As the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season begins, I find myself desiring an old-fashioned, Little Women Christmas for me and my family.
In the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, the reader follows four sisters living in the 1860s as they pass from childhood into womanhood. The author devotes a few chapters to describing the beautify and excitement of Christmas in the March household. The family’s time is filled with singing carols, ice skating, family time around the fire, giving to others, handmade gifts, and decorating.
The image of Christmas time in Little Women as well as a love for the simpler, old-fashioned traditions has inspired me this holiday season. Let me share my old-fashioned, Little Women-inspired, Christmas with you!
Little Women Christmas Books
Imagine what Christmas was like in the March household? What would the girls do? How would they decorate? Would Father make it home in time to celebrate with them? This book is complete with beautiful, realistic illustrations.
This small chapter book explores the Christmas dreams of each of the March sisters. Christmas Dreams is from the series Portraits of Little Women by Susan Beth Pfeffer, inspired by Louisa May Alcott.
This beautiful picture book is a portion of the original Little Women novel. Follow Marmee and the March sisters as they spread Christmas cheer to their neighbors in need.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Decorations
When it comes to lighting, I have one word . . . candles. During the 1860s, homes were adorned with warm, glowing candles during the dark winters.
I love to have tall, tapered candle sticks lit throughout my home during Christmas. It makes our space feel warm and inviting. For a cozy, old-fashioned feel, incorporate candles and maybe even a fire in the fireplace as a part of your Christmas decorations.
In the 1860s, homes were filled with sweet smelling pine from the surrounding woods. Mantles would be draped with pine boughs and real Christmas trees would sit in the corner of the room.
For my old-fashioned Christmas, my family and I picked out a real Christmas tree. I love the smell of the fresh pine during the month of December. I know that real versus fake pine can be quite the debate. When considering the care and the clean up of real pine, it can seem like a hassle, but I will vouch for it every time!
It adds a cozy, down-to-your-roots feeling to my home during Christmas. However, if real pine is no-go in your household, find a tree or other pine decorations that look realistic. Drooping pine combined with candle sticks and handmade ornaments will transform your home into cozy, Christmas space that the March sisters would have enjoyed.
One of my favorite old-fashioned Christmas decorations are dried oranges. Because I live in Florida, oranges are a dime-a-dozen and have quickly become a Christmas decorating staple in my household.
Dried oranges are budget-friendly, easy to make, and versatile. They can be made into ornaments, garland, wreaths, or anything else you can think of! Here’s how to make them.
- Preheat your oven to the warm setting (approx. 170 degrees)
- Gather your oranges.
- Slice them thinly for optimal drying.
- Lay each slice flat on a cookie sheet.
- Place the cookie sheet in the oven and leave for 6-8 hours.
- Flip the oranges over around the 3 hour mark.
- Leave the oranges in the oven until they are no longer wet or sticky.
- Poke a hole in the top of the orange.
- Loop and tie a piece of twine in order to hang ornament.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Traditions
In the book Little Women, the girls and their Marmee (mom) fill their days with Christmas traditions that brought the family together during Christmas.
In the book, to pass the time during the long winter evenings, the family would gather around the piano and sing carols together. We can do the same!
Whether someone grabs an instrument or you crank up your favorite Christmas tunes in your car, enjoying music together as a family is a fun, unifying, old-fashioned holiday tradition that will bring a little sparkle to your Christmas!
Homemade Christmas Gifts
Back in the day, before Amazon existed, Christmas gifts were primarily homemade. Throughout the story Little Women, the girls created homemade gifts for one another such as knitting socks or drawing a picture. These gifts were treasured because of the effort it took to make them.
This year, while your gifts may not all be handmade, spend a day with your kiddos about what they could make for someone else as a gift. Some examples might be make an ornament, draw a picture, write a story, write a song, or bake something delicious. The list could go on!
A truly, old-fashioned Christmas requires us to slow down, enjoy one another, and enjoy making gifts that will bring joy both to the giver and the receiver.
Give to another family
A well-known part of the Little Women story is when Marmee and her daughters rally around a neighboring family in town who was in need. They gather the little food that they have and firewood to feed this family for Christmas. The girls understood that by giving this food to another family, they themselves would not have a special holiday meal.
This part of the story moves the reader to tears as they realize that giving to others was the true spirit of Christmas for Marmee and her daughters. During the holiday season, we can share this mindset with our children.
There are thousands of ways to give to others during the holiday season. Children can donate lightly used toys to the local police station for other families, a meal can be made and delivered to a family in need, money can be donated to charities, food can be donated to food pantries, and more!
Find ways to encourage your children to give and think of others during the holidays. These moments are what makes Christmas memorable.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies
One of my favorite, Christmas classic foods is a good gingerbread cookie! I love the rich flavor of the molasses and the soft, fluffy texture of each cookie. In the spirit of an old-fashioned, classic Christmas, whip up a batch of these delicious cookies with your kiddos.
Another reason why I love gingerbread cookies is because it is so easy to get my little one involved. Children love to squish the dough between their fingers, attempt to roll it out flat, and choose a special cookie cutter to cut the dough.
For your old-fashioned Christmas, hold off on the premade cookie dough and try out this delicious recipe with your kiddos. Trust me! You will thank me later!
I hope that the Little Women classic and a love for the old-fashioned will inspire you in everyway this Christmas season.
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