Sometimes I envy those that live in states that boast warm weather all year ‘round, with not much change in seasons. Then, some of the first snowflakes start to fall and the landscape takes on a beautiful blanket of pure, quiet, calming white! Yes, it is cold and slippery and seals the fate of any fading foliage, but there is something serene about seeing the Rocky Mountains, pine trees and fields outlined in white. Kids can’t wait to create something from the phenomenon that’s fallen from the sky, and one of the first things that comes to my mind are the holidays that winter brings with it. Even though the retail stores have been reminding us of the holidays since Halloween ended, seeing the snow fall when winter arrives really reminds me of the spirit of the season.
With winter brings time off from school for the kids. Of course it can be a challenge to keep them busy as they are now mostly inside where it is warmer. This is when our box of craft materials and board games come in handy! We also bake and decorate cookies, write letters and catch up on reading, not to mention a few Christmas movies here and there! Snowball fights, snowmen and snow forts are not abundant as of yet, but they are impending!
Here are some ideas to help keep the kids busy:
- Reuse a jar to make snow globes
- Make a hot chocolate bar with various fixings (marshmallows, sprinkles, whipped cream, etc.)
- Various handprint crafts
- Stuff an old sock with rice and shape into a snowman. Add various adornments (buttons, scarf, etc.)
- Snowman bowling (make snowmen out of recycled materials)
- Reuse pinecones and adorn with sparkles, etc. to make a decorated tree
- Reuse items and string together for garland
Please visit our Pinterest page for more winter activity ideas.
Of course, my family’s most anticipated event of the entire year is coming on December 25th! We will celebrate Christmas by being around family (which always includes food), singing and listening to Christmas music, taking the “Polar Express” (our 4×4 truck) around to view how others have decorated their homes with lights and such, and generally trying to uphold the magic of the season. I was thrilled to hear what my kids have learned at school about a few other holidays celebrated in America, and I love that everything is turned into a learning experience!
I know I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, healthy family, and the ability to live my piece of the American Dream, so every year, my family decides on how we will give back. Though we make similar choices throughout the year, we feel compelled to do more over the coming holidays. Although it never feels like it’s enough, we do what we can to help make Christmas special for others. It brings a smile to our faces knowing that we brought the same to others. I hope that during this busy season, others remember those that are not as fortunate.
I hope that all of our wonderful au pairs and host families are sharing their seasonal traditions, songs, recipes and games with each other. Moments like that are what makes this program so unique and life-altering! Enjoy each other over the holidays and find the wonders of winter! Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a joyous new year!