Around the world, the harvest time is when some of the biggest cultural celebrations are observed. It’s a time to reconnect with family and honor those whom we loved who have gone on before us. What is interesting is that throughout the harvest time celebrations around the world, reflection, honoring the dead, and spending time with family are all common themes.
Here are some simple traditions that I’ve started in my own family.
Jar of Thanks
Whenever someone does something that you are thankful for, write it on a slip of paper and slip it into the Jar of Thanks. Collect throughout October and November and read them at Thanksgiving. Continue doing them and read them at Christmas and/or New Years. We do ours in the evening as we are settling down just before bedtime. But you can do them throughout the day, and even get your guests involved!
1 large mason jar
Things to decorate your jar!
Get the whole family involved in decorating the jar. We used glitter glue, stickers, and even a picture of our family printed off the computer is on the jar.
Acorn Protection Charms
Everyone loves acorns! The acorn, which is the seed of an Oak Tree, is filled with creative and protective energy. When we’ve gathered enough acorns, we bless them. Your blessing can be simple: “Thank you God for our many blessings. May you continue to bless us throughout the coming year.” A favorite bible verse or poem can be read, or as a family you could write your own poem!
Last year we came up with:
In this acorn is Light
In this acorn is Love
In this acorn is Protection
In this acorn is Prosperity
I am blessed beyond measure
And I share and spread the blessings always…
If needed, glue the top of the acorn on the acorn (these fall off more often than not). Tie a ribbon around it, and leave the ribbon long enough to hang or wear as a necklace. Hang around the house (we like to hang them in the kitchen and by the entryways).
Scented Pine Cone Kindling
There is nothing more delicious than the smell of cinnamon. Cinnamon scented pine cones are so easy to make, and whether they are in a decorative basket, or providing kindling for your fire place, they provide a delicious aroma for this time of year.
1 bottle Cinnamon Essential Oil
1 glass spray bottle
6-8 small to medium pinecones.
1 plastic garbage bag
Fill glass spray bottle with water and add 20 (or so) drops cinnamon essential oil.
Spray moderately on pinecones. Place pinecones in plastic bag for 24 hours. Remove and place in a decorative basket.
Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
These are a favorite with my kids! I love to make these this time of year because they are good throughout the holiday season, and fill the home with a yummy cinnamon smell.
1 cup apple sauce
1 cup cinnamon
2 TBS cloves (optional)
Mix in a bowl until firm. Roll out until about ½ thick. Use a cookie cutter for fun shapes, or just roll out balls into a circle (we like to use gingerbread man shapes). Make a small hole at the top that you can slide a ribbon through after they are dry. Let dry for about 24 hours. Or, you can place them on a cookie sheet in the oven on the “warm” setting until they are dried out.
String with ribbon and hang around the house.
These are all simple traditions that don’t cost much, yet bring much happiness. They are a reminder for us to connect in to what’s truly important… family, friendships and the spirit of Love.