It’s impossible not to appreciate the nostalgic beauty of Christmas in New England or to escape the repetition of the timeless sing-along carols. Despite the hustle and bustle, there’s a sense of unprovoked kindness fostered from a deep-rooted festiveness that awakens within New Englanders. Let’s face it, even the Grinch had a heart!
This holiday, more so than any other, inspires traditions, new and old, that are celebrated by families around the world. From decorating trees, to lighting candles or preparing customary meals, Christmas brings togetherness.
One of my traditions that I have shared before, but so worth sharing again, is making homemade dough ornaments. It’s a simple recipe that the entire family will enjoy. These make great gifts too!
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1/2 cup of room temperature water (a little extra if needed)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Ready to get your hands dirty? Dig in and mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Then slowly mix in water until you have a dough consistency (if too sticky add a bit more flour and if too dry add a bit more water).
Place on a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll dough ¼-inch thick (keep extra flour available in case the dough is too sticky and sprinkle lightly as needed). Then use cookie cutters or hands to cut and mold shapes. Handprints are fun, too!
Don’t forget to make a small hole for string or ribbon to later be inserted – not too small or it will close during baking. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour (less or more time depending on thickness). Let cool completely and then decorate with kid-friendly paints or glue on some glittery embellishments.
Lastly, insert your ribbon or string for hanging!
Now, if you are looking to start a NEW tradition, try a Literacy Tree! This is one that can be used at home or in the classroom. A friend recently shared the idea with me and it’s one that I will put into practice with my grandchildren.
Here is what you’ll need:
Small tabletop tree
Cut a 2-inch circle shape for each day you will be implementing the tree. Next, write the title of a book (or maybe an author’s name) on every circle and then clip it on the tree with a clothespin backwards (make sure the blank side is showing).
The idea is to countdown the days to Christmas (or school vacation) by selecting a paper ornament each day from the tree and reading the book that was listed. To get more creative, add decorations and lights to the tree.
Below I’ve included two books that are my merry-must-reads to kick off December. Hang these on the Literacy Tree!
What tradition will your family be doing for holiday? Until next year, keep those pages turning and have the happiest Christmas filled with laughter and treasured memories.
See you in 2019!
Tabatha Jean D'Agata
Written by Tom Fletcher, Illustrated by Shane Devries
Reading level: Ages 8 to Adult (This is a book for the whole family!)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers, 384 pages
How to Catch an Elf
Written by Adam Wallace, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton
Reading level: Ages 4 to 8
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 32 pages