Category Archives: Maryland

Ideas for At-Home Celebrations of Light in Dark Times, from the Washington Waldorf School

[Note:  This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School]

 

At this time of year, when the daylight hours are diminishing, there are many ways to celebrate light shining out in the darkness. This year in particular, our need to connect to our own inner light and that of our fellow creatures is palpable. As the days get shorter, we might also feel more restless as we hunker down at home. Participating in some type of festival can bring some balance, calm, and hope. Perhaps you have a traditional way of celebrating — maybe your family observed Diwali recently, you are steeped in Advent, or your family is preparing for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or Kwanzaa. Perhaps you don’t have a tradition to guide your celebrations, but the idea of taking time to contemplate light shining out in dark times appeals to you. 

At Waldorf schools, we do not teach any specific religion, but we honor the spiritual life and make space for our community to explore the grand themes of the human search for connection and purpose as well as the work of making our world a better place for all. In particular, we have a few ways that we celebrate light in dark times. Here, we share them with you in the hope that you may find something useful to help your family create new traditions, or enhance existing customs, as you find sparks of joy in these times and feel the glow of a hopeful heart.

 

Lantern Walk

This festival is held after dusk, when our lantern light breaks through the outer darkness of approaching winter. It marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Carrying a light into the darkness in the company of others – as we do during the Lantern Walk – can be reassuring. This can be a good socially distanced activity to do with a friend or neighbor with whom you want to maintain or build a connection.

Making a lantern can be a fun activity at home, and it will foster anticipation for the walk. If you aren’t able to make your own, don’t let that stop you! You can use whatever portable light source you have available to take a walk in the darkness and see what you find!

Lantern designs: Balloon Lantern | Waldorf Paper Lantern | Glass Decoupage Lantern | Paper Dodecahedron Lantern

 

Candle Craft

Decorating a candle and holder is a great project, and the result is a unique light that can be lit with intention and feel very special. Your family may choose to light it at meal times or a young child’s bed time.

Look for a 1-2” slice of a thick tree branch or a thin trunk (a Christmas tree lot near you might have extras from the ends of trees they’ve sold). Drill a hole in the center to hold a tall candle, or a wide candle can sit on the wood or even just a little plate. To find decorations, you can pick up a few pine cones, acorns, berries, greens, etc. as you walk around your neighborhood or a park. Perhaps you already have some small treasures at home — seashells, stones, ribbons, etc. You can also order thin decorating beeswax to make shapes that will stick to the sides of your candle when warmed a bit. 

 

Winter Spiral Walk

A beloved tradition in Waldorf schools is the winter spiral. Usually, it is a spiral walkway created from evergreen branches laid out on the floor and decorated with shells, crystals, and small figurines. At home, a simple pine garland or even a plain rope can be used to create a spiral. Lights in the room are kept low and at the heart of the spiral is a lit candle (the spiral can also be set up outside). Participants sit around the outside of the spiral and wait for their turn. In silence, or with soft musical accompaniment, each participant sits holding an unlit candle. Often the candles are set into apples as holders. On your turn, carry your candle to the center of the spiral, light the candle and then carry your light back out of the spiral into the world. We usually find a place along the spiral to set our lights so that, at the end of the walk, we can tangibly see how our lights combine to bring warmth and illumination to the space.   See examples on Instagram.

 

With our hope for your family’s well being and that you find moments of light in difficult days…
The Washington Waldorf School

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Founded in 1969, The Washington Waldorf School is a coed, PreK – 12 independent school in Bethesda, MD. Our teachers incorporate academic, artistic, and practical elements into every subject, creating memorable lessons, successful scholars, and strong individuals.

 

This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Guest Post, Maryland, Schools, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Winter

Five Things for Today: December 2, 2020

Plan to visit the Downtown Holiday Market this season

 

1. Weekdays are a good time to visit the Downtown Holiday Market, when it’s less crowded, especially these days when not so many folks are working in the Penn Quarter area. And I highly recommend going! Sasha and I went to stroll and browse yesterday evening, and it had such a nice holiday season spirit — get a glimpse in my IG stories.  This year’s retail lineup features more than 70 exhibitors including Black-owned and minority-owned businesses, plus six food vendors providing tasty treats and hot beverages.  It’s set up in the middle of F Street between 7th & 9th instead of along the sidewalk for more space.  And to ensure safety even more, temperatures are taken at the entrance, and exhibitors are offering contactless and convenient payment methods for purchases. Open daily through December 23, 12-8pm.   See what other local holiday markets are happening, both IRL and online, in the KFDC holiday guide.

 

2. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting is this evening at 5pm.  Technically, it’s not open to the public — it will be broadcast live on C-Span.org — but you could catch a view of it from across the street by the Reflecting Pool (be sure to social distance, of course).  The tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.

 

3. DC by Foot is offering its Georgetown History & Holiday Lights Tour starting this Friday, December 4, and advanced reservations are required.  They also offer several other family-friendly tours — read more about them here.

 

4.  Spotify’s most streamed songs of 2020.  Plus, more top charts like most streamed artists and top in the US.  And here is a playlist of Spotify’s most-streamed songs of all time, updated weekly (because this is the kind random thing I look up when I can’t sleep at night).

 

5. A new month has begun, so that means Darcy has a new list of 10 Happy Things for December!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia

Five Things for Today: December 1, 2020

 

 

1. It’s Giving Tuesday!  If you want some ideas for where to donate, the GIVE page here on the blog has a long list of charities and causes, all of them shared by KFDC readers. (And if you have one you’d like to highlight, leave a comment on that page or this one, and I’ll add it.)

 

2. Volunteering is another way to give, and Martha’s Table has opportunities available.  Joyful Grocery Bagging, Food Order Support, Martha’s Outfitters Clothing Support are some of the ways to help out that kids ages 12 and up can do, too.  All shifts take place on weekdays, so consider signing up for one during the Winter Break from school.

 

3. A gift for younger children that lets them give back:  Little Loving Hands provides parents and caregivers with a fun way to teach kids about kindness in their world, their community, and their homes through subscription craft boxes.  Most of the crafts that are completed are sent back to Little Loving Hands in an included prepaid envelope to be donated to a charity. The boxes are specially designed for elementary-school kids, but fun for all ages!

 

4.  A long list of businesses offering discounts to first responders. And here is one for teachers (plus this biz I happened to see). Forward to all you know who qualify — so well deserved!

 

5. A heartwarming HONY story about giving a great surprise.

 

 

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia

Giveaway! Goldfish Swim School Opening in Gaithersburg, January 2021

 

Goldfish Swim School, the country’s leading water safety and swim lesson school offering infant and child swim lessons, is pleased to announce that construction of a new 8,628 square foot Gaithersburg, MD, location is currently underway. The newest addition to the Goldfish Swim School family will be welcoming swimmers into the pool in January 2021!

Located at 801 Center Point Way, Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg will provide indoor, year-round swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years-old in a safe, family-friendly setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. Goldfish offers perpetual lessons, and families can enroll at any time. Goldfish offers convenient scheduling options and families can easily book makeup classes when necessary.

In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School offers weekly family swims (for both members and non-members) and party packages. Facility highlights include an air-conditioned viewing gallery for parents to watch lessons, individual/private changing rooms, snack bar, retail shop and warm, tropical décor.

Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg begins lessons in January 2021. Families can register for lessons now by visiting the website or calling 301/444-6370. Swim lessons are regularly $128/month. The first 300 families to register before the first day of lessons will lock in a monthly rate of $118/month as long as they remain continuously enrolled in lessons. A limited number of six and 12-month membership deals are also available.

Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg is working closely with local authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safest environment possible for staff and swimmers.

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GIVEAWAY: Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg is giving away FREE registration and a month of swim lessons to one lucky KFDC reader.  For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me what activity your family is looking forward to most this winter. By entering the contest, you give permission to share your email with Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg. This giveaway will run through Monday, December 7, 2020, then the winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

 

This post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School Gaithersburg, however, I only promote services, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Class, DC, Discount, Giveaway, Maryland, Winter