I’m trying to make choices that I can handle with grace instead of anxiety.
If you look around at some of the crafty mom-blogs out there, you will find hundreds of activities to do with your kids, for every holiday and season. The temptation is to get down on yourself for not being as creative, organized, or fun as someone else.
Strongly resist that temptation!
Holidays come, and holidays go. Put a folder in your filing cabinet labeled “Halloween” and tuck in your ideas for… maybe next year. Or, jot some notes into your homemaking notebook on your page for “autumn.” I’ve had young children around for many years now, with many ups and downs, and many years where all I could say was “maybe next year.”
It’s taken a long time, but when it comes to celebrating special days of the year, I’ve learned to pick one or two favorite activities to be consistent about… and let the many other ideas just happen or not. Children of all ages find comfort in ROUTINE and TRADITION. Too many different projects will clutter your schedule and your lives, and may impose a pace you cannot sustain. I wish I had been able to read this post a decade ago and more quickly gotten over the impulse to try so, so many projects just because they looked “neat.”
A few days before Halloween (which we call All Hallow’s Eve), we purchase a few pumpkins and gourds. The gourds are painted with enthusiasm. I let them dry, then add a coat of Mod Podge to protect the paint and make them shine. (Do that part outside, because it stinks!) This is an easy project for us, because painting is often done here, and the supplies needed are always up on the same, high shelf. And gourds are cheap.
We carve a pumpkin or two each year and roast the seeds. (I have yet to bake a pumpkin pie without using pumpkin from a can… that’s on my “maybe next year” list.) We live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is safe and social; the streets are flooded with children. Candy is sorted; chocolate goes into the freezer.
November 1st is All-Saint’s Day, and it is a vacation day here. We go to Mass, make a related craft, have a treat of some kind. (This year, it was Orange Leaf after church!)
November 2nd is not only voting day, it is also All Soul’s Day, and I try to take the kids to visit a cemetery, if it’s not raining or snowing. And November 3rd is the feast of St. Martin de Porres, which we celebrate with the reading of a short biography.
And then there’s a bit of a break.
Blessed time for simply living today and planning our upcoming winter holidays.