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Summer Challenge – Simple Celebrations

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    And why not? A celebration is a gathering of people to mark an event, so whatever you celebrate at this time of year – make it simple. You don’t need to spend loads of money or have a tale groaning with food or a tree stacked with gifts – less is more, so let’s get brainstorming for the simplest celebration ideas!

    My family celebrate Christmas and New Year and we do it in a relatively simple style – a few decorations which are recycled each year, a shared lunch (usually salad with fresh baked bread and some kind of fish or ham), some Christmas food that is traditional for us, a few gifts exchanged and lots of time together. We play cricket, we swim, we lounge about catching up on events, and we share the most valuable gift of each other. Last year we had a ‘handmade gifts only’ rule and this year we have a ‘Secret Santa’, a draw so that we only need buy (or make) one gift.

    To make our celebrations more simple, this year I vow to use only cloth napkins, cloth wrapping for gifts and to have more vegetarian on the menu. We also will buy less food but of better quality (organic, local, etc). Most of the food we prepare now is done with the minimum of packaging and much of it from the garden. We also donate some gifts to a local charity to ensure that everyone can have a nice Christmas.

    How do you celebrate? Can you make it more simple? What’s your promise for a simpler summer?

    Here are some links to get you thinking:

    You’ll have until the end of January for this one – I know lots of people will be going on holiday or just generally spending less time at the computer. But keep us posted – your ideas are valuable!

    Merry Christmas to you all and have a great celebration – whatever form it takes!


    We bought donations through Tear Australia for most of our friends and family. I’ve made cassata (Italian icecream) as extra gifts.

    The tree is growing in the garden (been there for 15 years or so)

    Always use the same decorations each year.

    The kids are getting bath tub veggie gardens (with seeds, tools etc)

    Food is always simply done, because it’s always too hot to cook anything 😆

    We don’t go out any where, just loll around and relax. I’m sure there will be a swim 😉

    We’re too tight to make Christmas a huge affair 😉

    It is always full of love and relaxation here 😀 :clap:


    Well, we’re not having a Christmas gathering here this year. DH is working, so I’ll be visiting my sister, her new baby, and her hubby’s family at her place for the year. Hopefully I’ll be taking along some watermelons (if they grow big enough in time!), some fresh chicken eggs, some yummy homecooked goodies, and some homemade pressents.

    Plan to try to make nearly all of our presents this year. I have a waldorf doll planned for DD (if I get it done in time), and maybe a magnetic fishing game (she’s obsessed with fishing right now). Pressies for the grandparents (DH’s parents, mine live to far away and don’t bother with Christmas anyway) will be homemade, I’m thinking of drawing some pictures on fabric with DD, and turning them into bags or cushions. For the new baby, probably a little cuddle doll, or maybe a swing if I get adventurous, and I’m thinking maybe quillows for my sister and her hubby, if I don’t come up with something better between now and when I make them. Hubby might be lucky enough to get a new bag for work, and a cold bag for taking his lunch to work. Only trouble is, no idea what I want! 🙂

    I plan on finding lots of time over the next month to work on making christmas decorations with DD, reading our favourite Christmas novels, singing Christmas carols, and eating lots of delicious summer fruit! I’m so looking forward to this next month!


    Hey, Rinelle – a magnetic fishing game is a great idea. My son loves those and was given a cheap, made in china one last year which broke in two seconds. I think I will take a look around here for materials.

    We are putting up our decorations this afternoon – a nice family activity which will finish with a beer on the back deck. Easy for us as we don’t have many.

    Jaymie, I reckon there would be fish on the menu at your place? And beer too, hey?


    probably 😉 on both counts 😀


    Righto, anyone in this challenge? Or are we all too busy gearing up for Christmas?


    Yep…I’m in! We celebrate advent with a beautiful homemade wreath (which has been made extra special this year as DD6yrs has bought home 4 beautiful red candles, complete with bread dough wreath which she made at kindy.

    Advent kicks off for us with the lighting of the first candle…where we celebrate the mineral kingdom

    Each night for this first week a story is told relating to Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem… And each night before the story the kids will bring a rock, a shell, a crystal etc to the wreath. After the story, the candle is blown out, thanks are given, and then the kids go and move physically Mary and Joseph (hand made stand-up waldorf dolls) and the donkey along their journey through the house starting at one end and ending up in the manger. (This year they’re taking the ‘high’ road to Bethlehem as DS20mth likes to pick up the dolls and dump them in the kitchen sink:lol:

    “The first light of advent, it is the light of stones

    Stones that live in crystals, seashells and bones”

    Then each night, the first candle is lit, a story is told, Mary and Joseph are moved on their way and so on… til the second light of advent (which was tonight)

    “The second light of advent, it is the light of plants,

    Plants that reach up to the sun, and in the breezes dance.”

    Flowers, plants etc are placed around the second candle on the wreath. Each night sees more stories, more moving Mary and Joseph and the donkey along on their journey etc etc you get my drift.

    “The third light of advent, it is the light of beasts

    The light of hope that we may see in greatest and in least”

    Hand knitted animals are placed about the third candle and for this week stories told about the donkey, about Rhemus the ox etc and other animals in the Christmas story.

    We also slowly create the nativity scene…in conjunction with the different kingdoms each advent ‘light’ is celebrating … I have hand-made all the nativity figures so that they are not just for looking at, but are robust enough to be interacted and played with.

    Eg in this first week DD has created a path to the manger with stones.

    In the second week (the plant kingdom), she will put some straw in the stable and collect bark to make the walls of the stable.

    The third week is the light of beasts, so hand knitted or felted stable animals are added.

    And the fourth light of advent celebrates the kingdom of humankind…This is symbolised by the arrival of the shepards in Bethlehem…and of course Joseph and Mary triumphantly arrive at their destination after travelling throughout the house for the whole of advent.

    “The fourth light of advent, it is the light of humankind,

    The light of love, the light of thought, to give and to understand.”

    This is such a beautiful way to celebrate with young children and make them understand that it is Christmas… not Consumer-mass

    It creates a reverance for the festival of Christmas…and by acting the story out with the children, and with them creating the scene…the understanding of the meaning of Christmas goes far deeper than any words can.

    We also have great fun making small hand-made gifts…this year it’s soap, knitted dishcloths, and an array of culinary delights, such as chutneys, spice blends, biscuits, rum-balls, oven dried heirloom cherry toms in olive oil and herbs… etc etc etc.

    Sorry for the waffle… I do love Christmas. And the joy hubby, kids and I get from making these gifts and giving them with love, more than makes up for the lack of enthusiasm our extended family show in receiving them!

    We also hand make at least one of the presents that each child recieves. This year i’m felting seahorses, fish, starfish etc for a magnetic fishing game for DS20mth. And am making a little ‘royal’ family…King, Queen and prince and princess for DD6yr. And hubby is making the kids a cubby house.

    OK…I’ll stop now 😆 Except to say that I’m also pretty stoked that we have a big massive organic ham on order from the local farmer’s mkt and am well looking forward to glazing that!!

    Merry Christmas everyone :hug::hug:

    I hope your celebrations are filled with meaning, love, joy, hope and peace!


    That is a lovely advent, Erthgirl! I haven’t heard it either. We have an advent calendar with little pockets that my MIL made for my son. We enjoy finding the ‘surprise’ inside the pocket each day. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just some little object to look at.

    Another friend has a family tradition to play a board game at Christmas, instead of gift giving. They collect little knick-knacks through the year – little soaps, samples of products, stickers, trinkets and the like. They have a spiral shaped board with spaces to place each object. There are also spaces in between to land your counter on. A major prize (like a block of chocolate) is placed in the centre. You roll a die and travel from the outside of the spiral towards the inside. If you land exactly on a space with an object you get to keep it. When you get to the centre, you have to roll a six to get the major prize. It keeps them amused for ages…


    Thanks E and Suz…

    The ideas behind our celebration originate from the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner (Anthroposophy.) Picked up different ideas etc from playgroup and kindy etc Most Steiner schools celebrate advent with the above verse… and it can be made as simple or as elaborate as you like :tup:

    The board game sounds like a great idea Suz…

    And E, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo of your Christmasy piggy :hug:


    I love some of these ideas! The board game one is great, as is the avent calendars. Just a question, for those using the pocket type ones, do you put all the surprises in in the beginning, or just before each day? I suspect if I put them all in at the beginning, they wouldn’t be surprises for long!


    Mine has all the surprises in it already, Rinelle, but it is up high enough that a certain small person can’t see inside. Putting them in each day is also a good idea.

    Today I gave a gift of homemade chutney and jam with some homemade soap. Very simple for me, but greatly appreciated by the recipient.


    Well, I know what tomorrow’s craft project will be now… 😀


    we are having a very quiet xmas day as we do not see anyone till boxing day which is family tradition to open handmade gifts (any bought gifts are given to charity),just cold lunch with heaps of homemade goodies

    i made joesph last year a fishing game where i made knitted fish in various sizes and crochet squid to which i added magnets then i used a box lined with a blanket,added shells and pebbles to the base,i used a piece of old fishing rod added a magnet to it,and wella hours of fun


    That’s sounds nice, luvin..

    I have been making lacto-ferments this week to add to the Christmas table – a chutney, sauerkraut and a mixture of both with some garlic. They are lovely chilled as a side dish.


    ohhhh that sounds so yummy suz

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