Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Everyday Grace:
Snowflake family activity for Christmas

by Mary Cronk Farrell

(From the Dec. 15, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

Mary Cronk Farrell No two snowflakes are alike.

I didn’t know if this old saying was true until one Christmas season when I was driving over a snowy mountain pass. We crawled to a halt due to heavy traffic and compact snow and ice on the roadway. It started to snow, and the windshield was so cold the snowflakes did not melt as they hit the glass. Each one formed a tiny, but visible crystal pattern on the window. Watching in awe, I observed dozens of them land on the glass, and each one was different.

Years later, an elementary school assignment sent one of my children out in the falling snow with a magnifying glass to discover for himself this phenomenon. I went with him, once again experiencing this manifestation of the awe-inspiring creativity of God. Looking closely at a single snowflake can be profoundly moving.  And yet, what is a snowflake compared to the marvelous miracle of a single child?

No two children are alike, I tell my youngsters. There is no one in the world like you. God created you with unique gifts, a unique personality, and a unique body. What better time than Christmas to focus on the gifts each person brings to our family and the greater world. Our kids need to learn to discern and value their own gifts. They need to hear others affirm them.

But words only go so far. We all learn more readily through experience. Using an activity to help demonstrate an idea can help our children understand better.

Here are several simple activities you can do with your children while talking to them about how God created each of us special. Tell your child one or two ways that you see that God has gifted him or her. Ask your children to name something they like about themselves, or something they see as unique. Then as they try one of the following activities, stand aside and let them draw their own conclusions.

• If it is snowing, go outside and try to look at a snowflake under a magnifying glass. It helps to have a dark colored surface on which to catch the snowflake. A mitten or a piece of paper works. Put it outside for a few minutes first to make sure the surface is cold enough that the snowflake won’t melt when it lands.

• Fold and cut a paper snowflake for each person in the family. Have everyone write each family member’s special qualities on their snowflakes. Hang them about the house or on the Christmas tree.

• Make tortilla snowflakes.

What you will need:

1 pkg large flour tortillas
¼ cup soft butter or cooking oil plus oil spritzer or pasty brush
any or all toppings:
powdered sugar
colored decorating sugars
cinnamon-sugar mixture
flour sifter or salt shaker for putting on toppings
cookie sheet
plate
scissors

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Fold tortilla in half, and then half again. Use scissors to cut tortilla as you would paper when making paper snowflakes. Unfold tortilla, place on cookie sheet and brush or spray with butter or cooking oil. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes or just until golden brown. Remove and place tortilla snowflake on a plate. Sprinkle with sugar topping of your choice. Cool slightly before eating.

Have your children try to make two identical tortilla snowflakes. Is it possible? Consider having the children give the finished treats to a neighbor, friend or relative explaining how God only makes originals. They could take the opportunity to mention one of that person’s qualities they appreciate.

© 2005, Mary Cronk Farrell

(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and children’s writer. For more Advent and Christmas activities, see Mary’s latest book, Celebrating Faith: Year-Round Activities for Catholic Families, from St. Anthony Messenger Press. Contact her at www.marycronkfarrell.com)


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