Make Christmas as Merry as Possible

Our last episode was about Hanukkah, and as is the case with many of our topics, I learned so much about this one. In fact, I was embarrassed that I knew so little up to that point, and I was so impressed with what I learned about the beautiful Festival of Lights. I was on more solid ground with Christmas since I grew up with Santa and Christmas trees. I decided to focus on the celebrations and traditions of Christmas in this episode. It turned out to be a fun one to do.

Anything involving lights, songs, sparkle and color is my thing, and Christmas at our house incorporates all of those, as I suspect is the case in many homes. I began by taking a ‘tour’ of our Christmas tree and pointing out ornaments that have special meaning. We have ornaments our children and grandchildren have made for us, ornaments we brought back from our travels, and ornaments that just say Christmas to us. We looked at some of my nativities, and I took the opportunity to point out why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, namely the birth of the Christ Child. I emphasized the traditions that many people celebrate around that all important event that Christians everywhere celebrate. I talked about who Santa is in other countries and some of the traditions surrounding the various incarnations of Santa. And I introduced La Befana, the witch who visits children in Italy in early January. I had never heard of her until Charlie was introduced to her while they were living in Italy. Coincidentally, my other three grandchildren met La Befana in Disney World only weeks later at Epcot’s World Showcase. I fell in love with La Befana’s legend.

I read poems called “Christmas Cheer” and “When Santa Stops By.” As has been my habit with many of our episodes, I mentioned that Christmas this year could be very different for all of us, but that family and many of our familiar traditions would still be there for us to enjoy. My concern all along has been the jarring differences in the lives of little ones in the face of the ongoing pandemic (a word I resist using in any of the episodes). I try to reassure them that their lives will go on, their families are there for them, and eventually things will return to some sort of normal.

While it’s important that our kids feel safe in this uncertain world, we adults need to have that as well, at least enough to allow us to celebrate the holiday. I think we’re all so weary at this point that we, in fact, almost feel like we need permission to be happy as we dodge illness, and bob and weave through the minefield that is 2020. I’m giving myself that permission to celebrate and, for what it’s worth, you also need to give yourself that permission. I’ve seen more decorated houses and Christmas lights than I’ve ever seen before, and I think these people have the right idea. We all need to take a breath, power through, and have as merry a Christmas as our circumstances allow. We owe it to our kids, yes, but we owe it to ourselves as well.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Stay safe and healthy, and here’s to a better 2021. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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