Mary L. suggested a woven heart-shaped pocket that can be constructed using two contrasting colors of paper or fabric such as felt. A handle can be added at the top to convert the pocket into a basket for gift-giving. This is a great Valentine’s Day or Marian activity.
Peggy Gh. displayed a Christmas ornament or decoration that is made from a styrofoam ball and fabric. Various pieces of fabric are cut into miscellaneous sizes and shapes. The edges are then pressed 1/4 inch into the styrofoam ball using the end of a butter knife. The pressure of the styrofoam holds the fabric in place so no glue is needed. Tassels and other ornamentation can then be added. A loop of decorative cording can be added at the top of the ball for hanging.
Carol T. shared a Dover Book on the Twelve Days of Christmas with the group. The book is full of beautiful stained-glass like pictures displaying the Twelve Days of Christmas on a thick semi-transparent paper. Children or adults (because it did look like fun!) can color, paint or use markers to fill in the pictures which can then be hung in the windows of your home. She recommended another book to complement the Dover Book called The Real Twelve Days by Haidle which explains the origins and meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Carol also shared a book published by Catholic Heritage Curricula called A Wreath of Flowers that contains many craft ideas focusing on Our Lady. It would be ideal for use during the month of May.
Donna Bisogno shared several of the traditions that her family uses to help keep the focus of the holidays on Christ and the Church rather than Santa:
* St. Lucia's Feast Day – She chooses one of her daughters to wake other family members by going from room to room dressed as St. Lucia and carrying a tray with danishes and candles. (They choose to have their daughter carry candles on the tray rather than wear them on a wreath around her head as St. Lucia did). When all are awake they gather in the living room to eat the danishes and enjoy warm drinks together.
* St. Nicholas’ Feast Day – The children put their shoes out by the front door (or fireplace). St. Nicholas fills the shoes with little treats and nutritious snacks while they are sleeping.
* Manger - Family members place a piece of raffia (makes less mess than hay) in an empty manger under the Christmas tree each time they do a good deed, make a sacrifice, or give some other gift to Jesus during Advent. When Jesus is laid in the manger on Christmas Eve, he has a soft full bed of "hay" on which to lie.
Another option - each time a family member gives a gift to Jesus, they write it down on a small hay colored slip of paper and place it in the manger.
The Ghigleri family celebrates Epiphany by processing through the house singing "We Three Kings". The children carry the three wise men, and gold coins, frankincense and myrrh (all purchased at Vercillos) to place in the family manger scene. Other than the Christmas tree and manger lights, the lights in the house are turned off and the adults carry candles.
St. Joseph Novena