Over the past months my family and I have been excited about rediscovering activities and hobbies that we had taken for granted prior to the pandemic. The spring and summer months were wonderful for expanding our interest in nature, as we went camping and hiking. We gardened and delighted in the fun of the cycle of growing and harvesting our vegetables and flowers. We watched more movies together. We got involved in our community with support for the local food pantry. We enjoyed Zoom Sunday School and VBS, online church services and outdoor fellowship activities. In fact, our summer was a nice change with these new interests, ministries, and outdoor adventures.
But the cold weather has come and the pandemic is not easing. We are looking toward the holidays and thinking about how many things will be different this year without travel and visits to family and friends. If I am completely honest, I am worried about how we will cultivate patience and creativity in the middle of all the unknowns. I am looking for new inspirations for my family and for the children I work with in my congregation.
One of my favorite parts of being cozy inside is making crafts for decoration and gifts. I love looking through piles of supplies and junk at our house and thinking of ways to repurpose it into something fun or beautiful. I am not a very good seamstress, but I have great skill with a glue gun. From paper folding and cutting to creating cards and décor to repurposing old items with decoupage, a little imagination can lead to hours of fun for kids and parents alike.
My girls are always interested in origami. We have papers all over the house that are perfect for folding. Whether it is old magazines, junk mail, or specialized paper, folding and cutting paper are always fun activities for my family. Our paper crafts have expanded in the past few years to include pop-up cards. They are not nearly as hard as they seem and there are great instructional videos online. Making creative paper arts for Thanksgiving or Advent is a wonderful way to spend a cozy afternoon.
I am excited to read more as a family, too. I used to love to read the Little House on the Prairie books as a child and especially enjoyed when Pa would read to the family at night. When our kids were younger, we often read from the Spark Story Bible. The pictures are so wonderful! Our children are spread out in age but they enjoy playing charades together and sometimes we play a game where all the clues are stories from the Bible. Noah’s ark and Daniel and the lion’s den are popular with our youngest daughter, who loves to bring out props of stuffed animals to help her create the scene.
I imagine that the Christmas cards we send this year will be valued even more than usual. I look forward to personal mail the most these days. We love to send out cards with a family picture and a brief greeting. It feels this year that we should take the time to write a bit more, share our ups and downs and connect with our friends and family that we may not see in person. I cannot wait to pull out all the fun pens and markers, stickers, and rubber stamps in our house and doodle away on cards for aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, long-time friends and new neighbors.
Life right now is a more cloistered life than many of us have ever lived. There are wonderful ways to be intentional with our time through crafting, reading, and writing. Let us pray that all families and children are safe and healthy in this time.