Monday, November 21, 2011

Nature Table ~ December 2011 ~ Christmas Symbols

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.
The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

~The Holly and the Ivy | Harrison S. Morris





Many of the symbols commonly associated with Christmas hold special meaning.  For December Nature Table we will study common Christmas symbols from nature.  


We will do all of the regular nature study practices (observation, sketching, fact-finding, etc), AND we will delve into the reason for the symbol.  When did it originate?  What does it stand for?  Is there a special story or myth related to this symbol?  How is it typically used in Christmas decoration or celebration?


Our nature journal entries for December may look something like this....






Traditional Symbols Suitable for Nature Study:


~Holly


~Evergreen Tree


~Mistletoe


~Poinsettia


~Nuts


~Sheep & Shepherds (learning about the sheep themselves and how the shepherd cares for them...bonus if you have access to live sheep!)


~Snow (If you live where it snows, take the time to collect a few flakes on black paper, and using a magnifying lens draw what you see.)


~Dove (Again, you can use books to study the habits of this creature and to sketch from, but live observation will be a bonus!  Check your local pet store or zoo.)




Have fun doing Nature study this month and Merry Christmas!


Resources:






Evergreen Trees (Checkerboard Science and Nature Library)
        

A basic guide to evergreen trees, this will introduce you to specimens traditionally thought of as "Christmas trees".











Who Would Like a Christmas Tree?: A Tree for All Seasons


Who Would Like a Christmas Tree?  A Tree for All Seasons | Obed


A fantastic little book.  Shows how different creatures utilize the evergreen tree for food and shelter throughout the year.


Also gives a month-by-month account of how Christmas tree farmers care for their trees.


Charming illustrations.








Product Details
The Legend of the Poinsettia  |  Tomie DePaola

Not a fact book on this native Mexican plant, but a lovely book besides.

Tells the story of a little girl's selfless gift to the Christ child, the legend of how the poinsettia came to be in Mexico.






Product Details
Peterson Field Guides; Eastern Trees







Study the different nuts you might be opening in your festive nutcrackers
The Book of Edible Nuts | Frederick Rosengarten
Product Details


























Snowflakes in Photographs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

W. A. Bentley was the first capture the amazing, unique designs of individual snowflakes on film.  His pictures can be seen in this Dover book, Snowflakes in Photographs.
His story is beautifully told  by Jacqueline Briggs Martin in

Snowflake Bentley









Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes



Microphotographs of real snowflakes.
Guidelines on snowflake hunting, observation, & classification.







Pigeons and Doves (New True Books)


Sheep (Animals That Live on the Farm (Second Edition))



As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.  

~Allison


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