.
“Our” St Nicholas always brings nuts and clementines and a little present. This year he brought a festive glass and a special coin, which the girls were intrigued by.
We like to read this book about dear St Nicholas and his helper Ruprecht. It is in German – it’s a shame it isn’t translated yet.
The girls have also been making presents for their teachers and “secret santa” presents for a particular classmate. They both decided to needle felt something as they were already in the rhythm.
When my youngest started to feel better, but was still too weak to go to school, she sat on the sofa and felted this very cute Christmas elf for her classmate!
Her teacher is receiving another Christmas pudding that she made a little while ago.
For her “secret santa” gift, my eldest needle felted a snowman, with a felt top hat.
She cut a circle of felt out and cut a smaller circle out of the middle. She used the ring of felt for the brim so it fits snuggly over the snowman’s head and used the small circle for the top of the hat. I helped her cut out a rectangle to create a tube for the middle section. It came out really well I think.
Both of these were made by attaching two polystyrene balls to each other using a cocktail stick – my eldest daughter’s idea. I do feel proud of how they come up with these lovely ideas. They need very little help and what they make is of a really good standard – I am always impressed.
My eldest needle felted her teacher a bauble for her Christmas tree and also gave her one of the beautiful paper angels, that her teacher admired when she popped in to see the children’s work at the Fayre. She was pleased.
I am glad my eldest managed to make these on Saturday morning before she became ill as there was no time between then and now, with all the end of term festivities, carol service, plays etc. It has been a full time and is good to have a little outbreath now from all the activity and errands and take our (favourite) place at home; doing crafts; baking and enjoying lots of cosy reading by the fire. My kind of happy 🙂
I have been writing my Christmas cards when possible. Somehow I made an error when I took my letter to the photocopy shop to be copied. I asked for 20 copies of the 4 double sided A4 pages I had written, which would have been 80 pages in all. I agreed a price and the chap said it would take a little while, so I went for a walk. When I returned, I noticed a huge pile of coloured paper collecting on the tray next to the photocopier – he had thought I wanted 80 copies!!! Eeek!! I don’t have 80 friends to send this too – it really is only for my friends abroad. Ooops! What a waste of paper. Of course I paid him as I had agreed the price. I think we shall be using the paper to keep warm this winter 😉
In between illness, the girls have been helping me with packing presents for a couple of friends abroad and for our relatives.They have been busy little elves with the wrapping paper, cellotape and lots of stickers!! 🙂
Well that’s some of my news from the last couple of weeks. To finish, I just wanted to share these fab handmade socks that my daughter came home with from school today!
Rainbow socks – a girl after my own heart 🙂
As for my own makings, things aren’t going too well. I am having second thoughts about the teddy bear making for Christmas. I chose some yarn for the dress and shoes, but knitting it up, it just doesn’t suit the teddy’s colouring 😦 Sob! I have ordered some more yarn to see if I can find a more suitable colourway. Fingers crossed! Not long to go…may have to be a New Year’s present….
Hope you have had a peaceful and joyful Advent so far. Enjoy all that the season has to offer. Many blessings.