Christmas Rings

Since the spring of 2020, I’ve had our groceries delivered to the house. At first it was because I was afraid to go any place, but now it’s more that going out and shopping for groceries just seems like one more task.

Although I would get in more steps if I went back to doing it myself, as well as maybe help keep someone else out of a public place, since I’m already working in one, anyway and thrice vaccinated. Save $12 a month. Hmm…

Anyway, a couple of nights ago, Desmond asked me when I was ordering groceries and if I could add construction paper to the delivery. When I asked him why, he said he wanted to make Christmas rings again, and my heart melted a little.

Christmas rings were a tradition in the Donaher family. A lot of people use them to garnish their trees, but we counted down the days to Christmas with them. Desmond loves numbers and counting, and Aislyn loves crafts, so this seemed like the perfect activity for both of them.

If you aren’t familiar with Christmas rings, they’re pretty self-explanatory. You just cut up strips of red and green paper, make rings with the strips, and link them together in a chain of red and green. You tear a ring each day through Christmas Day.

My father introduced us to this tradition. We made the rings together and taped them to the outside of my bedroom door, as my room abutted our kitchen, which was the family hub. We looked forward to this activity every year, even as teenagers, I think.

From an early educator standpoint, you’re addressing a few different skills, as well:

  • Fine motor: drawing lines, cutting strips
  • Crossing midline: tracing horizontal lines across paper
  • Math: using a ruler
  • Math: initiating and continuing an AB (red-green) pattern
  • Math: counting
  • Math: 1:1 correspondence (25 rings for 25 days in December to Christmas)
  • Math: estimating (sheets of construction paper needed for the project)

I’m so happy to continue this tradition with my children. It reminds me of the good times in my own childhood. It gives me another way to bond with my kids. It’s simple, it’s fun, and—bonus—now I won’t have to go out and buy one of those little “Days Till Christmas” gnomes with the block numbers that don’t stay where they’re supposed to.

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