Advent and Christmas with Tomie de Paola and Others
Scripture Memory Verse: And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Luke 1: 46-49 Shorten as necessary.
Child will listen to or read The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Lady of Guadalupe and The Night of Las Posadas and narrate.
Read Aloud: A Christmas Carol. (Dickens).
For beginners: May God be as good to you as he was to Juan Diego.
For middles: Juan Diego looked down. His rough cactus-fiber tilma had been changed into a painting of the Lady just as he had last seen her at the foot of Tepeyac.
For the big kids:
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Rabbit Trails for the whole family:
Read about Mexico. Find it on the map and tell about the country today. How is Christmas celebrated there?
Make Holiday Flan:
2 and one half cups milk
one half cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons warmed honey or syrup
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and honey together just to simmering, then add the vanilla.
In a slow, thin stream, beat the milk mixture into the eggs. Our the mixture into a buttered 9” layer cake pan or flan pan. Place in a large, shallow pan or baking dish filled with hot water to a depth of one-half inch. Bake at 325 degrees for thirty-five to forty minutes, or until the center is fairly firm. Glaze with the honey.
Makes six servings
(from Joy to the World by Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Jude Dennis Fournier)
The creche is an important part of The Legend of the Poinsettia. Where did the tradition of the manger scene begin? Read about it in Francis, The Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie dePaola.
Make tissue paper flowers in red, white, and pink, traditional poinsettia colors.
Copy de Paola’s picture of Our Lady of Guadeloupe onto cardstock using magic markers. Send it as a Christmas card.
Using felt, make a large banner of Our Lady like the one in the book.
Have a procession like the one in the book. Gather up some friends to parade with you and have hot chocolate and cookies afterwards.
Make Mexican Hot Chocolate for tea time.
Copy the recipe above and embellish the recipe card for your lapbook.
Make a manger scene using old-fashioned clothespins, doll head beads and felt (all supplies are readily available in craft stores).
Detailed directions with pictures to follow, but you need old fashioned clothespins and doll heads, artificial poinsettias (3 or 4 will probably do), hot glue and glue gun, a little paint or markers in pink and blue, something to use as doll hair, gold cord to use to hang the ornaments, and flesh colored pipe cleaners.
Make rose pound cake.
Make a Juan Diego for your lapbook. Copy the illustration of Jaun Diego twice. Cut the tilma only out of one of the copies. Copy the image of Our Lady.
Cut and glue the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the full copy of Juan Diego. Tape the bottom of the tilma-only copy to the Juan Diego. Stick rose stickers to the inside so that when it falls open, you see roses.
If there is a baby in the house, make a ceremony of letting each child trace a cross on her forehead and say, “May God be as good to you as he was to Juan Diego.”
Make a grotto for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Set up a family shrine.
Make ornaments like the ones pictured on the 4Real Message Boards.
More rabbit trails for older children:
Research Christmas traditions in Mexico. Make a flip book of them for your lapbook.
The story of Our Lady of Guadeloupe is presented as a legend in the book, using another source, read about the Church’s official teaching on Juan Diego. Read about the canonization of Juan Diego.
Our Lady of Guadeloupe is just one of many of Mary’s titles. Make a list of all of them and decorate the list with embellishments.
Carve a nativity set.
More Ideas for Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found at O Night Divine.
Read Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, Matt Tavares (Illustrator). Read every day, slowly, memorizing the poem together. This is the only poetry for the entire month. Break copywork into small chunks. Let children illustrate segments as they memorize.
Science and Nature Study
Don’t forget to get outside for a hike and don’t let it get swept away by the pressure of the season. A brisk walk is a great stress-buster for mom and kids.
Go to a Christmas tree farm and compare the different varieties of trees. Make sketches and label them in nature notebooks.
Read about Christmas plants in Hark! A Christmas Sampler (beginning on page 60). Visit a nursery to see Christmas plants up close. Bring home a poinsettia.
Narrate what you learned about Christmas plants and make a poinsettia covered brad-book for your lapbook. Copy a poinsettia picture from de Paola’s book, laminate it, trace it onto several pages of lined paper. Write narrations on the lined paper and “bind” them behind the laminated illustration with a brad.
Tea Time Read Aloud
Saint’s biography: The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas
Jotham’s Journey (Ytreeide) This is includes a daily reading for every day of Advent and Christmas Day. It is an adventure story that can get intense at times. Preview each selection and paraphrase if you think it necessary. Not a bedtime story.
This post and lots of other items of interest for Catholic parents appeared on my blog, Real Learning.