Here are some fun things kids can do to participate in the holidays.
Kids will enjoy choosing fun-looking squash.
Seasons & Holidays Sharing Celebrations With Children
By Connie Goldin, MA, MFT
I owe so much to my mom, and her mother, my grandma. Both of them understood that kids need to be at the center of holidays and celebrations. As a child, the kids in my family were welcomed to join in the preparations and the events. I always thought that our Christmas trees were gorgeous, and the kids always had a part in the decorating. In fact, that was part of the special evening that meant Christmas had really arrived.
Thanksgiving was about family. I don’t remember a “Child’s Table.” Grown-ups and children all were invited to the special feast table. I love looking at beautiful cookbooks and decorating magazines, and somehow, my mom always makes a table look just as spectacular as a photo in a wonderful magazine. I can still see my grandma’s small, chubby hands pinching a flower off a bush or stalk to look at and enjoy. It taught me that a single flower or leaf is beautiful and can stand alone as a decoration.
Since I began hosting Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations years ago, I carried what I had learned from my mother and grandma. I knew to use the fruits and vegetables of the season as decorations. I invited my kids to join in the decorating. I knew it was special to use all of the best china and silver given to us by family, even if the glasses or dishes had chips or blemishes from age. My favorite water goblets are close to one hundred years old and come from both sides of the family. They certainly don’t match and are dinged from almost a century of use. They make the table look beautiful. It is a joy to know that my grandma and mom had sipped from these glasses while my mother was a child; and that half of the goblets have been used by my husband’s family for three generations.
Holidays and family celebrations are meaningful punctuation for the yearly cycle of our lives. I enjoy thinking about Thanksgiving around this time each year. I love seeing seasonal fruits and vegetables fill the stores. I start to think about all the traditional dishes I’ll serve, and who will bring their own special dish to the feast. My preference for decorating is to use simple, natural objects that are evocative of the season. If you have young children, they can participate in the celebrations with their own contributions by collecting leaves and interesting branches, setting apples and pears on the table, creating place cards, and adding flowers to a homemade bouquet. The beauty of a holiday meal is to invite everyone to participate and contribute; to let go of stress and the desire for perfection; to appreciate the gifts of others; and to be grateful for the opportunity to share another lovely feast with family and friends.
Here are some ways kids can participate in the holiday preparations:
Set pumpkins by the front door.
Create an edible centerpiece with seasonal fruits.
Wash and arrange a dessert platter of colorful pears. Make sure kids smell the heavenly fragrance!
Help build a natural wreath for the table with cuttings from the garden.
Adorn the wreath with flowers.
Add fruits or colorful vegetables to the table wreath.
Help collect flowers for a homemade bouquet.
Make a centerpiece with herbs from the nursery.
Set beautiful apples on the table as decorations.
Wash, dry, and arrange squash on a plate or tray.
Fill bowls with unshelled nuts. Kids can learn how to crack them.
Holiday meals and celebrations are a way to share and perpetuate culture, family history, values, and manners for a new generation of your family. Mom to Madre hopes that you and your family enjoy all of the upcoming holidays and that wonderful memories are built for your children.
For Connie’s Table:
Two families and three generations have used these glasses for celebrations.
One teacup and saucer from Grandma Bertha will hold cranberry sauce.
This very old plate from Grandma Millicent will hold pats of butter on the table.
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