By Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore
Welcome to a season full of celebration, reflection and nature connection. For the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) People, this month is known as Sis,et—the Elder Moon. It is the time to bring everyone together for winter gatherings, ceremonial dancing and storytelling.
It is also the time of the winter solstice when the earth is farthest from the sun. The winter solstice takes place this year on Thursday, December 21. How do you celebrate the winter solstice in your community?
A tradition I have been part of for many years is to travel back to my home province of Ontario where I gather with close friends on the traditional territory of the Iroquois nations to celebrate the winter solstice. We gather everyone together around the fire and celebrate through storytelling and reflection on the year. Our time spent together reminds us of where we have been and where we are going.
This is a special time when we honour our ancestors and pay tribute to close friends and mentors who are no longer with us. It is a time for sharing our past and making resolutions for the future year ahead. I encourage all of you to take the time to step back and find a quiet way to reflect this year during the winter solstice.
The holiday season can be a very busy time of year for everyone. Time is spent scurrying around looking for that perfect gift, gathering with friends and family for parties and squeezing in those special moments with family and friends who live near and far. It’s also time to get out the traditional holiday decorations and a fantastic opportunity to create something new to add to your collection.
This month I’m sharing below some of my favorite nature-based and eco-friendly crafts and ornaments that you can make for the holiday season. I hope you enjoy all the adventures they bring.
Have a wonderful time celebrating this holiday season with your community. Make getting outside a tradition in your home by taking part in local nature hikes, New Year bird counts and evening walks to see the holiday lights in your own neighborhood. It’s the perfect season to collect, design and make your very own holiday treasures.
- Make a pine cone gnome
Head into the forest together as a family and collect some pine cones that have fallen on the ground while you are exploring the trees. Then turn them into little gnomes! Get instructions
- Create salt dough ornaments
Gather everyone together in the kitchen for some family fun mixing together the ingredients to design your own ornaments. Get instructions
I suggest making your own homemade natural food dye too for festive and colorful designs. Here’s a great recipe for natural dye.
- Build a driftwood tree
Take a trip to a local beach and collect some driftwood to design your own holiday tree this year. Get instructions
- Create a wreath with holly and ivy
Look after nature by helping in the removal of English ivy and English holly—invasive species here in BC. Then bring some home and make your very own holiday wreath to put up to decorate your front door. Get instructions
- Make twig star ornaments
The best part of this ornament is going out and collecting your twigs. Finding colorful berries in the forest will add creativity to your stars. Get instructions
The 13 Moons Calendar Resource and Curriculum Instructions for Teachers from RaceRocks.com