The days and weeks leading up to this years Christmas with the kids at Toddler House was filled with excitement and anticipation. We tried to do small things here and there to that reminded Joyce and I each of things that our families did with us when we were little to make the holiday special.
We decorated the house:
Every care group has a room, that room has ten-twelve children and two nannies in it. Each room this year got its own bag of decorations and we let the nannies and kids in that care group decorate it in any way they pleased. They were so proud of their results.
We decorated the school rooms:
Elange, Kiki, and Michaelle helped the kids in their room hang decorations and write “Noel” on the wall in garland. Every year Joyce lets 12 of her students go wild in her basement classroom, and we usually dub it the Jersey Hair Parlor… they know how to dress it!
Oh we strung oh so many many lights this year! Thanks to all the volunteers and staff who spent an entire afternoon hanging lights and decorating the kids’ areas of the house.
Set up the nativity:
Something that is looked forward to each year, as the pieces come out one by one and are placed around new baby Jesus.
Dozens and dozens of them!!! 12 dozen in fact! The kids did so well, I would be sure that Mickenson must have been a baker in his two years living at home before he came to be with us. According to Mikerline and Mewoogye the dough is even tastier before it is cooked.
Elange and Michaelle taught the kids several carols in French and Joyce taught the English “Silent Night” one of the kids favorites to listen to.
Every child made ornaments, thanks to two beautiful duffel bags of Christmas craft supplies brought to us by the Cormier family at the end of November we had all that we needed and MORE to craft and create anything their little imaginations came up with. We used glitter and puff paper on everything we did creating virtually indestructible ornaments and decorations.
Decorated the annual Fort Jacques tree:
Georges and Dave made certain that we had for the second year in a row a real live Christmas tree for the kids to see. They trimmed branches from the tall pines on the new orphanage property, strapped them to the truck, and with zap straps and wood screws recreated a perfect tree to grace our yard. The fresh sent of evergreen filled the yard, and the kids laughed as the soft needles tickled their hands and arms days later when they hung their homemade ornaments.
Every child had a stocking, every stocking had a name. The entire circumfrence of the dining room was wreathed in red stockings a name written on each to ensure that no child would be left out Christmas Day when the treats were put inside. This is the 7th year that my mother and sisters have sewn these soft red felt Christmas traditions, and I am so thankful that they do!
Made paper chain:
Yards and yards of it!
Decorated Fort Jacques pine cones:
Glitter, Paint, Glue, and a bag full of pine cones brings a special magic to Christmas… at least to those of us who grew up in the north. Thanks to the volunteers who hunted down the cones and supplied us with all we needed. The kids spent one morning mixing different combinations of paint colors and glitter colors producing a beautiful arrangement of sparkly cheer.
Brought to life the little village:
Joyce’s family has always had a miniature village in their house at Christmas time that grew from year to year. Last year she started her very own… and is sharing it with her family here.
And on the 24th the kids acted out the live nativity of Jesus’ birth as Se Ketlie read it from Luke.
This is one of my favorite traditions. The littles ones so quiet and still watching their older “brothers and sisters” reenact the events that took place more than two thousands year ago, brings to life the story they have heard again and again in real and memorable way. It is a huge honor to those who choose their parts of Mary, Jospeh, angels, shepherds, and magi who present their gifts to baby Jesus.
Each event, and each activity we did had special moments and special meaning to a different child. One thing that really touched me was the first night that the little village was aglow of lights and activity. All the kids were supposed to be inside bathing and climbing into bed… Joyce and I pulled into the dark yard from having been down at the main house… and there in the shadows, just a nose away from the window to the house, stood tough as nails and stubborn as an ox, Julner… quietly, peacefully, motionlessly watching in wonder at the tiny little lights twinkling around the square, with a ripple of clear resin water running down the brook under the snow covered bridge. We dared not disturb him, but stood from a distance us as well in awe of HIM. To see that stillness in his heart and open emotion in his face is a rare occurrence and brought us hope that night that the shadows of past abuse and neglect are clearing ever so slowly to a little boy who’s heart still sees the beauty in life.
17 “For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Posted on Tue, December 27, 2011