January 2015: Holiday History & Craft

Happy New Year! And welcome to our first Holiday History & Craft. (This article and craft is designed for younger children and is written accordingly). Did you or your mom get a new calendar for the new year? I did…I’m lucky; one of my brothers always gives me a new calendar book for Christmas. But I realized I need a wall-hanging calendar for my office cubical where I volunteer. So I thought it would be fun to make a calendar – then I started wondering where calendars came from. What’s their history?

History

Did you know most societies and civilizations throughout history (even way back in Abraham’s time) had some form of calendar? Calendars count days and group them into periods, usually called months. A Lunar calendar groups days based on the lunar phases (this refers to the time between full moon); there are about 12 lunar phases in a year. There is also the Solar calendar which groups days based on seasons; the ancient Persians (the civilization where Queen Esther lived) developed this time of calendar. The Julian Calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC (about 46 years before Jesus was born). It divided years into 365 and a 1/4 days. How do you have 1/4 day? That’s why we have a leap year every 4 years. In that fourth year there is an extra day in the month of February. Pretty cool, huh?

Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar with 365.25 days

Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar with 365.25 days

The most used calendar today is the Gregorian Calendar which was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. It is very, very similar to the Julian Calendar, but has a few technical refinements. Most countries and cultures have adopted this calendar style, but a few continue to use other calendar forms unique to their religion or society.

Craft

Let’s make a calendar! (Suggestion: first, ask your mom or dad if it’s okay – this might get a little messy and you might need their help)

What You’ll Need:

Calendar Pages (can be made on a personal clip art program or searched for on-line)

Extra Paper

Scissors

Something sticky (glue stick, rubber cement, double sided tape)

Pens, pencils, markers, or other drawing/writing devices

Old magazines or other art materials (stamps, drawing materials, stickers, etc. etc. etc.)

Stapler Supplies for January 2014 Holiday Craft Organize your calendar pages; stack them in order, so January is on the top. Lay a blank sheet of paper over the January calendar page (trim to size if necessary). Next you’ll need to decide how you’re going to decorate your calendar. If you are a wonderful artist you might enjoy drawing pictures. Stamping is fun or stickers are super easy. However, I decided it was time to use some magazine that had been around since 2009. I cut some pretty pictures that I like out of the magazines and got to work! January Craft 2014 Fold back the blank page covering January and decorate the part now above the January calendar page. Try to choose something wintery if you can. (If the page needs to dry, set it aside).

Now pick up the January page and lay it above February (make sure it is laying correctly). Decorate February’s page. Continue turning and decorating the pages. Let them dry if you’re using glue.

Remember you don’t have to use magazines. Be creative. Personalize your calendar with things you like and most of all, have fun! If you want, you can decorate around the magazine pictures with handwritten quotes or fun designs.

Now carefully gather your calendar pages. Check one last time to make sure they are in the correct order! Make sure they are laying together neatly and, with mom or dad’s help, staple the top of the calendar pages together.

Now you’ve got a personal calendar! If want to leave a comment below, I’ll enjoy reading about your project.

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, living history enthusiast, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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