The first hard frosts have arrived and the recent winds have buffeted most of the leaves off the trees. We recently cleared away our Autumn decorations and yesterday we had a little celebration to welcome Winter for Frankie-Rose. This has become a lovely way to welcome each season for our family and has helped Frankie feel excited about what's ahead.
The things we give her are either things she already owns (her winter books which have been away since last year) or things she needs (new waterproofs and a hat for kindergarten, and some new pyjamas via eBay) but by wrapping them in (the same!) piece of ribbon each season, or a piece of fabric, it makes them more magical for her. This season, we were also sent a hand dyed play silk by As Petals Fall which Frankie absolutely loves. She doesn't play with that many toys, and never has, but play silks are one of the things she plays with a lot; as a blanket or picnic mat for her babies, a cape, or a dress. She has already been a winter princess and has used it as a floor mat too!
Here are 5 ideas to help you to celebrate and welcome winter in your family:
1) Read winter books.
Reading is still one of our most precious activities together. I realised recently that we had fallen out of our day time routine of reading after kindy so a new stack of books has helped us to get back into it again. Use the change in season as an excuse to sort through the books, discard unloved or annoying ones (you know the ones I mean!), put away any non-seasonal books, and display the winter books instead. Aided by our books, we refer to Jack Frost, Father Christmas and the winter fairies a lot.
2) Wrap up things they need.
If your child needs new winter things, then make it into a little 'welcoming winter' celebration and wrap them in a bit of fabric or piece of cotton and ribbon. Wrap up some winter books in the same way. We now have a lovely pile of winter books which I add too through the year when I see a bargain. There is a risk that for some kids, wrapping things they need could encourage a culture of expecting presents all the time, so judge it for your family. We tend not to buy her toys or magazines etc so giving her practical presents like this works for us.
3) Make a winter list.
We write a list of all the things we want to do in each season, decorate it, and try to complete it. This list is on display all season as a reminder. We keep the activities quite simple; eg, 'look for fire fairies', 'bake gingerbread' and 'wear a hat' are on there this year! This is probably the thing which has the biggest impact on our family. Frankie refers to it a lot and it helps us all to be excited about the celebrations and traditions each season holds. We talk about any upcoming visits or adventures, as well as celebrations like the Solstice.
4) Light a candle at every meal.
We have a a candle on the table all year round, but in winter it feels even more magical and necessary to light it first thing. I take 10 seconds to do this even on mornings when the table is full of mess and Frankie is eating at the table alone because i'm rushing around making her lunch and scoffing breakfast in the kitchen at the same time. It seems to really calm her too.
5) Go outside.
Obvious I know, but Frankie is a pretty high energy kid. Going outside is STILL the answer when she is wild or things are getting disconnected or shouty at home (that- and having a bath together. Two sure ways to reconnect with each other and do something we both love). Our best conversations happen when we are walking together somewhere (anywhere) and although she is in a phase of being reluctant to go to the beach or woods, we still make time to do something outside, most days. Below is a little video of a walk to the post office this week wearing her new waterproofs and hat! We still do a lot of 'treasure' collecting too, which she gets really excited about still (man, I am holding onto these days for I know they are numbered!)
How about you? How are you, or your kids if you have them, feeling about winter? Do you have any plans to celebrate it in your family?