Our Christmas season traditions mesh an eclectic blend of appreciation for nature and religion. The season begins with a trip to DC Botanical Gardens to visit their holiday exhibit. I kept Kaio out of school for the day. Every year the garden displays new and amazing pieces of plant art, with miniature trains running though the exhibit. The delicate detail put into this exhibit, I imagine they must work on it all year long. This year's theme is a fairy garden, and it tickles your imagine to no end.
Here are Botanical Garden instructions for how to Create Your Own Fairy Garden.
Breathing, conscious, growing, subsisting, dynamic.
The Botanical Gardens had little flyers for how to create your own living ornament; I showed Kaio and then stuffed one in my purse.
At home when we unboxed the Christmas ornaments, I found a clear glass globe, perfect for making a terrarium. As soon as Kaio saw it, he wanted to go outside immediately and grab some dirt. But, it was night and dark. The next morning, before even having breakfast, he ran outside to gather dirt for our little oasis of life.
We decided to add moss and dirt. I thought the moss would grow well in the high humidity glass ball. We have a cute little moss hill in the backyard and so we cut out a chunk for the terrarium.
Well this was really kaio's deal. When he's feeling inspired, there is no getting in his way. He did all this before breakfast on a school day.
The botanical garden instructions suggest using a little funnel to get the dirt in without spilling.
After adding the moss and dirt we also put some sprouting seeds that I had laying around the kitchen, as well as a couple teaspoons of water.
Our tree is right next to a window so it gets lots of light.
In a week it was really thriving. One of the beans had sprouted and was trying to escape. The kids debated whether to open the top for it or not. They decided against that.
Now three weeks later many more of the beans have taken off. Kaio calls it an 'island'
And in most recent developments, life makes an exploratory mission out of its world.
So amazing to me how by nature some plants seek to constantly expand out to further territory, no matter how impossible it seems. And then other plants are content to stay close to where they are planted. I guess this little microcosm is a metaphor for life.
Kaio thinks the bean is coming to tickle us.
The Botanical Gardens instructions recommend planting seeded plants that stay small, like African Violets. I imagine that would be super cool. I"ll probably check out the craft stores for clearance ornaments after Christmas so we can make a bunch next year.
A well, a spring, a stream of creation.
The church within walking distance of our house holds a Living Nativity every year. This has become another Christmas Tradition.
I love it.
Process, rhythmic, breath, birth and rebirth.
Then there's our winter solstice tradition that we've been participating in with HMN Nova moms for the last three years. The kids walk a spiral garden of greens with a beeswax candle, light the candle and follow the spiral out, lighting a votive along the way.
This year some of us made releasing bundles to burn in the fire, releasing what is old and welcoming the new. Nala saw me making them and grabbed some fabric to make her own. We wrapped up dried sage with notes and tied them shut with patchouli vines. Nala couldn't think of anything that she wanted to release - I guess at four years old you don't have many issues to shed yet. So she asked me to write things she wants more of "beauty rainbows" lol.
When we were done she refused to consider burning it!
Fluid, lively, spirited, energetic.
One last "Living" thing (and this is the first year I'm doing this). Elf on a Shelf. I had no idea what that was because my parents never had an elf. But I learned about it this year and picked up some 'elves' from our trip to Iceland (which I'll write about someday). When we got home I told the kids that I brought some of Santa's helpers back from Iceland. They fly to a new spot in the house every night. I'm having just as much fun with this as the kids are.
Kaio showed the elves his letter to Santa.
Silly elves, what are you doing up there?
Here are traditions from previous years:
'11 Pretty Holiday Magic - more pictures from the botanical garden last year
'10 Santa Claus Magic - Why I believe in Santa Claus!
'09 Holidays in Our Style - Our first family Christmas Tree