December 2015: Holiday History & Craft

Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath Painted

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! (Who really needs more Christmas crafts? We do!) December is one of my favorite months of the year because I love the Christmas holiday. Today we’ll talk a little about the history of Christmas and then make a wreath with a fork, paint, and sequins.

Nativity PaintingHistory

We usually describe the first Christmas as the event in the City of Bethlehem when Jesus – God’s Son – was born. Fulfilling Biblical Old Testament prophecy, Jesus came to earth as a baby, was born in a Bethlehem stables, and laid in a manger. Angels announced His birth to nearby shepherds, and later wise men from the east came to see Him. (Luke 2, Matthew 2) But it wasn’t until a long while after Christ’s birth that His birthday started to be celebrated…and His birthday probably wasn’t even in December.

December became the month of celebration because some of the religious folks decided to “Christianize” a pagan holiday. You see, the Romans had a feast for one of their false gods in December; it was called Saturnalia and was celebrated with gift giving and red and green decorations. The Roman Church eventually took some of the Saturnalia traditions and combined them with some religious beliefs and called it “Christmas” – trying to make Christ’s birth the focus of their new holiday.

christmas-treeSome of our favorite Christmas traditions also have roots from the past. Did you know that Martin Luther – the Protestant reformer – was said to have cut one of the first Christmas trees for his children? And a few centuries later Queen Victoria of England popularized Christmas trees in England and America. Do you like the poinsettia flowers? Those were traditionally used in Mexican celebrations of Christmas.

One of my favorite Christmas decorations is a wreath. Wreaths have been used for centuries to display the beautiful, natural woodland plants and to welcome guests for celebrations. Today, I’ll share an idea for making a wreath of your own!

Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath PaintedCraft

What You’ll Need:

White Cardstock

Green Paint (Washable)

A Fork (make sure it’s okay to get paint on it)

Wet Glue

Sequins (I used gold, silver, and red)

Ribbon (I used gold)

The Lid From A Pot


Paper Plate

Wax Paper

Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath PaintedBegin by tracing around the pot’s lid on your cardstock to make a perfect circle.

Spread some wax paper to keep the table clean.

Next, put some green paint on the paper plat and dip the flat part of the fork in the paint. Press the fork onto the paper, using the circle to guide you. (See photo).

Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath PaintedContinue “fork painting” until your wreath is full and even.

Let the paint dry for a few hours.





Holiday History & Craft December 2015 Christmas Wreath Painted

Tie the ribbon into a pretty bow and decide how it will be placed on the wreath. I put mine at the top, but it really could go anywhere you like. Glue in place.

Glue sequins on the “greenery” of your wreath. Let it dry for a while.

Your wreath is finished. Let the decorating begin…

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

July 2015: Holiday History & Craft

July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsFourth of July is next weekend, and if I delayed this post ’til next Monday, the holiday we’re celebrating will have come and gone. So here’s the post a few days early!

Today, we’ll explore the history of Fourth of July and make a new craft! (This article and craft is designed for children and is written accordingly.)


The_Declaration_of_Independence_July_4_1776_by_John_TrumbullLet’s play trivia.

We celebrate Fourth of July because:

A) George Washington became president

B) The Civil War ended

C) The Declaration of Independence was approved

If you guessed C, you’re correct! Now, here’s a little more history you should know. It was actually on July 2, 1776,  when the Continental Congress voted to separate America from Great Britain. (You see, back then, England was in charge of America and could tell us what to do…we didn’t like that very much and voted to be independent.)

Thomas Jeffeson

Thomas Jeffeson

After the vote to become a separate nation, the Founding Fathers decided they needed to put it in writing. (Smart men!) So Thomas Jefferson (who would later be our third president) drafted The Declaration of Independence, declaring the reasons America would be its own country. Jefferson’s document was approved and read on July Fourth, and there was a BIG celebration.

Through the years, Americans have always had a “national birthday party” on July Fourth to celebration our country’s independence. Many cities have parades; there are barbeques and fireworks. What’s your favorite thing about Fourth of July?

The colors of the American flag are red, white, and blue, and these are the most popular colors for this holiday. Let’s make a pinwheel garland to decorate and celebrate Independence Day!


July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsWhat You’ll Need:

Red, White, and Blue Paper (don’t use cardstock)





Two Prong Paper Fasteners


July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsWith the ruler and pencil, measure and mark 5″ squares on the paper. (You can make as many pinwheels as you want and each square makes one pinwheel.) Cut out the squares.



July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsUse the ruler and pencil to mark diagonal lines from corner to corner on your paper square. Cut on the lines, coming toward the center and stopping about 1/4″ from where the lines cross (intersect). Cut carefully…oh, and remember scissors are SHARP!



July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsNow, see the photographs. Fold two opposite diagonals to the center and secure with a little tape. Fold the remaining diagonals and secure with a little piece of tape. Now, take the paper fastener and carefully push it through the center; turn over, and open the back prongs to secure it in place. Finished!

Follow the marking, cutting, and folding directions with all your paper squares.

July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsJuly Holiday History and Craft Patriotic Pinwheels

July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsTake all your pinwheels and arrange them in your preferred pattern. (I used R,W,B,R,W,B)

Now, turn them upside down. Cut string the length of your garland and leave a little extra. Thread the string under the open prongs and tape in place.


When you hang your garland, you may need to secure some of the pinwheels to the surface you’re hanging against. Some of my pinwheels wanted to turn the wrong way, so I just used a little piece of tape to hold them where I wanted. 🙂

July Holiday History and Craft Patriotic PinwheelsHappy Fourth of July! Have a great week celebrating America’s independence.

May 2015: Holiday History & Craft

Mother's Day Craft - "Stained Glass" Candle Holder Did you ever wonder how Mother’s Day became a holiday? Or are you wondering what to make your mom for this special day? Well, here’s an answer and a gift idea!

(This is the fifth post in the monthly series “Holiday History & Crafts” which is written and designed for younger children.)

Holiday History

Contrary to some popular beliefs, Mother’s Day as we celebrate it here in the United States doesn’t have any historical roots in ancient pagan cultures. I suppose we could say it has ancient origins based on God’s command to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land…” (Exodus 20:12). Which brings me to this point: we should honor and bless our moms every day, not just on the official holiday. And, no, your mom did not pay me to say that. 🙂

Over 100 years ago –  in 1908 –  a lady named Anna Jarvis held a special ceremony to remember her mother. Anna’s mother had died a few years before, and Anna wanted to honor her by establishing an official day to celebrate mom’s and their care role in their children’s lives. West Virginia was the first state to make the celebration of Mother’s Day official, and, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day a United States’ holiday.

President Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson

President Wilson proclaimed that Mother’s Day would always be on the 2nd Sunday of May. I think that’s a great time for the holiday because so many flowers are blooming and it’s easy to make pretty bouquets to decorate the house or bring to Mom!

A few years later Anna Jarvis became very upset and said that people weren’t celebrating the holiday properly. You see, Anna wanted to people to express gratitude (that’s a big word for “being thankful”) to their moms by making them something special or doing something to show how much they loved their mothers. Anna didn’t like that the stores were convincing people it was okay to buy cards and little gifts; she wanted the presents to be from the heart – in other words, something that we take time to create or plan to make special.

It’s certainly okay to buy a card or little gift for your mom, but it’s lots of fun to make them too! I think Anna Jarvis would approve of this gift you can make for your mom…and don’t forget to make a pretty card too. (You might need to get your dad, grandma, or older sibling to help you.)

 Craft – “Stained Glass” Candle Holder

Adult supervision recommended

Mother's Day Craft - "Stained Glass" Candle Holder You will need:


Colored tissue paper (Pick your mom’s favorite colors!)

Foam paint brush

Small disposable cup




Glass Jar (I used a Mason Jar; a small to medium size will work best)

Tea light candles


Place waxpaper on the table to protect the table from any messy glue.

Make sure the jar is clean and dry. Remove the lid; you won’t need it.

Mother's Day Craft - "Stained Glass" Candle Holder Cut the tissue paper into medium size shapes. (I made circles.) *Be careful – scissors are SHARP*

Squeeze some glue into the cup and mix with a little water to thin it down. Use the foam brush and paint the glue/water mixture on the jar, starting at the top. Don’t paint the whole jar at one time, just the section you’re working on.

Place the cut tissue paper on the glue and smooth the edges down. You can use a little of glue to help the edges stick. Make sure to overlap the paper edges. Work all the way around the jar. Some tissue paper colors may “bleed” if they get excess glue on them; it will probably be okay.

Mother's Day Craft - "Stained Glass" Candle Holder When you get to the bottom of the jar, turn it upside down. Fold the extra tissue paper to the underside and plaster firmly in place with the glue mixture.

Allow to dry thoroughly. (My jar took about 4 hours.)

Tea light candles (the ones in a little holder) are best in the candle holder because the wax won’t stick to the bottom. *Always be careful when using candles and fire*



Find some tea light candles to include with your “Stained Glass” Candle Holder. Wrap and make a card. Mother’s Day gift is complete!Mother's Day Craft - "Stained Glass" Candle Holder


April 2015: Holiday History & Craft

If you’re reading this shortly after it posted, you’re probably thinking “it’s not April, Miss Sarah.” I know. But if I waited until the first Monday of the month this year, the holiday would have already passed and I didn’t think you’d like that.

This is our fourth craft of the year and the information and project shared here are written for young children. Happy crafting.

Holiday History and Craft April 2015

I’m so happy it’s spring. The trees are getting green leaves, the daffodils are blooming, and even the roses in the garden blossoming. (I live in California, where do you live? Are the flowers in your area blooming yet?)

Well, in the spring, there’s a very special holiday. You might call it Easter, but in my family, we call it Resurrection Day. Why? Because it’s the day we remember that Jesus rose from the dead. Let me tell you about it.


Almost 2,000 years ago God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. (Do you remember hearing about Baby Jesus at Christmas time?) Jesus grew up and He lived a sinless life – that means he never did anything bad. He was perfect. Jesus taught people about God, healed sick people, and blessed the children.

On the day we remember and call Good Friday, Jesus died on a cross to pay for the sins of all who will repent and believe He is the only way to God. He died and was buried in a tomb. Do you know what a tomb is? It’s like a big cave. But I’m so happy to tell you that’s not the end of the story.

Let’s read from the Bible and see what happened next:

Women at the Tomb, Jesus's ResurrectionNow on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven [apostles] and the rest. Luke 24:1-9, NKJV

Jesus wasn’t there. He was alive!

Christians – people who believe and obey Jesus –  started celebrating his resurrection with worship and fellowship. Through the years the holiday changed and now many people have added other traditions.

Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is when we celebrate and remember that Jesus is alive and we have hope and joy through His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection.


Butterflies are beautiful creatures. We usually see them in the spring and they are often a symbol of new life. Maybe you would like to add a Scripture verse to your page. (I wrote “Rejoice” – that word means “return to your source of joy.”)

We’re going to make a butterfly using a mosaic technique. The ancient Roman era was during Jesus’s lifetime and the Romans made beautiful mosaics on the floors and walls of their homes. So we’ll combine an ancient art form from Jesus’s era and some modern supplies to make our craft today.

What You’ll Need:

Holiday History and Craft April 2015


About an 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of pre-cut paper pieces (Cut a variety of colored papers into small squares, approximately 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)

Butterfly design Available for Free Download Here


Pen (optional)


Table cover


Begin by opening the file with the Butterfly design available from Gazette665. Print this PDF document on your sheet of cardstock.

Lay out your protective table covering (we’re getting out the glue in a minute).

Color the butterfly’s body – black, brown, or gray. I chose black.

Holiday History and Craft April 2015

Next put a little bit of glue on about half of a wing section. Kind of swirl it as you go. A little glue goes a long way on this project.

Holiday History and Craft April 2015

Stick the colored paper on the glue. If the paper overlaps a little, that’s fine. Try not to have any big open white spaces on your butterfly wings. Be creative. Make patterns or be random with the colors. Continue putting glue and paper on the wings until they are nicely covered.

Let the project dry.

Holiday History and Craft April 2015

If you like, use a colored pen and write a word, phrase, or scripture verse on your page.

Happy Resurrection Day!

Holiday History and Craft April 2015





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?


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.


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


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.

Exciting New Year


It’s 2015! I’m launching a couple new features here on Gazette665.

#1. The History Learning Center Students and Teachers have been asking for booklists and resources. Well, your wishes are about to come true. I’ve complied lists of my favorite books (history and fiction) from all eras of American History and it is available for FREE! My goal is to provide helpful resources for students, teachers, and folks who (like me) just love history or a good story.

#2. Holiday History & Craft This feature is geared toward younger folks and hence these posts will take a slightly different tone in writing style. Parents (grandparents, siblings, anyone) do kids ever ask you: why do we celebrate this holiday? Answers are coming to your inbox (if you’ve signed up for blog post emails). Read a short history of some of the most popular holidays throughout the year. Look for a post and craft idea each month. Holiday Crafts will be shared on the first Monday of each month.

#3. Gazette665 on Facebook Yep, I finally bit the bullet. You can follow Gazette665 and all the Historical Information and Inspiration on Facebook. Come on over and LIKE it today!

#4. Gazette665 on Pinterest After hearing about this network, I decided to jump in and share photos I like, inspiration for stories, and other fun stuff. Come take a look at the “boards” of our favorite things! Find some historical inspiration.

Wow…Four new features! Yes, yes, yes! Gazette665 is growing and this is going to be an exciting year. Find more Historical Information and Inspiration at your fingertips when you need it.

Gazette665 is only a click away from helping you with research, trivia questions, or argument winning. 😉 And, as always, drop a comment or send a request if you have thoughts, concerns, or requests.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Next Friday starts our first history series of the year “To Cross The Alps: The Leadership of Hannibal” – see you then (or sooner on Facebook)