Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Even those of us who love the holiday season know the stress of this time of year. So many things to do! Lists to make! Events to attend! Magic to sprinkle! What we too often forget is that this time can be stressful for our kids as well. Schedules are crazy, sugar is everywhere, and anticipation is high. Oh the anticipation! This constant chorus of something is coming something is coming something is coming can be exhausting for our little ones. Each year I have to remind myself to stop relentlessly pointing ahead to Christmas, and instead slow down and point to the everyday magic present throughout this season.
So amid piles of books about Christmas Day and Santa and elves (which we love, don’t get me wrong), a book like Walking in a Winter Wonderland comes as a cool breath of fresh air.
It was Tim Hopgood’s vibrant mixed media illustrations that initially drew me to this charming book. They feature a family’s adventure on a snowy day, accompanied by the lyrics to the classic holiday song. Stories like this can serve as a gentle reminder to pay attention to the simple wonders of winter: the thrill of that first snowfall, the glistening trees, and the warm comfort of home.
We tried to capture some of this magic by creating our own tiny winter wonderland in a jar. The process is pretty straightforward, but I made two versions because (holiday reality check!) things don’t always go as planned.
For our first attempt, we used an adorable vintage style glass jar I found at a craft store. Turns out, hot glue doesn’t hold on glass very well, especially once submerged in water and shaken up. Soon after taking pictures, all those cute little figures popped right off the bottom and floated freely in our winter wonderland. Whoops. Somewhat beautiful in its own right, but not quite what we were looking for. Oh, well. You live, you learn, you buy more glitter.
We were much more successful with attempt #2 by using a plastic peanut butter jar (more preschool friendly!) and gluing our figurines to the lid instead of the jar bottom.
Here’s how you can make your own miniature wonderland (and be successful the first time!):
1. Using hot glue (or another strong adhesive), attach figures to the inside of a jar lid. If using a jar with a metal lid, try lightly sanding before you glue in order to help the adhesive hold.
2. Fill jar about 2/3 of the way with water
3. Add a few generous squeezes of clear glue. This helps to keep the “snow” afloat in the jar for some time after you shake it.
4. Shake in your glittery snow!
5. Put some glue around the top of the jar to help seal it before screwing on the lid.
6. Turn over, give a little shake, and enjoy your miniature winter wonderland!