As we dig deeper into our study of the pioneers, we begin to fill our hearts with gratitude for the simple things in life. We’ve been taking a peek at what the pioneers did for gifts as they celebrated Christmas isolated from their nearest neighbors who were trapped by the snow and cold. Since there was no Wal-Mart, Television, or Billboards to entice us with things we don’t need – but think we do, we paid attention to what gifts were exchanged between the pioneers at Christmas.
After snuggling together and watching the original Little House on the Prairie, we observed the following. Children were very fortunate indeed to receive a new pair of mittens, a hand carved wooden toy, perhaps a hand made doll, or a piece of peppermint candy. A shiny new penny was also a pleasant surprise. Grown ups seemed awfully grateful for a few sweet potatoes, some sage to go in the stuffing (if they were lucky enough to have a turkey) or a new pair of dipped candlesticks.
Homemade gifts always seemed to be the most treasured when I was a child. This got me thinking about the kinds of things my girls could create with their own hands and present as gifts, so we decided to hand craft our own candles. Though we didn’t use beef tallow and beeswax, we were able to create some lovely soy candles. We got together with another homeschool family and the girls melted wax, prepared wicks, stirred in dyes and added delicious scents. In no time we had quite a collection of wonderful little candles to give away.
Though I cannot stop the flow of commercialism, nor prevent kind hearted relatives from buying more toys, I can prepare my heart and demonstrate to my children the beauty of the simpler things in life. And hopefully, leave an imprint of thankfulness in their own hearts and minds.