Category Archives: Winter

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

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

Start a New Family Holiday Tradition with Santa’s Scout

 

In these uncertain times, families are looking for affordable ways to provide entertainment while sharing meaningful experiences with their children. They are longing for simpler times that embrace family traditions and bring back joyful childhood memories.

As this holiday season approaches, Family Holiday Traditions, a family owned business based in Frederick, MD, is bringing back simpler times by launching an exciting new product — Santa’s Scout, a new holiday activity designed to bring and keep families together through a fun interactive adventure. Inspired by traditional Christmas experiences and designed with a modern-day twist, this unique activity will provide parents and grandparents an opportunity to create their own holiday traditions with their children.

Santa’s Scout is an at-home activity that engages families in an indoor-outdoor interactive adventure to seek and find Santa’s helper named Scout.  Scout is Santa’s navigator, a charming little reindeer who, with his yellow star nose, locates the homes of good boys and girls on Christmas Eve.  Children will see Scout’s shining star nose outside and rejoice knowing that Santa is close behind!

Each year families can look forward to this exciting activity — while children remember to stay on Santa’s “Nice List” as they eagerly await a personal visit from Santa’s Scout.  The Santa’s Scout Activity Kit includes a beautifully illustrated children’s storybook, an adorable plush Scout reindeer, and a remote-controlled shining star that is placed outside of children’s windows to help guide Santa on Christmas Eve!

Learn more and start the Santa’s Scout tradition for your family today!

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Family Holiday Traditions, however, I only promote products, services, and programs that I genuinely believe in and/or think will appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Holidays, Seasonal, Winter

Discover DC by Foot this Holiday Season

Holiday lights and history on a tour through Georgetown

[Note: This is a Guest Post contributed by Canden Arciniega from DC By Foot.]

 

Hi! I’m Canden, a tour guide and historian in Washington, DC, and a mom of two. It has been a weird line between getting the kids out of the house and keeping the kids in the house this year, not quite knowing what to do or what’s open and meets the safety standards that we’ve set for our family.  KidFriendly DC has been my go-to in figuring out what is happening [editor’s note: 😊], so I’m excited to share with you what my company is doing this December as a kid-friendly option for something fun, festive, and perfect for these social distancing times.

DC by Foot offers over a dozen walking tours, available each day. Let’s get the safety protocols out there first: All our tours are entirely outdoors, in small groups to allow physical distancing, with mask requirements of all guests and guides.

We offer tours of the National Mall that have a scavenger hunt element for kids, our popular Lincoln’s Assassination tour, family-friendly Ghosts of Georgetown tours, and private neighborhood tours of Georgetown, Eastern Market, Capitol Hill, the Wharf, and more.

 

Creative lights make the season bright

 

For the holiday season, starting December 4, we’re excited to offer a Holiday Lights and History tour of Georgetown daily! This 1.5-hour tour starts at 6pm and explores the holiday windows and light displays. We’ll weave in stories of Georgetown history as we walk — for instance, did you know the Gap in Georgetown used to be a Civil War prison for deserters?

If you’re not interested in Georgetown, we also offer a Downtown History & Lights tour on a private basis that visits the Holiday Market, Macy’s Windows, Willard Hotel, and National Christmas tree display.

Wondering whether our guides will be engaging and fun enough for your kids?  Not to worry!  In the before times, our team of full time guides worked mostly with student groups. We tell jokes so bad they are good and pride ourselves in winning over even the most angsty teen.

 

See festive window displays in local shops

 

Our Georgetown Holiday Lights tours are name-your-own-price from Wednesday to Saturday, and ticketed Sunday to Tuesday. Name-your-own-price tours allow you to take the tour and then decide at the end what you thought it was worth, paying the guide directly when the tour is finished. Guides strive to make the tour such a memorable experience that you’ll want to support them, but if that’s not in your budget, or you didn’t feel like it was worth it… that is your choice.

With the limited number of people and tours right now, many of our tours are ticketed in order to support our guides, but we’re happy to be able to offer select tours on the name-your-own-price basis.

Interested in more information about our Holiday Lights or any other tours?  You can find them all on our website, DC by Foot, or send me a message at [email protected].

I look forward to exploring DC with you!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Christmas, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter