At Confluence Academy this week, we are taking a break from the routine studies to delve into some holiday fun.  The way we celebrate the Christmas season in the US has always been counter intuitive to me.  I miss the days of the winter spiral that we had in Louisville when we attended Parent/Child classes at the Waldorf School.  St. Nicholas and St. Lucia came by for a visit to our little homey classroom.  It was so cozy and introspective.

The rush and fuss of the holiday season often leaves me in tears.  Too much stress involved.  I don’t like feeling pulled and tugged.  Expectations are high.  We want to see all of our family, but it is hard to go to at least 3 different places in the course of 2 days.  That doesn’t include our own home.  There are always too many presents and I end up feeling more frustrated and guilty than blessed because we just can’t reciprocate and our space here is limited for bringing in more things for the girls.  It is my problem and not appropriate at all.  We are abundantly blessed.  It is the consumerism and the pressure that makes me feel like my head is a spinning top and my guts made of mush.  I don’t connect with this type of celebration at all.  I honestly do not think Jesus, Mother Nature, or St. Nicholas are bothered in the least by my rejection of it, because when they espoused this season they had a totally different thing in mind. I lackadaisically drift in and out of our families’ homes trying to keep an even keel.

The darkness and soft lights… the cold air… the gray blue sky… it makes me want to retreat.  I want to read books, drink warm drinks, eat hearty food, and make traditions with my daughters.  I want to breathe into the Truth of who we are – beings in the image of God, never lacking.

So, this week we are going to explore in our schooling things that are typically lost to us as we scramble to buy gifts, get to every expected location, and zip through it all barely conscious of why we are doing this in the first place.  We are going to look at the great stories, art, and timelessness of the season.

Tuesday, we explored The Nutcracker with this FREE unit.  We listened to an adaptation of the story on Story Nory, watched the ballet on YouTube, drew a nutcracker (see Deladis’s below), and read about Tchaikovsky.  We talked about composers and choreographers.  It was a good time.  Deladis has been humming the music since.

nutcracker

We discovered the story of the real Santa Claus – St. Nicholas – on a lovely website – St. Nicholas Center.  We read several of the stories.  Our favorite was – And Now We Call Him Santa Claus by Kay Tutt.  We did an drawing of St. Nick as well (again… Deladis’s is below).  Then, we went on a nature walk to gather decorations for the house – moss, evergreen twigs, rocks, seed puffs, and wood.  Tonight, we’ll eat popcorn and sip hot chocolate.

st.nick

We haven’t gotten around to putting up a tree this year with all the running around like chickens with no heads.  Sunday night, we decided not to put up one at all.  There isn’t the space right now, and I think we are going to go in a totally different direction with our decorating.  We are getting real, simple, light.  I think the fake tree will be going away beginning this season.

I think it is just right.

Our nativity set off with natural decor... moss, rocks, and wood chips.

Our nativity set off with natural decor… moss, rocks, and wood chips.

Our vine wreath decorated with evergreen twigs, red paper, scrub grass puffs, and old artificial flowers.

Our vine wreath decorated with evergreen twigs, red paper, scrub grass puffs, and old artificial flowers. 

We loved our time together.  I can’t believe it was 60 degrees out on Wednesday and today – Winter Solstice – it is snowing.

Checking out Eastern Hemlock twigs.

Checking out Eastern Hemlock twigs.

Thursday, we learned how to care for hermit crabs, since the girls will be getting one from us for Christmas.  They danced a Christmas performance at the area nursing home in the evening.  Today, we are learning about Winter Solstice.  Then… a much needed break from school.

Later, we’ll put up our stockings.  I’m going to read and do some more writing.  We are going inward.  Winter Solstice is drawing us inward with its snow and sleepy skies.

Maybe if I make a few reasonable adjustments, I’ll be able to enjoy my first new pair of tennis shoes in six years that I know my mother has under her tree.  I know I can manage. :)

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