Christmas Happenings

I wanted to include a lot of Christmas, Advent and holiday fun in our homeschool this month.  I had the lofty goal of having an activity per day.  Which was a bit harder to accomplish than I’d expected!  Some of our activities have turned into multiple-day ones, like some of our art or cooking projects.  But it has been wonderful to have these neat, seasonal and relational projects to do.  It’s really bringing our hearts and minds in line with the joys of Christmas, and the Savior’s birth!

Here are a few of the things we’ve done over the week.  More to come later!

The Jesse Tree

We made a Jesse Tree last year for the first time, using Darcy James’ Let’s Make a Jesse Tree. 

My favorite Jesse Tree book

Darcy James’ Jesse Tree book

This one has patterns for each of the ornaments shown on the book cover, each of which traces the line of God’s relationship with man and provision of a Savior throughout the whole Bible, starting in Genesis.  Each day has a little description of the ornament (plus directions) as well as Scripture verses to read as you hang the ornament on the tree.  This book uses a banner to place the ornaments on each day, but we like to make an actual tree.  So Jackson and I go out every early December to our favorite neighborhood cottonwood tree, and pick up the sticks it’s deposited on the ground nearby.

My favorite neighborhood tree

My favorite neighborhood tree

Then, we tuck the sticks into a tall vase, set it on the bookcase, and—voila!  A Jesse Tree.

Hedgehog and Jesse Tree

Hedgehog and Jesse Tree

Admittedly, it looks rather paltry at the moment.  But day by day over the month, as we trace the line of the promised Messiah through Scripture, it’ll bulk up!

“Stained Glass” Christmas Tree Art

I happened across Mrs. Brouwer’s “Picasso’s Christmas Trees” on Pinterest last month.  I loved the project (you can find directions here), which utilizes cubism, warm colors and cool colors to make a fabulous Christmas painting.  Although by the time we finished ours, it looked more to me like stained glass than cubism….hence the title!

Early stages....ruler, pencil and card stock

Early stages….ruler, pencil and card stock

First, you draw a large triangle for your Christmas tree.  Next, you draw lines across the paper with your ruler and pencil from every angle and direction.  You’ll end up with lots of triangles and trapezoids.

Warm colors first!

Warm colors first!

Next, grab all your warm colors; yellows, oranges, reds, plus some white for color mixing.  We used tempera and acrylic paints.  Begin to paint in ONLY the shapes outside of the Christmas tree, with warm colors only.  Try not to put the same colors in adjacent shapes…mix it up!  And if you need some extra colors, that’s what the white is for.  Or, remember the days of the 64 Crayola Crayon box?  Red-orange, yellow-orange, and so on?  You get the picture.

Now, the cool colors!

Now, the cool colors!

Once you’ve painted in all the warm colors outside the Christmas tree, it’s time to start with the cool colors for the tree itself.  Use blues, greens, purples and (again) white for mixing.

The finished product!

The finished product!

For the finishing touches, using a thin brush, paint silver (for the Christmas tree) or gold (in the warm color area) over the original pencil lines that defined each triangle or trapezoid.

You’ll end up with a gorgeous, vibrant picture that looks like a stained glass window!

What kinds of fun activities are you doing at your home to prepare for Christmas?

Enjoy!  –Wren




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