Candlemas is a Catholic feast day that happens every year on February 2. In Jewish tradition at the time, a baby boy was to be presented at the temple 40 days after he was born to be dedicated to God, so Candlemas is 40 days after Christmas morning. This day used to be known as the “purification of Mary”, as mothers were purified at the temple that day from having their baby. There are tons of fun and traditional ways to celebrate Candlemas with Catholic kids so let’s look at some ideas that may work for your family.
Candlemas Craft Ideas
Candlemas is the day to light and bless candles. Because Candlemas is traditionally celebrated with candles, why not make candles with your kids? Or decorate candles with tissue paper and glue. Since Simeon said that Jesus would be a light to the people, why not try this little light of mine craft for preschoolers?! The kids absolutely love that it really lights up, and mom will love how easy and safe this craft is since the candles are battery operated.
The presentation of the Lord is the 4th joyful mystery of the rosary! So actually, praying the joyful mysteries would be a perfect way to celebrate Candlemas with your kids! If they’re too little to sit through the whole thing, you can pray just a decade. Catholic Culture has a great guide for having your own Candlemas ceremony.
February 14 -Valentine’s Day
SEVEN WAYS TO MAKE VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL FOR KIDS:
WRITE THEM VALENTINE'S DAY LETTERS. Tell them all the things you love about them… MAKE A SPECIAL VALENTINE'S DAY BREAKFAST. ... You can make pink pancakes, pink milk, and even pink eggs. Another tradition is to serve strawberry milk, pancakes with fresh strawberries, and homemade whipped cream
MAKE and DECORATE SUGAR COOKIES TOGETHER. ... There is something about kids cutting out their own sugar cookies that they seem to really enjoy. Let them frost them with pink frosting and decorate them with a ridiculous amount of sprinkles. It’s a fun bonding tradition to do together and exciting for them to point out which cookies they created.
WRAP a SMALL PRESENT. ...
HAVE a SPECIAL VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER.
VALENTINE BAGS… If you have more than one child, have your kids write valentines to each other. I found glitter hearts of various sizes in a package at Hobby Lobby (also seen at Michael’s and Target) and glued an envelope on the back with their name on it. I took red and white twine and hung each of them from the ceiling. You can hang them in the entry of your home or over your dining room table. Kids can’t wait to run downstairs in the morning to find their envelopes filled with notes!
DECORATE THE TABLE - You can decorate the walls without a lot of money by using a package of foam hearts. They are about $1-2 for a big package and you can put the hearts on their plate and write their names on them or you can tape the hearts on the walls to make it look festive. You can find them at the Dollar store, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Walmart, and sometimes Target.
Here comes Lent
Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are at the heart of the forty days of Lent. Here are some strategies for helping your kids get involved in these traditional penitential practices.
Most of these ideas are appropriate for kids ages six and up. The best way to introduce younger children to Lenten practices is for them to see adults and older kids in the family practicing them; use their natural curiosity and desire to be “grown up” as a springboard for talking about what you’re doing, and why.
Give up the usual suspects - Consider these tried-and-true fasting favorites: Sweets, video games, smartphones (or create “quiet zones” free of phones), soda, junk food, social media, and other creature comforts. LifeTeen has posted several fun lists of teen-specific fasting ideas, some of which would be good for older kids, too.
2. Quiet it down - Monks practice silence in order to better hear God. Your family can, too, by turning off radios and music players (maybe just in the car), turning off the television, eating a meal in silence (or while listening to some sacred reading), practicing Thirty Seconds of Silence, being silent for the first fifteen minutes of the morning, or even having a day of silence.
3. Make your room or home a desert - Jesus spent forty days in the desert. Kids and teens can imitate his example by making their room more desert-like as well, removing pictures and posters from walls, putting away rugs and comforters, emptying closets and dressers of all but the most essential outfits, throwing extra clutter (gadgets, trinkets, toys) in a box to be stored away.
4. Slim down your wardrobe - Kids can count up the number of outfits they have and select ten percent to wear during their fast. (For inspiration, read the stories of saints who gave away their clothes to the poor.) At the end of the fast, they can consider donating some of the clothes they didn’t wear.
5. Write your fight - Older kids can cut down on sibling squabbling by committing to writing down their complaints rather than making them verbally. Print out “complaint forms” that include guidelines for rephrasing complaints using respectful language.
6. Give up your place - If your kids are always fighting about who gets to sit where or who gets to be first, then read and talk about Jesus’ teaching about “first” and “last” place: Mark 10:41-45. Challenge your kids to live that teaching out during Lent.
7. Be one with the poor: sleep on the floor - One of the purposes of fasting is to remind us of the plight of the poor, especially those who lack the basic necessities of life. Your kids can underline this element by giving up something that is symbolic of a basic necessity that other people lack. For example:
Sleep on the floor, not in bed, to practice solidarity with the homeless.
Drink nothing but water (and maybe milk, for growing bodies) to be in solidarity with those who lack safe drinking water.
Walk to school instead of getting a ride to be in solidarity with kids who lack access to education.
Do not purchase anything for yourself (except for absolute necessities) to be in solidarity with those who must live on less than $2 a day.