Saturday, December 01, 2012

Let the Feasting begin!!!!!

It's that time of the year, again! Most of my blog readers have been waiting patiently for this day, but for the newbies here~

Explanation of Feast Days:
  • Quite a few years ago, I decided that the holiday season was just too full of thoughts and energy surrounding the "stuff we get." (As the parent of 8 children, I just didn't see any way around the holidays being a disappointment because of tight financial circumstances.) Children are naturally generous, but we can really ruin that by making the holidays about material things- which, let's face it, they won't remember a month from now, much less as they grow into adults.
  • So I decided to use, loosely, the lesson of Esther and create a month of meditation on the "service we give." Let's just try to do something simple in the service of others. Acts of kindness. Memories of time spent with family that will last them a lifetime. Not about stuff that money can buy, but about service that can be freely given.
  • Hence, Feast Days! On the first day of December, the children draw numbers to set up the sequence of Feast days- all fitting within the month of December, but may overflow into January. After the numbers have been drawn they all meet with me, individually, in my room and make out their menu for their Feast. It's all a grand secret. It becomes obvious that they have been putting a lot of thought into their menus for several months- and keeping it a secret- amazing! They try their best to choose dishes that are family favorites- ones they know their brothers and sisters will love. They also plan how they are going to decorate the dining room and what small gift they hope to give their siblings- there is a $5 limit on all 8 gifts and decorations, so you can imagine they are quite simple- like a pretty sparkly pencil, a holiday cup or a fancy bit of candy. The decorations can be gleaned from the attic or dollar store and with a bit of tinsel thrown in, it usually is quite festive!
  • I take each child to lunch the day before their feast and then we go shopping for their ingredients. They have to heft all the food into the house while the other children are hiding upstairs. The kitchen is curtained off from prying eyes and we begin to cook. What fun this is for me to have the company of each child as they excitedly giggle and whisper about who is going to be the most surprised and who is going to like which dish the most!
  • Then, my favorite part. The child opens the curtain and very ceremoniously invites his guests to the feast. The children are so sweet and encouraging about the decorations and the good smells. We sit around the table and Bill reads a scripture then we each say what we are thankful for and after the prayer, the feasting begins. The server is the child who prepared the feast and they always wait until last to serve their own plate. The food is usually stashed away in the oven to stay warm and so it is a lot of fun to see what comes out next!
  • Finally the dishes are done by me- my service. 
Abe's Feast...

Abe(age 9) is known by his nick name "little man."  He's the youngest of our six sons and, like many youngest children in large families, he is a bit more grown up than other kids his age.  He's very laid back and easy going- for the most part. (Last week, we heard him sobbing up in his room.  It was a real humdinger and we waited, and waited, for him to get it all out. He came downstairs- still trying to get a grip on his emotions, and we asked what was going on.  When he was finally about to articulate clearly he waved his hands in a vague way and said, "Sometimes it just builds up."  Which is an altogether true and wise observation. By my estimation, he can take about two years of accumulating enough angst for it to finally "build up." We all finished what we were doing, cuddled on the couch and watched a funny Xmas movie.  That seemed to fix what ailed him.)  Maybe he just needed to slow down.  He's one of those kids that enjoy the occasional outing but you can see that it wears him out and when we return home he will mention, several times, how glad he is that "things are back to normal."  He loves to ride his bike- with the prerequisite daredevil stunts that Mom "needs" to see.  No one ever said that being a mom to so many sons was for the faint hearted. He is thoughtful for someone his age- he now sits with a lady at church because her granddaughter has moved away and he was worried grandma would be lonely.  He's just a very sweet boy. And did I mention we love him beyond words?

Abe did an spectacular job on his feast.  He got to go with his Dad to the bank a few weeks ago.  He'd never been inside- just the drive-thru. Apparently, he was impressed because he had a bank theme for his feast.  The bank had, literally, dozens of play dollar bills strung on garlands across the dining room, scattered on the table, hanging from the ceiling fans- (and this from the boy who won't take any of Mr. Jim's change because, "Money is the root of evil."  Mr. Jim explained that it's the love of money that causes the problem.  I suppose since the money in this case wasn't real...)  The dishes all had green on them.  The table cloth was green.  He had Mt. Dew to drink because it's green.  The most impressive part of the feast was his idea for the drive-thru.  He and his Dad found a long piece of piping in the garage and they engineered it to begin in the kitchen and end in the dining room on a downward slope.  The patrons of the bank put their deposit slip- with their name and what they wanted on their fries- chili and/or cheese- in an eye glass case. Abe had tied a string to the case and- whoosh-  he'd pull it up through the shoot.  The kids loved the fun of that.  They were even more tickled when he sent their request back down the shoot!  Dad and I helped him put the fries with the chili and cheese in a large solo cup, invert another cup on top, duct taped it together and it slid perfectly down the tube. Everyone agreed it was the best fries they'd ever had. He served homemade chicken and noodles for his main course- with peas- get it?  They're green.  He made four triple batches of noodles.  Abe always cranks the pasta maker for me and that's a whole lot of cranking. He had rice crispy treats cut into thick circles- like money- with a dumdum standing out of the top- 'cause "fancy is my middle name."  We had a great time. Bill read Matthew 6:19-34. "Consider the lilies of the field."  A good passage for Abe's feast. 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I am one of those waiting patiently for the feasting to begin! Kids have such a good imagination and the bank theme was spectacular.