I’ve been getting ready to write this Waldorf holiday blog post for a few days now, and I have to confess, it’s been a struggle.
I intended to write a post about holiday gifting, full of helpful suggestions of what holiday gifts to give to the Waldorf children in your life. I planned to break it down by age, link to great gifts on Amazon and help make everyone’s holiday shopping easier.
But I just can’t do it.
Somehow, with everything that is happening in the world, holiday gifting feels like a pretty insignificant topic.
In an effort to find some enthusiasm for the topic, I tried taking a walk down memory lane. I remembered the Christmas mornings when my children were younger and their holiday gifts brought squeals of delight. In those days holiday gifting was so satisfying and I loved connecting with my children and their joy over receiving the perfect gift.
But these days feel different. And no matter how hard I try to reconnect with those feelings of innocent joy, I can’t forget that there is a lot going on these days.
The world is feeling pretty heavy, my friends, and though I love connecting with my family over holiday gifts, it just doesn’t feel right to continue with “life as usual” this holiday season.
So, if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas for Waldorf children, I’m sure a Google search will help you out with someone else’s well-organized and inspiring post on the topic. But on this blog, this year, you won’t find it.
So what now?
How do we create a Waldorf holiday?
Dear readers, these days I’m feeling full of ideas, but often lacking the words to express them. Even so, here is my effort at an inspiring holiday post.
You see, as I thought about those holidays of the past – Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas are the ones I celebrate, though there are many others – I realized that what was really important and significant about them was how they allowed my family to connect.
Years ago, when I watched my little ones open their gifts with joy, it was my connection with them that brought me the most satisfaction. My heart was warmed by the power of connection. And as I think about it now, I realize that there are so many other ways to bring connection into our lives. And if we find other ways to connect, we can be more mindful of the messages of consumerism and materialism that we are sending our children. We can use our holiday gifting money to support other causes that we feel a connection to. We can work to strengthen our connection to the world by reaching out and making a difference. And we can think about the gifts that we do decide to give and make sure they encourage connection.
So, that is the theme of this blog post, and, for me, of this holiday season – CONNECTION. These holidays I am renewing my commitment to increase connection in as many ways as I can.
Connection with YOU!
I can’t tell you the satisfaction and pleasure this blog gives me. Though I started it as an internal tool for recording my experiences and bringing greater self-awareness to my teaching, it has turned out to be an incredible source of connection. At the time of this writing, more than a thousand people are regular subscribers and 10,000 people visit monthly. I am humbled and inspired to contribute to the Waldorf community in this way. I’m excited to think about the continued possibility for connection that exists here!
So, during this holiday season, I am renewing my commitment to connect with all of you, dear readers. I want to get involved and support the work you do in your beautiful lives! This work feels so meaningful when I have the opportunity to answer a struggling homeschooling mother’s desperate questions or to share my latest exciting physics lesson. I hope that you will respond and connect with me either in the comments here or by joining the Facebook group that is turning out to be a lively little community.
You see, it is possible for technology to enhance and inspire connection. But it is also possible for our online lives to detract from our real-life human connections. I encourage you to thoughtfully take control of the technology in your life and make sure that it is always a tool for supporting connection.
Connection Through Activity
These days, much to my family members’ chagrin, my children have been hard-pressed to create Christmas lists. They are in the fortunate position of not needing very much and, having recently discovered their activism, they are thoughtful about all of the people and causes in the world that need support much more than they do.
This morning, as we awoke ready to celebrate Thanksgiving together, they were well-aware of the irony of the difficult situation at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. They were filled with questions about how we could make a difference and somehow end the mistreatment of our country’s native population. How grateful I am to have such thoughtful and caring children!
We found the perfect way to begin our Thanksgiving holiday – attending a support rally downtown. We didn’t stay long, but I felt so inspired as I watched my children involve themselves in the process, lending their voices to an important cause.
The experience made me realize that these are the values I want to inspire in my children this holiday season. I’m proud of the thoughtful, caring individuals they have grown to become and I don’t want to diminish that by encouraging them to participate in the consumerism that they already seem to be removed from.
Connection Through Giving
Finally, though we are feeling quite different this year, I am certain that my family and I will not be opting out of the holiday giving entirely. In fact, I love thinking about my family members and carefully considering before choosing the gift that will be truly meaningful for each one of them. But this year I’m adding another layer of meaning to my holiday gifting.
I will give gifts this holiday season in the spirit of connection. I’m excited to give my family members things that will allow them to connect even more with the people, causes and experiences that they love. So solo activities like video games, movie theater tickets, electronics and even books are off the list. Family games, puzzles, hiking shoes and travel backpacks are on. As my children get older and busier our time together feels more precious than ever and I want my gifts to help us make the most of that time together.
Giving is also helping me to connect with the world in a new way. In this uncertain world where my biggest question is about how I can make a difference, I’m realizing the power of my dollars more than ever. I’m making conscious decisions about the kinds of businesses where I want to spend my money and I’m looking for worthy charities and causes. Though the income of a Waldorf teacher isn’t great, my life is truly blessed and I am happy to give to those less fortunate than myself.
I hope that this post finds you inspired and looking for ways you can increase your own connection with the world around you. I’m excited to continue the work and make this site a place that builds and supports connections between Waldorf families. I’ve received such positive feedback about my posts and the podcast and these are the kinds of comments that keep me going.
If you have found value in any of the posts or podcasts at A Waldorf Journey, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’d like to support the work here with your dollars, I gratefully accept donations through Patreon.
The Patreon model of financially supporting creators so they can continue the work they are doing is one that I strongly believe in. Your donation goes to pay for the hosting and software services that are a part of doing this work. Every little bit helps.
I wish you joy, happiness and, most of all, connection this holiday season.