We’re back at it again with a Holiday edition of the paper! There is a ton of lively and entertaining activities to do from the comfort of your own home, along with some exciting winter stories this issue. Wishing you a cozy and festive holiday season!
Table of Contents
Coming Soon: New Offerings for Winter Term by Village Voice staff
Worldwide Winter Traditions by Annika Elliott
Homemade Gifts by Lena
Day in the Life of Otter by Chase Williams
Plant Care by Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Voicing Our Views by Chase Williams
Yule Regret Not Making These Sweets, This Holiday Season by Annika Elliott
Story Prompts for Winter Days by Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Fun & Games by Annika Elliott
Coming Soon: New Offerings for Winter Term
By Village Voice staff
The Winter Term schedule has some fantastic new offerings for learners of all ages.
The beloved Village Home musical makes its return with a plethora of offerings including Mary Poppins Musical Mondays from 10am to 2 pm and Props and Costumes on Fridays, also from 10 to 2.
Polymer Clay, Hands in Clay, and Little Hands in Clay, taught by the ever-popular Kristin Lake, will be back as three-week workshops on Fridays.
The Village Home team is hard at work finalizing the winter schedule with more new classes likely to be added. Winter break provides the perfect opportunity to peruse the schedule and find something new for the new year.
Speaking of new challenges, why not find out if journalism is for you? Sign up for the only class that puts learners in charge of a Village Home publication: Journalism: The Village Voice, Wednesdays at 1:15 online, ages 13+.
Worldwide Winter Traditions
By Annika Elliott
All around the world people and cultures have countless different ways of celebrating the holiday season. When talking about the “holiday season” that mainly includes November holidays, and of course, December holidays.
In México, many people celebrate Dia de los Muerto, or the Day of the Dead. Dia de Los Muerto is the celebration of dead relatives and ancestors. Legend holds that on November 1-2 spirits come back to visit their living relatives. The dead are commonly celebrated with flowers, festivals, food, and intricately designed skulls and skeletons. The skulls and skeletons are meant to signify death as a celebration of life, both past and present, and not something scary or sad.
In Italy many people celebrate Ognissanti. Ognissanti means “All saints day” and is a Catholic holiday celebrated November 1-2. Similar to Dia de Los Muertos, the celebrations of Ognissanti are about honoring dead ancestors who have come back to see their living relatives. People commonly leave food out for visiting spirits, as well as decorating the cemeteries with chrysanthemums.
The people of Guatemala also celebrate Dia de Los Muertos as well as the Barriletes Gigantes, or the Giant Kite Festival. The Giant Kite Festival is celebrated in Santiago Sacatepequez and Sumpango. To honor the dead, giant kites are built from local natural materials and then are flown around in cemeteries. This is from an ancient Mayan tradition that dates back over 3,000 years.
In India people celebrate Diwali. It is a festival of lights starting on November 4th. This holiday is one of the bigger and more important holidays of the year. The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, which means “row of lighted lamps.” People celebrate by decorating their homes with diyas, small lamps, and other colorful lamps. There are also large and specifically intense firework shows to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Another celebration in November is Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5th. Back in 1605 a man named Guy Fawkes tried and failed to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland. In remembrance of his failure people celebrate by lighting big bonfires, and holding elaborate fireworks shows in the United Kingdom.
Moving onto December celebrations, in Sweden, they celebrate Santa Lucia Day, or Lucia’s Day. That is a celebration of their patron saint, Santa Lucia, or Saint Lucy. A common Santa Lucia tradition has the eldest daughter dress up in white and serve coffee and lussekatter, or saffron bread, to the rest of the family.
All around the world this month and next are filled with amazing holidays and traditions. What do you do to mark this season? Send us a picture of your holiday festivities at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may see it in the next issue of the Village Voice or on our Instagram.
By Lena Finn-Hall
Regardless of age or budget, handmade gifts can be some of the best and most rewarding. They’re unique in that the giver spent their time and energy on them and they’re one of a kind, which arguably makes them better than store-bought presents. Here are some gift ideas that are almost as fun to make as to receive.
Bookmarks are one of the most customizable gifts to make. You can draw, paint, cut, put stickers on them, the possibilities are endless. This is a great craft for kids as well as teens and adults. Bookmarks make an even better gift when paired with a favorite novel.
Macrame, or the art of knotting, has made a huge comeback in recent years, and plant hangers, in particular, are incredibly popular. But don’t worry, macrame may look complex, but you can make a simple plant hanger in less than 30 minutes, and once you learn a few knots you can start to make far more complex pieces. Macrame can be made out of many different materials, including yarn, rope, and twine, but special macrame cord works best for most projects, and it’s the only material you need.
Bath salts are a great alternative to bath bombs, and they’re a lot simpler to make. All you need is salt or Epsom salt and essential oil. You can also add dried flowers and herbs to elevate it. Be careful though! Some essential oils can irritate skin, so it’s important to make sure you use the right ones in the right amounts and always have an adult help you.
In the winter, when you can’t spend much time outside, knitting is the perfect cozy activity, plus knit projects make great gifts. It’s simple to start, for traditional knitting all you need is needles and yarn so it’s an easy hobby to start. There are other ways to knit though, there’s hand knitting, which you only need yarn for, and many different kinds of knitting looms. A knit scarf is one of the easiest projects to start with, other beginner projects include hats, shawls, and baby blankets.
Day in the Life of Otter
By: Chase Williams
Otter always starts their holidays by shopping at the Entrepreneur’s Fair! It appears they bought a cool tote for their mother, a potholder for their father, who happens to be an excellent chef, some beautiful handmade pens, ornaments, and all kinds of fun gifts! And of course, they consumed a delectable snack, or two. After shopping, they appear to start decorating, but always seem to get a bit wrapped up in the holiday spirit!
HOW WILL OTTER GET OUT OF THIS PREDICAMENT? TELL US HOW AT email@example.com or @/village.voice on instagram!
By: Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
Oregon is a beautiful place, filled with wonderful sights. However as the weather grows colder, and the skies become more gloomy, it can be harder to go and see them. Following these simple steps, you can bring some of the glorious outdoors to you.
Plant care for tulips
Tulips require a lot of light, keep them in the full sun in the mornings and around noon, but make sure that they are in an area that is sheltered from the afternoon sun, as too much sunlight can destroy the flowers. Grow tulips in loose, crumbly soil, make sure the soil is slightly cool. Water tulips weekly, because flowers need water. Remember, growing flowers is a matter of rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. Tulips can be a very lovely plant if you care for them right, and they are quite pretty!
Plant care for cacti
Talking about the smaller forms of cacti, they don’t need much water. Just about a half cup of water every week or two. Cacti typically live in the desert, so sun is not that much of a problem. However, it’s important to note cacti cannot take 24-hour sunlight, but they can take up to 14 hours. Therefore, most homes are going to be just fine, just make sure you put your cactus in a bright and sunny environment. Cacti like sandy soil, or soil containing pebbles, in their pot. The soil also needs to be well-drained, so don’t just buy any soil, if possible, buy some specifically made for cacti. Cacti are great and can survive up to 10 years in your home.!
Plants can be difficult to grow and care for, but the end result will be worth it. Just give it the attention it needs and you’ll be rewarded with a superb sight. Have fun growing!
Voicing our Views: 5 Holiday Hits
By Chase Williams.
Think of a holiday scene, it doesn’t really matter which one, what do you see? Probably some snow, decorations, and music probably fits in there somewhere, too. Whether it’s from the radio or just from some jingle bells, music is one of the defining parts of the holiday season, and here are 5 favorites to get started.
- Jingle Bells
Starting with a classic, it doesn’t really matter which version of this catchy tune you pick, it’s bound to put some holiday cheer in your heart. A personal favorite is the Frank Sinatra version, which, while still definitely being the timeless Jingle Bells we all know, manages to have its own swingin’ identity.
- Trans Siberian Orchestra: Carol of the Bells
While a lot darker in tone than most holiday songs, it still has a highly recognizable melody. A good choice for anyone looking for something harder on their pallet of holiday songs.
- The Waitresses: Christmas Wrapping
We all know how it can feel in the holiday season trying to get everything perfect, or close enough. This song is exactly about that pit-of-the-stomach Clark Griswold feeling like you’re just not able to do the holidays this year. Listen all the way through, because, spoiler, in the end, the holidays are here, and it is actually an amazing experience.
- Adam Sandler: The Chanukah Song
A change of pace from the general Christmas themes, this is for those who feel left out of the Christmas hype. This song includes references to a slew of Jewish celebrities (dated as they may be) who also celebrate Chanukah. Whether you get the 90’s references or not, it’s fantastic fun! (just ask your parents!)
- You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
This one is for anyone who just doesn’t like the holidays… but also for anyone who does! The deep bass vocals of Thurl Ravenscroft are booming and vast, painting a picture of a villain who’s, “…a bad banana with a greasy black peel!” yet, so inviting that it’s nearly impossible not to sing along.
Wishing you all a music-filled holiday season!
Yule Regret Not Making These Sweets, This Holiday Season
By Annika Elliott
Back to this festive time of year, a great way to spend time with family and friends is to bake with them. Here are some fun and festive recipes for chefs of all ages and levels.
First off some simple recipes for everyone to try!
First off, this delicious Orange bread recipe. A sweet and tart quick bread that is super tasty to eat, and easy to make. Orange bread is a common treat around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Our second dessert is Pecan Shortbread cookies. Though they sound a little bit more complicated they are quite easy but still delicious. These cookies are very addicting and super fun to make. For one of the final steps, you roll the dough in sugar and pecans!
The next recipe is Candied Pecans. These are a delicious dessert as well as a lovely gift for friends and family.
Secondly a couple harder recipes for more experienced chefs.
This recipe is super tasty and a fun dessert to make with others. Pecan Turtles are a combination of pecans, chocolate, and caramel all melted together. Be careful when making this recipe to not get hurt while making the caramel!
Another fun recipe for more experienced chefs is Candy Cane cookies. These are a family favorite, especially around Christmas. These are fun to make as well as require a little bit more effort so they are another great thing to do with other family members or friends.
One final recipe for this level is Pumpkin pie bars. Many people make pumpkin pie around the holidays, but here’s something a little different!
Finally for experienced chefs here’s a few recipes.
Our first recipe is Russian tea cakes, or sometimes known as Mexican wedding cakes. These are delicious little powdered sugar-coated cookies.
The next recipe is Salted Caramel cupcakes. These are delicious and super fun to make, these are a great New years dessert, (or anytime, cupcakes are good whenever!)
Our final recipe is Almond croissants. These are super tasty with a very unique flavor. They are slightly harder to make because of all of the separate steps, but they still have a great outcome.
Hopefully, these will be fun recipes to try and enjoy. Wishing you all a happy, and delicious holiday season!
Story Prompts for Winter Days
By: Oliver Meskell and August Sharp
The dropping of the temperatures doesn’t mean you have to drop your creativity. If you’re sitting around in your home, here are some prompts to get your thoughts and creativity flowing. There is something here for everyone, so grab a pen, a cup of hot cocoa, and happy storytelling.
Prompts for Ages 5 – 10
Jane just didn’t like the squash king, to be perfectly frank, he was rather rude and quite informal.
Zach didn’t know EXACTLY how to fly a helicopter, but how hard could it be?
The magic crystal glowed brightly on the coffee table, Nela liked it, it was rather pretty, and went well with her furniture.
Once upon a time, a little kid named Caleb found a magical pond. Fairies danced around the pond singing and playing chess. Caleb was very excited, all his life he’d believed in things like this!
Prompts for Ages 10 – 13
I was there when the world exploded. I didn’t think it was particularly enjoyable, unlike some of the others. Some thought this was a good change. They were wrong. I don’t know what to do, I have been hiding on one of the planets for 2 years and 149 days. I am running out of resources, things are not going as I would have hoped.
To be fair, Tomathon did regret hacking into the world’s most secure computer, but that didn’t really help him when he was hiding in a cave on a large cold mountain with minimal food.
Prompts for Ages 14+
“Don’t move!” Sandra said to me, the rain pattering quickly on the windows outside. “What is happening?” I replied, wincing as something stomped loudly outside.
Clegar checked her schedule, another 13 hours and she would be marching off into the war against the land wyrm kings, where thousands of orcs like her had died at the blades of ruthless blood-seeking warriors. She wrote a letter to her family, wishing them goodbye, unsure if she would ever see them again.
Taylin was still unemployed, not a big surprise, not many people wanted to hire warlocks capable of bending reality when people could just play video games or drive to work. She glanced around her musty apartment and her eyes followed the mess of half-empty cracker bags to a white bed where her roommate slept.
Hopefully, these prompts not only give you something to do, but let you tell a fantastic story. Remember all of these are up to interpretation, so have fun with it! Let your imagination run wild, and write to your heart’s content. Good luck!
Fun and Games
By: Annika Elliott
(Scroll down for answers!)