November is the beginning of the season of light – Martinmas gives us a beautiful opportunity to think about how to spread light into our communities in a world of darkness.
I love November in all its crisp -leaved, golden sunset, chill temperatures perfection. The leaves are FINALLY turning here where I live, and it feels like the beauty and coziness of fall is upon us at last.
This is a wonderful month of celebrations for our family (yes, even now that our children are 20, almost 17, and 12!)
- November 1 and 2 – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day
- November 8– Election Day
- November 11 – Martinmas (and there are many other posts about Martinmas if you use the search engine box!) It’s also Veteran’s Day, which we celebrate every day with my husband and father in law who are veterans.
- November 20- My handsome husband’s birthday!
- November 24- Thanksgiving
- November 27- First Sunday in Advent
- November 30- The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle
Learning and celebrating:
- Learn songs for a Martinmas Lantern Walk – you don’t need a lot of people to do a Lantern Walk! I have done Lantern Walks with just one other family and I have done Lantern Walks with over a hundred people! You an also check your local churches – if you live in an area with a German population, there may be a church holding a celebration of this day. I went to a Lantern Walk one year at a German church and they had St. Martin on his white horse and everything!
- Use transparency paper to make window silhouettes and transparency cut-outs and lanterns.
- Bake bread on the cold days
- Look for bird’s nests as the trees lose their leaves; make feeders start to be filled all the time, make treats for the birds
- Dip leaves in glycerin or beeswax and preserve them
- Cook things with cranberries, corn, and pumpkin.
- Try the book Cranberry Thanksgiving and make cranberry bread!
- Learn some Thanksgiving songs and practice so you can play them after Thanksgiving Dinner!
- Find a place to volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner
- Make Thanksgiving Baskets and leaving them on your neighbor’s doorstep!
- Gather greens and natural items to use for an Advent Wreath. We do this at church from the areas surrounding the church and it is quite lovely!
- Find books, cozy blankets and pillows, and mark off half days for just reading and lounging around. Pull out candles, homemade Martinmas lanterns, salt lamps and scatter them around. Cuddle up and read with some fabulous tea or hot chocolate.
- Find handwork projects that you will love and get started.
- Order some woolens for your family members; my favorite place to get them is Green Mountain Organics
- You probably already have found your hats, mittens and gloves and coats, but we are a little slower down here with cold temperatures coming later so I just did that this week!
For littles especially:
- Try the work of Suzanne Down in her book “Autumn Tales”
- Quick ideas for homeschooling Waldorf Kindergarten in fall
- Favorite fall tales for kindergarten
- Fall Stories for Puppets -make some puppets!
- Showing your children examples of gratitude – there are cute ideas out there, like write on a pumpkin every day what you are grateful for and display it at Thanksgiving, but I think no matter how you model it, small children will soak it up!
For the older children:
- Get them involved in your autumn traditions – baking, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the birds outside, hiking, star watching, volunteering.
- Think of traditions of gratitude and light. Some teens may no longer love a lantern walk (although I still love it and I am an adult), but some teens might go for a big bonfire with friends on Martinmas.
- Some thoughts: Cultivating Gratitude in Children
- How do we help older children internalize the spirit of helping the most needy, the most destitute, the most poor? That is the work for this age.
- Well, we are coming up to the holiday season, so here are few things to ponder:
- Guest post on starting new traditions
- Set ideas and expectations for holiday gift-giving – see Making Holiday Gifts and Holiday Gifts for Children
- https://theparentingpassageway.com/2020/11/29/glorious-first-week-of-advent/ – This is the Advent post for last year, but I have so many back posts so there are YEARS worth of Advent ideas! Most importantly is to fill our own inner work for Advent so we can carry that light for our children into this season.
Other Ideas for this month:
- Get a small jump on gifts for the holidays. Here is my Pinterest Board of holiday gifts to make
- Make sure you are still getting your Vitamin N and get out in nature!
- Dream a little about the next school year in homeschooling
- I always choose a word to encompass my year – this year, my word for 2023 has arrived early. It is the word BOLD, and I have some bigger projects planned after some more busy but more fallow years here in this space. More about that later!
Many blessings and peace to you and your family,