I have lots of fun news for you today! It must be because it’s my favourite season of the year.
Rather than heading into the season filled with dread or already feeling overwhelmed, let’s add some calm back into your festive days.
From the classroom
Here in the Netherlands, the Dutch celebrate Sint on 5 December. It’s very traditional at this time of year to eat pepernoten – very small cookies with a lovely spice mix including lots of cinnamon.
I love making these in class with the children – it is so therapeutic rolling marble sized balls of dough and love the smell of the speculaas spices cooking in the classroom. Makes me get in the mood for the season.
For those of you that would like to give it a try, here is my favourite no-fail recipe I’ve been using for years I originally found on the Babyccinokids blog (now closed).
- 150 g (2/3 cup) butter
- 135 g (3/4 cup) brown sugar
- 10 g (2 teaspoons) ’speculaas spices’ (if you can’t buy them ready-made see recipe below)
- 250 g (1 1/4 cup) self raising flour
- a pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 160 °C (320 °F). Cut cold butter in little chunks and knead through sugar, speculaas spices, salt and self raising flour. Add the milk bit by bit until the dough is smooth and supple. Start making little balls (a bit smaller than a marble). Your kids can help with this: if you give them little pieces of the dough, they will love making the little balls! Line the little balls up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten them slightly with your thumb (I make two batches). Bake for about 15 minutes until light brown.
This is a fun photo I took a few years ago on the day of Sinterklaas’ arrival in the Netherlands. I like to call it “Traces of Sinterklaas”.
An Advent calendar with a twist
I have two fun advent calendars for adults:
1. The advent of calm – short 1 minute videos with a tip a day to help keep us calm
2. 24 of my favourite tips for being a Montessori family here.
Preparing for the holidays Montessori-style
Here are some articles I’ve written to get you inspired for a simple but meaningful Montessori-style holiday season.
1. Creating holiday rituals with your children
“Rituals are a large part of human history. They have to do with your culture, your time and place in history. So let’s take a look at creating rituals in our families, specifically towards the end of the year, the festive season.
I don’t know about you but I’m keen to show my family that the festive season is not just a commercial holiday. But one for being close with our family. To show each other we care. To show appreciation. And to make memories together.”
Read the rest of the article here.
2. A few present ideas Montessori-style for your kids
I wrote a gift guide for Montessori kids a few years ago with just my top picks for kids for each age group. I would still recommend these toys so pop over here to get some fun ideas for your kids:
- Montessori Gift Guide, Part 1 of 4 – Babies
- Montessori Gift Guide, Part 2 of 4 – 1 to 2 year olds
- Montessori Gift Guide, Part 3 of 4 – 2 to 3 year olds
- Montessori Gift Guide, Part 4 or 4 – Preschoolers
3. Keep the Family Sane this Holiday Season
Also just published for Baan Dek’s Primary community is this article I wrote about keeping the family sane over the holidays. See a common theme? I’m definitely wanting to spread lots of zen and connection this season!
Phew. I told you I had a lot to share today. I hope you are inspired to get festive with your family.