I had the advantage of reviewing an ebook called Homespun Holidays: Fall and Winter by The Old School House for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The website is for The Old School House is http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/shop/, and the book and I going to be talking about is this one: http://www.theoldschoolhouse.com/product/homespun-holidays-fall-and-winter/
As my husband and I started out our still-growing family, we often would have discussions about the holidays and traditions we wanted to start, or carry on, for our family. He came from a back ground where Christmas and Thanksgiving weren't times of much festive activities besides the family dinner together (which is MUCH different then what American family dinners are like and usually didn't include turkeys, card playing or much gift giving). I came from a background where holidays are a BIG deal and are often spent preparing for as early as October. They were usually spent all together, in my Grandma's house, and revolved around the traditional foods, card games, and football.
Needlesstosay, we are still trying to find what works for our family, but we have a much better balance now between the two extremes.
I found this book to be extremely delightful and helpful in our journey toward establishing what our family does for the holidays!
This book breaks down in two sections: Fall and Winter.
It reminds me of the type of book my mother would keep on the living room table full of craft ideas, seasonal poems, recipes, decorating ideas, and examples of what several different families would do each year for the holidays.
For Fall, there are ideas on how to put together a Thankful Bulletin Board so the kids can pin things onto the board throughout the month that they are thankful for. There is also an idea for a Thanksgiving ABC Game where you take turns going in a circle naming something you are thankful for that begins with each letter of the alphabet. There are pumpkin carving ideas that are tied to scriptures about letting our light shine among men that they may see our good works and glorify our father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16). There are also several seasonal recipes such as an Autumn Soup, Pumpkin Chip Cookies, and Granny's Apple-Pear-Raisin Pie. This is only a glimpse of the many Fall ideas in this book.
The Winter section of this book was my favorite part of this book!
There were such creative ideas that I have never even seen on Pinterest (although they were Pinterest worthy!) One of my favorites was the idea to have a Shepherd's Supper next to a fireplace (if you have one) on Christmas Eve Night where you eat food native to Israel as you listen to the narrative of the Shepherd's getting the news of the Savior being born. You get to feel the warmth of the fire, hear it crackling, lay on a blanket on the ground, and snack on flat bread, olives, dates and figs and imagine you are there with the Shepherds that night! How Wondrous!
The Winter craft ideas were simple, and usually involved things you would have on hand such as the Trash Bag Wreath and the Jesse Tree.
The Jesse Tree was our FAVORITE thing from this book!
We actually took this idea and made it into our own!
We created our own Jesse Tree in the shape of a large red cross and painted the name Immanuel across it. Using some ornament printouts we found online, we started going through each story through the blood line of Jesus as we make our way to Christmas Eve and the story of Jesus' birth. Our goal is to follow the bloodline of Jesus, as well as find Jesus in every story!
As we read through Creation, the kids were absolutely floored to find Jesus when God said, "Let US make man in OUR image!" They had no idea God was talking to Jesus!
Although they had a hard time at first, they got to understand that Noah's Ark is a type of Jesus! The Ark saved Noah and his family from the flood. We talked about how sin always leads to death and only Jesus can save us from death.
This book had many unique, real family examples and ideas of crafts, recipes, Bible Studies, holiday discussions and even party planning ideas that you can implement with your family that can keep this memorable fall and winter season a time of closeness and Christ-centeredness.
We greatly enjoyed this book. It is one that I would print out and have laying out on the coffee table each holiday season (just like my mother did). You can page through it and try something new every year while you drink Peppermint Cocoa and eat Gingerbread Pancakes (recipes from this book!)