What do you think of when you smell cookies baking in the oven? Or walk through the doors of a building and the earthy vibrance of spruce scented air fills the room?
Home. Grandma’s house. Christmas time with laughter and love abounding in the kitchen. A time of joy, simplicity, and a wistfulness to have it all back even if just for a moment.
At least that’s what happens to me.
You see, traditions are the foundation of memories. They are the cords that bind one generation to the next. The lifeline of heritage, history, and family are all bound together by the traditions that carry our memory back and promise us a future of being remembered.
Today I want to share with you ways to create holiday traditions in your homeschool.
But first, I’d love to share the amazing giveaway we have at the bottom of this post! One family is going to be blessed with an incredible homeschool bundle valued at over $1400! So be sure to enter at the bottom of this post.
Holidays have become a time of rushing, over scheduling, and sometimes crankiness for us mamas due to the stress of Pinterest, parties, and the incessant pursuit of perfection instead of peace. (I may have a soapbox speech about that, but for another post)
I invite you to take a different approach. Let us make this a season of expectation. A month filled with delight. Dare I say it? Perhaps even a season we look forward to with joy!
Happiness is overrated. Because happiness is circumstantial. I might be happy for a few minutes when I get my morning coffee, but it doesn’t make me joyful, just a little more awake and human-like.
Joy, on the other hand, is relational. Knowing my children are walking in the Truth with our precious Savior brings me joy. Having a relationship with Messiah brings me unshakable joy. Having a good relationship with my children (not perfect, just grace-filled) brings me joy.
Joy is a state of the heart. Happiness is a state of the moment.
All that boils down to this – if you focus on your relationships by building traditions that pour into your family, you will have some amazing holiday memories. You will have traditions your children will share some day with your grandchildren.
If you focus on making your kids happy all the time, you’re going to have very difficult seasons ahead. And frankly, so will they.
Let’s help each other make wonderful holiday traditions the basis of our homeschools!
Some ideas to get you going on your own holiday homeschool traditions:
Keep your schooling light. We use A Gentle Advent studies as our homeschool curriculum every December. Turning back the dial to enjoy the season together has made a remarkable difference in our home.
Perhaps you have an Advent study or Christmas book/unit study that your family loves. Consider making that your “school” for the month and letting everything else go. My boys love when we bring out our Advent wreath because that signals “winter break” for them. We also celebrate with an appetizer dinner, a la The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson.
Family service projects. We have a tradition of ringing bells for the Salvation Army and participating in our Angel Tree at church. As the boys get older, we are exploring new options like soup kitchens, homeless ministries, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and helping them recognize opportunities. We also try to always do one service project on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th, each year to remember the missionary who became Santa.
If your kids enjoy random acts of kindness, or you’d like to encourage them to do more, this Christmas Kindness Planner from our friend Penny is wonderful to add to your holiday traditions!
And the kitchen traditions, of course! The holidays are a natural time to incorporate baking (hello, yummy math!), cooking (because you shouldn’t cook holiday meals alone), and the beloved tea times that make gathering with friends of your kids and mama friends of your own so wonderful and life-giving.
We’ve included a fun recipe and poetry printable below to help you get started. Some of our favorite tea times happen with spiced cider, hot cocoa, or even lemonade if it’s really warm in Georgia so be creative and add in these wonderful traditions for your family.
The Best Gingerbread Cookies Ever for Poetry Tea Time
To get your family started on some fun holiday homeschool traditions of your own, we’re sharing a wonderful cut-out chocolate sugar cookie recipe for your family to enjoy! We happen to like them in the shape of gingerbread, and the boys prefer the cocoa to actual gingerbread, too 😉 Serve them with hot cocoa for the best flavor.
For the cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla.
- Slowly add flour mixture and beat just until combined.
- Remove dough from bowl to waxed paper or plastic wrap. Shape into a square, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut using cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until edges are set. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Cool completely before decorating as desired.
Here’s a wonderful poem to use for your holiday poetry tea time! We love the story of Good King Wenceslas, don’t you?
Get a printable version of our cookie recipe and the poem Good King Wenceslas below.
Good King Wenceslas by John Mason Neale
A Christmas Giveaway Wednesday to Top Them All!
This Christmas season, we wanted to do something to thank you for being part of our community here at Everyday Graces. We are so humbled to be allowed to share in your homeschool journey!
As our way of saying thank you, we have partnered with several homeschool blogger friends to offer an incredible giveaway worth over $1400!*
That’s right – over $1400 worth of homeschool resources and other goodies! We’re working with some of the top homeschool companies around. All you have to do is enter below!
Because we want to be a blessing to all of our readers, everyone who enters will receive a digital swag bag full of discounts and resources from several of your favorite homeschool blogs. Enjoy!
It is your responsibility to read the terms and conditions upon entering. Entering the giveaway signs you up for the following newsletters: In All You Do, Life Beyond the Lesson Plan, Heart and Soul Homeschooling, Homeschool on the Range, Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland, Yellow House Book Rental, My Joy-Filled Life, Clarissa R. West, The Multi-Taskin’ Mom, Faith & Good Works, The Fervent Mama, Simple Living Creative Learning, Peace Creek on the Prairie, Brookdale House, The Art Kit, Making Room 4 One More, Sound Foundation Homeschool, Beyond the Stick Figure, Many Seasons of Motherhood, Everyday Graces Homeschool, Apologia, All About Learning Press, Sonlight, Media Angels, The Adventurous Mailbox, Homeschooling1Child, BJ’s Homeschool, Truthquest History, ChalkPastel.com, Abby Banks, and iWrite Bible.
Enter in the form below! Each entry increases your odds of winning, and you’re sure to find some new bloggers and companies to follow!
*The amazing prize package that’s going to bless one homeschool family includes the following items:
Everyday Graces Homeschool – The Homeschool Garden Morning Time membership worth $222
Apologia – What We Believe Series, worth $125
All About Learning Press – Gift Card for $100
Sonlight – Book package including the following titles: A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi, The Light at Tern Rock, The Family Under the Bridge, The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Year Down Yonder. Package is worth $75.93.
Grapevine Bible Studies – Old Testament Master Teacher Book & Zondervan Compact Bible Dictionary, worth $76
Peace Creek Crafts ‘N Designs – $30 eGift Card
MT Designs Boutique – $30 Gift Card
Media Angels, Inc. – Creation Bundle, worth $69
The Adventurous Mailbox – Premium Digital Package, worth $64
Homeschooling1Child.com – Homeschooling1Child Encouragement Basket, worth $50. In addition, three people will be chosen at random to receive physical, signed copies of all three of Terrie McKee’s books.
BJ’s Homeschool – Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd edition & Gift card to Barnes and Noble worth $18
TruthQuest History – American History for Young Students III (1865-2000), worth $30
A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks – Choice of Products from Store, worth $50
The Wolfe Pack – Holiday Fact and Fun Packs Bundle, worth $46
ChalkPastel.com – You ARE an Artist Clubhouse annual membership, worth $200
The Fervent Mama – Handwriting Curriculum
Abby Banks – Podcast Launch for Teens, worth $57
Yellow House Book Rental – three Life of Fred Elementary of Intermediate Series math books (5-month rental)
Beyond the Stick Figure – Intro to Drawing Course, worth $45
Sound Foundations Homeschool – Happy Homeschool Secrets, worth $37
The Art Kit – 5 Printables worth $30
In All You Do – Northern European Geography study. worth $40
The Multi Taskin Mom – $30 Shop Credit
iWrite Bible – Old Testament Scripture Writing Devotional, worth $30
In addition, all entrants will receive a Digital Swag Bag at the end of the Giveaway that includes:
Peace Creek on the Prairie – 35% off coupon
All About Learning Press – FREE downloadable reading and spelling activity pack
The Fervent Mama – 30% off coupon
4 One More – 30% off Podcast Launch for Teens
The Art Kit – 30% off coupon
Life Beyond the Lesson Plan – 30% off coupon
Everyday Graces Homeschool – 10% off coupon
Beyond the Stick Figure – 25% off coupon
In All You Do – 30% off coupon
We hope this giveaway is a blessing to you!